The Holiday Season
Seasons greeting fellow partakers of family and mince pie times!
I’ve been home for 4 days now. Here’s a play-by-play of how the first 3 days were starting to spiral into madness:
Day 1 = Excitement to see my family and my dog and eat all the cheese in the fridge
Day 2 = Excitement mixed with dread about my friends who are still up at uni studying/working. Followed by begging my extended family to let me retreat and do some of my essay due first day back.
Day 3 = Excitement to see high school friends that I haven’t seen in a long time mixed with existential dread about not becoming a lawyer (like all good humanities students should) and/or indecision about future career prospects. Solution: drinking cider, ordering a starter and a main at Pizza Express and then going home to shove my face full of shortbread/mince pies/hot chocolate whilst watching BBC dramas.
Later that evening I ran myself a hot bath. Filled it with epsom salts and lavender and soaked up the goodness via a podcast about using self care to control yourself. I had an epiphany as I lay in the sudsy goodness poking at the little belly that had started to emerge after a few weeks of culminative letting loose. If consuming mulled wine and pastry was a national sport I’d be winning. My mind started racing thinking about what exercise I should do tomorrow (ie today). Thinking about weight lifting, but only upper body to make my middle look smaller. Thinking about hot yoga, but then feeling put off by the necessity to wear very little clothes and the price. Hell, I even considered going for a jog which if you know me you know that means I’m going INSANE.
This time of year can be really tricky for people who have suffered with restriction/bingeing in the past. If you are one of those lucky souls who haven’t then I’m sure you can still appreciate the narratives about January fitness DVDs and comments about ‘treat yourself’ can feel suffocating. One of my favourite Podcast hosts Katie Dalebout described the stranglehold of wanting to indulge in seasonally exclusive treats whilst not being able to deal with the long winter nights and mounting pressure for the New Year. It can often feel like a toxic cocktail. Not to mention, the increase in drinking around this time doesn’t help physically or mentally feeling my best.
So, last night as the bath water gradually became lukewarm I made a pact. This is probably the hardest point in my recovery throughout 2018 and I was about to succomb to old habits. Binge before exercise purging. Planning out how I could shove my face with as many calories as possible before pushing my body to the limit in an extreme workout. My mind was berating me: you should go to the gym, you should be walking more, why are you eating so much? Coupled with an unconscious losing of weight since I last seen my family I was feeling overwhelmed. The pact I made is to not exercise until my body wants me to do it. Not my mind and it’s shoulds and it’s restriction and purging. But my body. Despite, the increase in pounds over the last few weeks my body seems quite content to get cosy in this cold winter month and that’s okay.
Also, I realise that the reason I’d been eating and drinking so much the last few weeks is because I was pushing my body in that way. I’d been shutting off any connection to being hungry or being full. Old habits have crept back in, but the first step is to be aware of them. Rather than my usual cycle of trying on clothes that determine how ‘healthy’ (ie skinny) my body has become since I last tried them on followed by a binge and eventual exercise purge. I’m done. I’m exhausted. Christmas is supposed to be a time of celebration and gratitude. I’m celebrating the love I have for myself and for others. I’m grateful that my body is healthy and happy and has an extra layer of insulation at the moment. I’m tired of trying to control my diet and lifestyle to suit some warped body dysmorphia idea of what a 22 year old female should look like.
I’m trying my best everyday and until I’ve cut the bs in my mind I’m sitting in my leggings in bed waiting for the right kind of reason to move. This might sound silly for those of you that intuitive eating comes naturally, but for those on a path of recovery this is the best thing I can do for my body right now.
All my love, Sam
ps. don’t worry there will be an annual NY resolution take down coming at you soon!!