Avoid the Holiday Binge This Season

Summer has ended.
For some it’s the beginning of Bulking Season.
For others, like me at one point, it’s the beginning of Bingeing Season.

It used to start with the Labor Day BBQ. I had restricted myself all summer long in an attempt to shrink myself only to have gained 5 pounds. It started with a couple beers and a burger. Just a BBQ, right?
Wrong.

I had such an unhealthy relationship with food and cycled through restricting/bingeing for so long, the wheels fell off.
Again.

2 beers turned into 3, turned into babysitting the table of food, turned into a mixed drink, turned into “Sure, I’ll have another burger”
You get the idea.
That one day made everything resurface and my unhealthy relationship with food show up.
Again.

That one day turned into the go-to:
“You already messed it up so there’s no turning back.”
Cue the Halloween candy.
I didn’t even have kids or pass out candy then and I still managed to end up with a stash.
The candy stash that I mindlessly plowed through in two weeks time.
And then Thanksgiving was around the corner.
I love the holidays, I really do.
I love feeding my friends and family. I love sharing meals and now I love cooking with my daughter.
But there was a time that it was either too overwhelming to navigate or I had too much wine to care.

As a society, we pressurize the hell out of the holidays. We also live in a culture where more is MORE.
But it’s okay “Because January 1st is right around the corner.”
And “Why start during the holidays”?
And telling ourselves that there’s no point in starting something or continuing something when there’s “So much going on.”

Am I right?

Guys, I know I’m right because that was me.
I’ve gone through the motions.
I’ve stress-eaten my way through half a charcuterie board in order to avoid talking to my extended family across the room.
I’ve woken up hungover on Christmas Day and I’ve said out loud, “Why did you do that AGAIN” on the 26th.
The holidays are not an excuse to throw reason to the wayside and go on a 3 month bender.
Your busy-ness isn’t a valid reason to throw in the towel.
It’s also not a reason to avoid spending time with people you love in order to stay afloat.
You can indulge without overdoing it.
You can go to the holiday parties and enjoy food and drink while being mindful.

Which brings me to my point.

Last Thanksgiving was my first big holiday after losing 70 lbs.
All year I had worked on cultivating mindfulness, especially in regards to how I viewed food. I used Thanksgiving as a test of sorts and I trusted myself for the first time in a long time.
I ate intuitively, emphasis on intuitively.
I enjoyed without going overboard.
And for the first holiday of my adult life, I didn’t have feelings of regret associated with the day.

Those of you currently walking a similar path know the sense of accomplishment that comes with being able to pump the breaks/put the fork down/decline the 4th glass of wine. 
I’m not implying you bring a scale to Grandma’s house, I’m asking that you be mindful.
The truth is, mindfulness above all is what got me to where I am in my own weight loss story.
It can be done.
Not only did I make it through my first holiday season without gaining 15 pounds, I actually managed to continue working towards my goal and lost weight.

Stay hydrated, and not just the day of.
Keep being active. Those feel-good endorphins that come with getting your heart rate up will help combat the winter blues. 
If alcohol is triggering to you and saying no after 2 isn’t in your wheelhouse right now, stay away.
Kids want to bake every other day? Pawn the goods off on your neighbor or take them to a local shelter.
Don’t camp next to the cheese-ball. No, seriously. If you’re a Bored or Stress eater, you’re setting yourself up to fall into old habits by nursing the relish tray. 
Eat the cake.
Mindfulness and flexibility isn’t about how many times in a day you can say no.
Don’t LOVE pumpkin pie? Skip it so that you can enjoy the dessert you do love.
Don’t want to be rude? Napkins are your friend and so is my “Courtesy Bite” rule.

Why not do things different this year and change your narrative?
This year doesn’t have to be like last year.
Mindfulness and proving to yourself that you CAN, never goes out of style.

Author: Ava Truckey, Black Iron Nutrition Coach, @avatruckey