Christmas is coming! The tables are covered with food. Since childhood, we are used to associating holidays with a lot of food… a variety of it. We have turned the abundance of meals in something like a sign that Christmas will e good and that we have enough.
If you are making efforts, during the year, to change your lifestyle, then holidays are a true test for what you have achieved. It is easy to keep up with a certain decision when you are in controlled conditions – when there isn’t any temptations around and your choices are a piece of cake. It gets difficult when you are surrounded by desserts, that have that smell of cinnamon and walnuts. It is difficult when you are surrounded by homemade bread, that smells of hot, melted butter and spices.
You have one plate in front of yourself and you want to try everything. You find it hard to resist this food, until the moment you make a decision and you make your own choice. When a person has a goal, which is based on his inner values and convictions, it doesn’t matter what happens in the world around him – he has already made his choice and nothing could make him hesitate.
If you are afraid of holidays or to be more precise from the food during the holidays… DON’T WORRY! I used to be there! I used to feel the same way. When I started following a nutrition plan, I used to hate holidays. There was a period, when I really wanted to avoid every birthday, every Easter and every Christmas. Everything was just fine, until the moment the holiday lunch or dinner came… and I lost it all.
It felt as if another self was coming back and was pitching into the food. Nothing else mattered, besides trying everything – in big quantities and a couple helpings. Such an indulgence, led to a disappointment and just another try to punish myself. This used to spin me into an enchanted circle of indulgence, deprivation and binging. It turned out like this – binging on Christmas, then deprivation and on New Year Eve- binging again.
I used to be afraid of food or actually of the way it provoked me to behave. I was dying to be around food and put just quality food on my plate. I wanted to be able to enjoy every bite and not be overwhelmed with the variety of foods. I wanted to eat what tasted good, but in adequate quantities. Why couldn’t I eat just one piece of dessert, and even though I felt satiety I used to eat 3-4 pieces? Why couldn’t I take a small piece of bread, but instead I took a couple pieces from each grain meal?
I used to detest the fact, that on every holiday, instead of feeling great and happy, I felt bad – both physically and mentally. I felt bloated, sluggish and tired. When you feel bad physically, you don’t have strength and desire to enjoy something else.
Was this really the meaning of the holidays? To satisfy my greedy mind and leave my soul and body starving for something deeper!
I spent a couple years in this enchanted circle and a couple days before one Christmas I woke up and I said to myself, that this year will be different. I decided that this is just food and I cannot be afraid of it.
The decisions, choices and actions were in my own hands. I am the one choosing what and how much I will eat. My emotions and my thoughts are under my own control. Everything that I had to do was be more conscious. I wasn’t supposed to allow emotions to control me like a doll on strings.
After all is it normal to feel overwhelmed and nervous because of the fact that there is abundance of food?
I decided that I will sit for the holiday lunch and I will be thankful for the abundance, I will choose what I good for me and what will make my feel satiety and satisfaction by the blend of tastes while in the same time it will make my body and soul feel great.
Actually, we value the taste of something when it is in smaller quantities. When we have a pile of food in the plate, we are eating for the sake of it. When there is less, then we eat with more attention, attitude and mindfulness. We experience every bite. Actually, satiety is not just in food, but in the way we eat. Whether we feel satiety or not, depends on the experience of eating. Mindful eating and attitude towards the food are the key.
Actually, do you know how I love explaining my success? You know that I am a fan of the fact that we are dependent on nature and nature’s laws! By law, everything strives for chaos. If we achieve something, we should either make enough effort to sustain it or a little bit more in order to move forward. If we just give in to every caprice of the mind, then we are in the rage of the chaos.
That’s why, do not fool yourself that we achieve one state of being and that through slacking we will keep being there. Actually, everything comes down to the conscious decision in every moment. Every day, we should wake up and make the vital minimum, in order to keep moving or at least in order to sustain what we have. Our mind loves getting attached to different things. It loves getting identified and associating. Free yourself from the chains of your mind and be conscious.
I remember this Christmas. We were sitting around the table and my grandma has made my FAVORITE dessert. I used to love it and I used to eat all of it at one. It was right in front of me and my first thought was: “Who cares, it is Christmas! Eat it!” Then, I told myself that eating it won’t change anything! Did I really need to eat it in order to feel happy? Isn’t there another way to call back the emotion I was hungry for?
How eating the whole dessert, would bring more meaning to my day and night? It wouldn’t! During the whole evening I stared at the plate in front of me and there was an inner fight. I felt as if I was gonna be deprived from something. I felt as if somebody took away from me, something that I deserved. I kept telling myself that the dessert could be made all year round and that this evening, I have chosen to eat something else – something that made me feel great.
Thus, after my conscious presence, while my mind was trying to take the lead, I didn’t eat the dessert. I didn’t eat a lot of things. Actually I ate just enough. I got off the table and I felt great, because my body didn’t suffer. I didn’t feel stuffed and bloated. I even had energy to go outside and walk, late at night, enjoying the streets covered in snow. I was walking and I was thinking that it is so great to feel wonderful on Christmas!
Since then, every holiday is special – not with the abundance of food, but with the fact that I am surrounded by an abundance, which I value. Nowadays I consider food to be an art, care, hard work and time. Now I know how much time it takes my grandma to prepare the dinner; the emotions she invests and the art she creates. Now I can observe biscuits and admire their perfect forms, their decoration – but I don’t feel the need to binge on them.
Now, when it comes to eating, holidays are just another day, when I sit around the table and I put on my plate just enough to feel full. What is special is that unlike other days, now I will be surrounded by my loved once. Why would I allow myself to waste precious moments with them? Why would I feel bad and complain how I overate and waste the time with them?
The rich, abundance of food during the holidays is not a green light to indulge. The abundance during the holidays is just a symbol of care, time and solitude. Respect is in our attitude, and the joy of what is served and not by food indulgence for the sake of it.
Let this Christmas be different!