I love Christmas, I love the decorations, the tree, the lights. I love the carols and candlelight and the Tom Fletcher Christmasaurus cd we have had in the car since mid November (still my favourite).
I love Christmas movies – especially this one! I love Christmas jumpers (I may have 1 or 2) and I love mince-pies, I love a cheeseboard and chutney, I love Christmas cake and Panetone (especially made into bread and butter pudding) and huge boxes of roses/quality street/celebrations…
Yet for me these things are also a real problem at Christmas. It seems that Christmas has become all about excess, why not spend all day grazing on food – who cares if your actually hungry or not, just grab another pig in its cosy little blanket, a few chocolates, glug it down with some Bucksfizz and carry on. Buy as much food as you can in the run up to the big day because the shops will be closed for all of 24 hours and you may run out of brandy butter – heaven forbid!!
Christmas has become about indulgence and buying way more food that any human needs or can consume. And in the past few weeks of Christmas shopping I have found it really hard, every time you go into the shops you are overwhelmed by boxes of biscuits, towers of chocolates, mince-pie stacks, platters, nibbles and appetisers. And for me it has reached a point where it is overwhelming and I am left with feeling guilty because I want to eat all of it! At the moment I feel I just have to look at a mince-pie and I gain a lb, smell a chocolate and thats another lb.
Yet Christmas should be about coming together with those you love and enjoying yourself, relaxing the diet or health regime and loosening the waistband of your trousers. But all I can think about is that if I eat that tasty little piggy, those mince-pies, that bit of cake and handfuls of chocolate then come the New Year I will be stepping on the scales and beating myself over the head for being so unrestrained and greedy. Because I am an all or nothing – stuffing my face or declining everything – all in or all out – go big or go home right?
And I know that what these say shouldn’t matter so much but they do.
Over-eating has always been a problem for me, If I feel anxious, upset, out of control, unhappy or bored food is there to lose myself in. If I’m happy or celebrating food is again there as a reward for doing so well, a nice little chocolatey pat on the back. I think you get the picture, whatever is going on in my life food always has a way of showing up.
And I haven’t got any pearls of wisdom for how to survive this festive period, how not to dive off the deep end into a bowl of chocolates and I know I need to be kind to myself, blah, blah, blah, and really what is a few lbs gained (well to me its actually quite a big ‘head’ deal). I know in the past few weeks I have done really well in the not over-eating or using food to numb painful feelings or as a coping method for when I’ve had a crappy day and just because I may eat a little more over Christmas doesn’t mean I’ve ruined everything I’ve achieved in the past few months. I don’t have to use my previous negative experience of food as a measure of how well I am doing at being a human being.
The one thing I do know though is that my weight does not define me in the way it used to. Before I would spiral into self loathing – I’m so disgusting, I’m fat and ugly,I’m weak and stupid, I’m a horrible human being. While I may get frustrated by my lack of self-control (which I’m still working on) It doesn’t lead me to such dark places. I still don’t listen to the voice which tells me to use laxatives or to purge in some way. My exercise levels stay in normal healthy parameters. I know that I am loved by God no matter what the scales say, he doesn’t despise me because my weight went up by a few lbs. I know Carl loves me whatever weight I’m at and isn’t repulsed by the sight of me and I know my kids love their mummy and are only concerned when they think I’ve missed a meal (which doesn’t happen that much anymore). The thing I still need God’s help in is loving myself the way others do, believing that I am worth some self care, gentleness and kindness. This I am still following God’s lead on.
I don’t know how Christmas is for you, maybe the food quantities aren’t such a big deal for you, maybe you feel the pressure of the season in some other way, gifts, family, travel, finance. But for each of us my prayer would be that we can all find a way through the festivities to Jesus, that we wouldn’t consume so much that we are consumed by the season and forget the real reason. That we would know that we are each loved even if we find it hard to love ourselves.
Blessings to you at Christmas time xx