The Overeater's Blues
It’s the Monday after Thanksgiving…
How are you feeling about the way you *managed* the feast? The two most common approaches I see are:
Anything goes! It’s a holiday—I will eat my way through the entire day without a care in the world.
White-knuckle it! I will do my best to resist the crazy amounts of tempting food and avoid eating some of the foods I love while feeling sad and deprived about missing out when everyone else seems to be reveling in the gluttony of it all.
I’ve used both approaches and, honestly, neither one felt good to me.
Thanksgiving is not one of my favorite holidays; in fact, I really don’t like it at all—what?? It’s practically blasphemous, right?
I love the idea of Thanksgiving—the idea of sitting down to a delicious meal with those you love is awesome, but the reality of the holiday is less awesome.
The focus on food and the socially sanctioned opportunity to eat to the point of near-bursting is such a turn-off. The aphorism “if a little is good, a whole lot is better” definitely applies here as it does to American culture in general.
BUT, is a whole lot really better?
What if you stopped believing that? What would change for you?
Last week, I was working with a coaching client, Maya, who was super concerned about the upcoming Thanksgiving meal. As we talked, Maya realized that she didn’t want to buy into the hype, the “tradition”, and the free-for-all mentality.
Maya decided to made a few small changes—like subbing sautéed Brussels sprouts for the green bean casserole, and baking simple sweet potatoes rather than adding all the sugar and marshmallows—and then just ate all of it in moderation.
When I talked to Maya this week, she felt really good about those changes and talked about creating new traditions. Maya didn’t overindulge and she didn’t *diet* her way through Thanksgiving either.
Maya saw doing things differently this year as a means of rebelling against a normal, but unhealthy approach the holiday. Being a rebel appealed to her and shifted her from a feeling of deprivation to a feeling of empowerment.
This is a perfect example of what I mean when I talk about redefining normal. Start making conscious, deliberate decisions about the norms you choose to follow rather than just blindly going along with the herd.
You get to choose what’s normal for you, and it may or may not be the same as what is normal for everyone else.
Let go of what doesn’t serve you and your goals, find what does, and act on it. Living according to your own rules is freedom not limitation.
Want some extra support during the holidays? I’m now offering email coaching! It’s a great option for someone who doesn’t want to spend the time (or the financial resources) on traditional scheduled coaching.