Candy canes. (Freaking candy canes…)

Me and my sis. πŸ™‚  This picture serves as a good reminder for me when I’m faced with cravings or hard choices.  I LOVED my life at this point, but I’m not going back…

This time of year is dangerous for me.

I know I’m not alone.

Some of my favorite foods start appearing in stores and at Holiday parties.  They’re seasonal foods, which to my mind means they’re SCARCE and treasured and not-to-be-missed.

In most cases these crazy-wonderful-delicious treats are tied to some of the happiest memories of my life.

My happy childhood Holiday memories are built on food.  Again, I know I’m not alone.

Anyone else get caught up in the ‘OHH!  I used to love this!’, ‘It’s only available right now!’ and ‘The holidays aren’t complete without this…’  frenzy?…

I was shopping this past weekend with my sister.

We suddenly found ourselves in the candy/food/food gift aisle.

You can SMELL the sugar floating in the air.

Deb asks me as she’s holding up a package of something, ‘Do you remember this…?’

Fancy cookie mixes.  Almond Roca. Peppermint ANYTHING.  Chocolate everything. Fancy drink mixes.  Maple candies.  Candy.  Candy canes.

You get the idea.

My reply to my sis was ‘yes..!’

The conversation in my head was not so simple.

It was literally like a pair of little fat devils were sitting on opposite shoulders and whispering in my ears…

‘You could eat that and then just go run it off and you wouldn’t even have to give up any other foods today in exchange…’

‘You don’t have to tell anyone.’ (SEVERE RED FLAG WARNING.)

‘Actually you are at a stable weight Bets and you did just run a really big race… I mean, c’mon – you earned this! You could eat this and  totally get away with it and get back on track tomorrow.’

‘It’s the holidays!  Celebrate! This is only around for a short period of time! Why are you so freaking strict with yourself? It’s just a piece of candy…’

‘No one has to know… And you’ll only do it this once…’ (Again, RED FLAG WARNING.)

That’s NOT the kind of healthy thinking I’ve been working to develop as it relates to food and the relationship I want to have with food. I fight these cravings/impulses/habits all the time.  I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have to think about it daily.

Holiday or not.

I wasn’t surprised in the least that this type of thinking showed up in full force surrounding Holiday foods.

I mean… I’ve been thinking this way for 40+ years.  It’s still kind of the default.  It’s oddly, sadly, disturbingly comforting.

Early in my journey to gain control of my lifestyle I had to handle things by NOT BEING around it…

So I didn’t go NEAR speciality or holiday food aisles. I avoided parties and potlucks. I couldn’t walk by the bakery section at Costco.  I avoided weddings and showers and parties. I brought my own food to family dinners.

I was very, very careful to limit just how hard I would have to test my resolve.  Stark?  Severe?  Yes… But I knew I needed some distance and some solid practice creating new habits surrounding food to combat the old ones.

I needed some time to get practiced and strong.

I guess I knew it instinctively, defensively; so I was really careful.  I was really restrictive for several years.  At times I still choose to be restrictive.

One more side note?  Remember…  This wasn’t just about losing weight for me.  I was in a fight to beat type 2 diabetes.  So I had a little different motivation than most to try to figure out ways to change my habits for good, not just a period of time.

So this time around, standing with my sis and staring at the container of food I used to LOVE…  That is only around for a few weeks each year?

I caught the two little devils and their suggested thinking that wasn’t super healthy…  They’re old friends.  I knew their voices.

And I had a plan of action for giving them the boot…

  • I walked out of the aisle and went to look at Holiday cards.
  • I popped about 3 pieces of cinnamon gum in my mouth.  And chewed.  Hard. πŸ™‚
  • I texted two friends about finding time for a healthy dinner or simply  TIME together to build some memories this next week.

Diversion tactics.

I’ve practiced them.

They work.

Getting out of that situation, finding something BETTER than the food gracing the aisles.

Taking positive action that resulted in something non-food related that I can now look forward to.

It worked.

I had a great dinner with two of my best friends a few days ago.  We laughed and built memories and just enjoyed time with one another.

It was WAAAYYYY better than whatever food tempted me in the first place.

Anyone else have any tactics that work at this pressure-filled time of year they would be willing to share?  

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