With Christmas fast approaching, I’ve been thinking a lot about gifts, value, and what we place our attention on.
This year, following Thanksgiving, there has been a lot of focus on the family-unfriendly practices of many retailers. Shops opening at 10 p.m. on Thanksgiving night, forcing workers to curtail their celebrations and come on down to the store, only to be a witness to fights over merchandise. Other stores promoting sales hysteria the weekend before Christmas, rather than on Saturday, Christmas Eve, to instill an artificial sense of urgency for people to come out and overspend.
In my immediate family, we’re trying to have a low-key Christmas this year, to avoid the brunt of the stress and nastiness that can rear its head if you’re not careful. That means a gathering with only a few close family members and a light hand on the gift giving.
The reason why we are not trying to go all out is because we want to focus on the true meaning of Christmas, and because we want to enjoy our family to the fullest. Mixing in variables of jostling for spaces in parking lots, stalking the year’s “it” toy or driving each other nuts trying to wrap a mountain of gifts or make a cafeteria’s worth of cookies don’t make it easy to enjoy the season. Or each other.
The way that we have made a conscious decision to focus on what we value doing the most this season has gotten me to thinking about choices and weight loss. I have the same kind of choice when it comes to what I eat. Good food is everywhere this time of year, but it doesn’t mean I have to eat everything, or in large quantities. It is my choice.
Believe me, I have not been going spartan in December (or November) as far as how I’ve been eating, but I have been practicing exercising my right to choose. There are times when I don’t get it right, but I am amazed by how I feel when I do.
It’s surprising, refreshing, and extremely empowering. It makes me feel accomplished. This is a big change for me. I used to feel that what I ate was somewhat beyond my control, that I wouldn’t be able to stop the inertia I had going, in terms of the desire I had to eat. It seemed an impossibility to get myself to slow down or stop eating, or to make better choices.
It is hard to change the course of your thoughts mid-thought, but it is possible. I think that’s one of the biggest lessons I’ve gotten this year, that I can take control of my thoughts and direct them in a better direction.
For me, when it comes to eating, that means doing one of three things:
- Flat out telling myself no,
- Asking myself why I want to eat something, and
- Talking myself through options to identify the best one.
Is it tough? Yes. Is it tough love? Yes, but that’s the point; it’s about love. Me making tough decisions about my eating is about choosing to focus on the way I can best show love to myself. It is stripping away the power that drama can have on me and getting back to basics, as far as eating and my feelings are concerned. It is shutting out the cries of the world, about improved fast-food french fries or size 0 models, and shutting out my negative feelings, and simply focusing on my mind and body and how I can get to making my first course of action in any situation the one that will show them the most respect. Even if there’s an undertone of a disappointing lack of respect for others that can be felt during this time of year, I can still handle my own feelings and show myself a little more respect. I can make better choices to focus on the things that really have the most value to me.