Monday, December 27, 2010


December was a frenzied month of stress and overindulgence. My job was crazy, I was behind schedule in prepping for the holidays, and though I had many fun bouts of making merry and felt very festive, I also kind of felt like a chicken running around with my head cut off.

Between the hustle and bustle and twinkle lights and silver bells, I lost focus. Stealthily, starch slowly but steadily crept back into my life.

It started with egg nog. We bought the good kind, in the glass bottles from the fancy grocery store nearby. It was thick and delicious. I was only going to drink one glass, I swear...

Then there was a Christmas luncheon/reunion with old friends (one made a delicious soup with beans and corn and I felt bad not eating it). We also drank mimosas, naturally.

Then there were cookie exchanges, Christmas cocktails with friends (i.e. more egg nog, but this time in martini form), family dinners, gingerbread house building with my college friends, and looking at Christmas lights with Bailey's in my coffee (it's a Christmas tradition, after all). And who can resist the Starbucks gingerbread lattes? They come in red cups, for Pete's sake!

Christmas left me feeling like I was spinning in a sugary haze. And not in a good way.

I woke up the day after Christmas with renewed conviction. I will get back on my diet! I will go to the gym and do a four hour workout! I should sign up for hot yoga! My jeans fit  a bit tighter and this is unacceptable! I will fix this!

I signed into blogger yesterday to write a self reproaching blog, stating my renewed enthusiasm for living in a healthful way. But my homepage on blogger shows all of the blogs I'm signed up to read, and one in particular caught my eye: breathe.

I've been reading Gluten Free Girl and the Chef since I was first diagnosed with AS and investigating the gluten free lifestyle. If any of my blogs could capture even a glimmer of Shauna's wisdom and grace, I would be so grateful.

Breathe, Shauna's latest blog, reminded me to slow down. In all of my rushing around and merrymaking I had forgotten to embrace what is really special about the holidays: love. Instead of running around to buy gifts and staying up late to finish baking cookies, I should have made more phone calls to family, or spent more quality time with friends. Rather than succumbing to holiday gluttony, I should have remembered that I also need to love myself, and feed my body what it needs to thrive.

In the midst of the December crazies I did find the time to read through the new book Women, Food, and God. There will be plenty more blogs about this book, I'm sure, as it is chock full of insight and tips to ending compulsive eating once and for all. I read through it too quickly and am now taking the time to go back through and really digest it. There are so many great ideas, and I learned I need to slow down and pay attention. I need to listen to my hunger and satiety cues, and love my body through food.

The first step is just to breathe. When I notice I want to eat something, I need to pause for a moment. I am trying to ask myself "Why do you want to eat that? Are you hungry? Bored? Stressed? Does it just sound good?"

And then, when I do eat it, I am trying to really pay attention then as well. What is the texture? What favors do I notice? How does it feel in my mouth? How does my body respond? Can I tell when I've had enough?

It's the end of December, and the end of another year. It's the time for reflection and looking ahead. But before I spend too much time focusing on new goals for 2011 and get sucked back into a stress vortex, I'm going to allow myself a few more minutes to breathe and really appreciate all of the great things that 2010 brought.

Happy holidays, everyone!