This past July marked my two year anniversary of being a Weight Watchers lifetime member.
If you were to rewind to 2016 Allison, she was overweight, prediabetic, and self-medicating anxiety and depression with drive-thru 20 piece Chicken McNuggets. I don’t regret my wake-up call to the state of my health (which blissfully and coincidentally occurred in a doctor’s office two weeks before Thanksgiving). But I’ve found that sometimes the rampant unhealthy mentalities like to bind themselves to the healthy intentions. And for the last three years, this has genuinely plagued me.
Because I’m afraid of food.
Perhaps this is because my relationship with it has been so wishy-washy. There are moments where I am like the clingy girlfriend insisting we spend every waking moment together, and there are moments where we’re seeing other people. I am either in a state of “not caring” or “caring too much.” There has seemingly never been stability. I’m either indulging or I’m fasting. There is no in between.
I’m reminded of my strongholds when the monthly bloat hits and I’m doing squats in my unbuttoned jeans. I’m reminded of this when there is a surprise invitation to lunch or a catered meal at work. I’m reminded of this when friends ask to make us dinner.
I’m reminded of this when Thanksgiving is just four days away.
My email is flooded with articles of “how to enjoy your holiday with Kale” and advertisements flash across my screen informing me that, “the average American gains 6 pounds during the holiday season.” And when this happens, I sprint to the drawing board to carefully construct a game plan as to how I will show-up and be present without eating. I place zucchini noodles in my shopping cart and throw the pasta back on the shelf. I make schedules for water intake to fill my belly. Or sometimes, I don’t even show up at all.
But even when I do appear, I’m never really present. Because the internal arguments with myself over scales and portion sizes are so freaking loud that I can’t hear the conversation around me. The conversation that marks the reason for the holiday and has us bent over plates to begin with and the reason why Thanksgiving, in years past, was always my favorite.
I sure do miss the holidays.
I miss the days where my preparation for the holidays consisted a list of chores for each family member before guests arrived. I miss the days where we lay awake in anticipation of Santa’s clicking boots on the roof. I miss the days where food was not the thing that defined my holiday, but the family that surrounded me.
What I would give to have those blissful moments of innocence back. The moments of my childhood where trivial things didn’t matter and a yearning for quality time prevailed. No matter how far I extend my arm to grab hold of these moments in my adult years, I always find myself just slightly out of reach. And it is then I find myself tucking the fork neatly back in the drawer for a later time.
But, while my internal arguments rage on, and while my fingers glide across these keys, I am pushing through to say, “No more. Not this year.”
This year, I will show up to relatives’ homes with my casserole dish of green bean casserole in hand, and a bag of sweatpants to change into after dinner slung across my arm. I will laugh, joke, and cry with the family around me. I will hide my bathroom scale until January.
Because 6 pounds, or not. You just don’t get these moments back. 6 pounds can come off in a matter of weeks. 6 pounds don’t get to determine the quality of my holiday. They do not have permission to send me on a downward spiral back to 2016. Enough is enough.
Because it’s the holidays for Christ’s sake, and life is just too damn short.