This is the official start of the Holiday Season! Tomorrow is Thanksgiving, and many of us will be eating with friends, family, and loved ones. Most of us will eat far more than we normally do, and for those of us who do our best to stay away from grains, legumes, foods with added sugar, and alcohol, it’s a day filled with indulgence that can lead to temptation, stress, and discomfort. What I aim to do with this article is to introduce some coping mechanisms I use to get past the holidays.
Temptation: you want to eat all this delicious food. It is tempting from the most basic level: it’s delicious food! But on an emotional level, you are around loved ones celebrating a time of year that brings us together. There are many traditions involved, both cultural and familial. To miss out on these seems wrong. So what are you to do? This leads to stress.
Stress: you want to continue to eat your healthy food, and you want to be true to your new healthy lifestyle, but dang it, look at all this delicious food! What about that apple pie Mom made just for me?!?! Aunt Rose makes the most amazing cranberry sauce; how could I possibly look her in the face and decline a serving or two? I’ve been feeling so incredible these past days/weeks/months on my new diet; eating this food will surely lead to discomfort.
Discomfort: both social and physical. Turning down Aunt Rose’s cranberry sauce or Mom’s apple pie will be socially awkward, and may likely hurt some feelings. Okay, let’s be real, here: you will MOST DEFINITELY hurt some feelings. Mom and Aunt Rose will both say that there is no such thing as a diet on a holiday, and you know what? I have come to believe that they’re right! As for the physical discomfort? That’s nothing that won’t go away in a day or two. You may end up with a slight tummy grumble, the runs, or some bloating for a day or two, but do you know what the great news is? It’ll pass. All of it. Within two to three days, you’ll be right back to where you were before the holiday; feeling great, eating great, and living your best life.
A new coping method I’ve found is intermittent fasting, or IF as I call it. Since beginning IF, I’ve been able to be a little more careless with my diet, eating larger portions or introducing sides that contain ingredients I normally shy away from or avoid outright. The result has been maintaining my weight (at worst), and losing weight easily when I do eat right (at best). This is also the method my wife Sherry has been using for years to mitigate the impact of the holiday meals on her physical and emotional well-being. I’ve decided to adopt it this year as well, and I will report back on how it goes.
With all that said, I truly and honestly wish each and every one of you a Happy Thanksgiving, and I hope that you find yourself among loved ones, friends, and/or family. If you cannot, please don’t despair. Reach out to someone; anyone. If that’s not possible, or you’re not willing, that’s okay too. Remember that just because you’re alone does not mean you’re unwanted. I’ve spent many holidays alone, whether deployed or just on my own. I found myself alone on more holidays than I care to remember, and while they can be lonely, they can be times of reflection, marathon gaming, or binge watching that tv show you’ve heard about but haven’t had the time to check out yet. Make the most of it! Enjoy! And Happy Thanksgiving!!!