Imagine this: A Thanksgiving that doesn’t end with me in hideous pain from a super-stretched stomach. Where I don’t end up so sluggish from sugar that all I crave is for everyone to get the hell out of my face so I can get to my nap.
I’m about to have my 24th one of those holidays. Through some grace I still can’t explain, all those years ago I started eating healthy every damn day of my life, come hell, high water, birthday, Thanksgiving, pushy hosts, or my own inner pull towards kinds and quantities of foods that were deadly for me.
As you may know, I wrote a book, The Hungry Ghost, about my healthy eating transformation and the 100 pound weight loss that ensued.
There’s one big mother of a problem with my story, though. It contains a message that very few people want to hear.
Who wants to be told that no matter how hard it is to lose weight—and it is hard—it’s ten tons harder to keep it off?
Who wants to hear that you have to work at it, every damn day? That there are no magic beans?
I am no paragon of virtue. To this day, I don’t know why I got what I got, the restoration of health and sanity, along with profound gifts of inner resources to sustain this miracle.
But I do know how it happened and keeps happening: I spend a minimum of two hours a day managing what I eat and—this is critical—what I think and feel. We’re talking prayer, meditation, peer support groups and phone calls, self-care. That’s not counting physical exercise. Or food planning, shopping and preparation.
And don’t assume I’m a lady of leisure. I began this work with three young kids at home, and a couple years after started it, started working full time a 90 minute commute from home.
It can be done. It breaks my heart that people are still looking for the weight-loss magic, even as I understand how attractive the idea of easy rescue is. It breaks my heart to watch how people head into the holidays simultaneously dreading and thrilled by the prospect of extreme overindulgence.
I lay awake nights sometimes, wondering what will make them decide, just this once, to put a happy healthy body and clear head above stuffing themselves silly with massive quantities of food that’s chock full of illness-inducing substances.
I’m not saying don’t have a few bites extra, if you know for a fact that the small indulgence won’t ignite a flat out, soul-crushing, body-killing binge. But if you are going to push the edges of everyday eating, at least do it with forethought and awareness. Me personally? I daren’t fool around, because knowing what to do, and doing it, one day at a time, is literally life and death. Once I start eating certain foods, or even just more than I know I need, I can’t stop.
How about you? Somewhere in your own little self, you know the truth about you and your food, too, don’t you? Do you dare live from there?
And if you want to read a really, really good book about how I did what I did, with oodles of advice about what you can do starting right this minute, I wouldn’t say no. You can get a custom-signed copy of The Hungry Ghost on my web site, where this blog also lives. Or find a quicker, cheaper version from Amazon.
Bottom line: I love you. I want you to be serene and healthy. You are more important than all that food. There are ways to feel satisfied, loved and safe that don’t hurt you. Trust me, you’ll be so glad you took such good care of yourself. Maybe not right away. But eventually, and then, every day for the rest of your life.