I love this guest post from my friend Erin Kerry. Erin shared more of her story in this post. But, I love her renewed approach to the holidays. Are you ready to start taking the power away from the scale?
It’s that time of year. Time for feasting, gorging, bingeing. Time for carb lows and sugar highs. Time for marathon meals and day long snacking. For me, it’s time for the food shame cycle. But not this year.
This year, I’m refusing to step on a scale.
In the past, for as long as I can remember, I have measured my holiday success based on how much weight I don’t gain. Typically, I put on a good 3-5 pounds every holiday season, spanning from Thanksgiving to New Year’s. I don’t know where the idea came from, but somehow I acquired the belief that calories don’t count over the holidays, that it is my excuse to eat whatever I want (pretty much the same rule I applied to both of my pregnancies). So I enjoy a little too much of everything. Late night snacks during rowdy card games with the in laws, an extra piece of chocolate pecan pie because I won’t see it for another year, an extra helping of sweet potato casserole because the first serving was just a “sample serving.” I eat from the smorgasbord out of gratitude to my mother in law, who truly makes the best Thanksgiving feast I’ve ever had, and because, being a lifelong emotional eater, I am filled with such joy to be surrounded by my far-away family.
But then, when I step on the scale, reality hits. And I’m filled with shame and disgust at what I’ve done. Those happy memories I created, sharing delicious food with my family, are now marred with the stain of extra weight. Extra weight that nobody notices but me, of course.
So I am determined not to go there this year.
My Heavenly Father has taught me a lot the past few years about my obsession with body image. I have learned (and I’m still learning) to say no to negative self-talk. If I am going to continue to focus on the “renewing of my mind,” and if I am going to allow the Holy Spirit to continue to “set my mind on the things above,” I will not let my family reminiscences become lost in my self-absorbed cycle. I will enjoy my fall and winter favorites – family and food – and I will listen to my body. When I’m full, I’ll stop eating. If I want a piece of pie, I’ll savor it. I want to enjoy long solitary runs outside on my favorite route in Northwest Arkansas (the one that brings back so many great memories of the early married years) without thinking about how many calories I’m burning.
This year, I’m going to celebrate the holidays and be completely present, body and mind, because this is the only year my daughter will be 11 and my son will be 2. Who knows – this may even be our last year as a family of four. I will not let the numbers on a scale determine my holiday joy. I am taking power from the scale and demanding holiday freedom.
Erin Kerry is wife to Richard and “mama” to Isabel and Roman. She works as an English teacher and ESL Department Head for a middle school in Plano, Texas as well as ambassador for Plexus Worldwide. She loves bingeing on Netflix with her husband, playing games with her kids, getting sucked into a good book, running races (slowly), discovering unique craft beers, and trying out new Mexican restaurants.