Prior to 2018 I yearned for balance in my life constantly.
I yearned to be at peace with food and my body because I knew the incessant battle in my head was usurping inordinate amounts of my mental space and energy that I could be spending on the things that really mattered to me, like being present with my family and advancing in my career.
The cycle went like this:
This was my cycle. Over and over and over.
So what happened in 2018 that changed everything?
The year my struggle with food and weight ended-- permanently.
The year my over-hunger ended.
The year my over-desire for food ended.
The year the cycle of eat-shame-eat-shame-eat-shame ended.
The year all diets ended.
The year my mind-drama about food ended.
The year my mind-drama about my body ended.
2018 was the commencement of a completely new way of living.
It was the year I learned to restore the balance in my body with food and exquisite self-care.
The year I learned to restore the balance in my life because I was no longer spending any time spinning out about food-- instead I was engaged with my family, friends, career, and most importantly-- myself.
In 2018 I lost 30 pounds without dieting I was able to replace all of my self-loathing with self-love which is the most priceless gift anyone could give themselves.
2020 isn't just the turning of another year, it's the turning of another decade.
The results you have in your life today were created by the decisions you made yesterday.
The results you have on December 31st, 2020 will be created by every decision you make starting today.
If you are still struggling with overeating and over-desire, why not make 2020 the year that that all ends?
For me it was the year 2018.
For you, it’s 2020.
Let’s do this.
Recently a man furiously flung his car door open to block my car from moving as I tried to maneuver past his car in a Costco parking lot.
He stormed angrily towards my car as I hastened to lock the doors, and proceeded to bang violently on my car window yelling “Roll your window down!! Roll your window down!!”
My wide-eyed 5 year old sat in the back seat, confused, and scared.
This man's emotions were high.
He was angry and agitated.
Ready to pick a fight with a woman and her small child.
Of course my fiery Italian self yelled back in mama-bear tones.
He finally got back in his car and drove off.
Heightened emotional states like these are commonplace this time of year.
I’m not immune, and likely neither are you.
People are stressed.
Stressed about overspending.
Stressed about overeating and overdrinking.
Stressed about family relationships and interactions.
But wait, isn’t the holiday season supposed to be the “most wonderful time of the year”?
Stress is, by definition, a state of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse or very demanding circumstances.
Do the holidays qualify as “adverse or very demanding circumstances”??
No, they don’t… unless your thinking that you have to spend a bunch of money, eat a bunch of food, drink a bunch of booze, entertain people you really don’t like, and shop till you drop (literally) when you really just want to be cozy by the fire in your jammies with a cup of tea and a good book.
This kind of stress is self-created.
If you’re anything like most people, you respond to stress by overeating and overdrinking-- not to mention overspending and overcommitting.
In short, you create this stress by thinking you have to do all of these things in order to have the experience you want over the holidays, but you end up with a result you don’t want: tight pants, maxed out credit cards, and empty bank accounts.
The solution to self-created stress is to stop creating it.
First, you have to change the way you are thinking about how you create the experience you want.
For example, if you are telling yourself that you “have to” buy all this stuff, eat all this stuff, bake all this stuff, do all this stuff, etc. then you’ll feel obligated, overwhelmed, overcommitted, overspent, and overweight.
I’m guessing those are not the feelings you are trying to create this holiday season.
Here are two questions to ask yourself in order to stress less.
After you’ve found the feelings you are after, use that information to answer the following questions.
The essential thing to remember is that the holidays can be about whatever you want them to be: overeating, overdrinking, overspending, overstressing...
Or, they can be about connection, reflection, intention, generosity, gratitude, and restoration.
You don’t have to do anything.
You get to choose.
Set your intention for the holiday and then allow it to be exactly what you want it to be, now, and in January.
Want to know more about how I stopped dieting AND lost weight?
I'm a runner.
I became one last week.
I decided that I wanted to be a runner.
So I started running.
My goal was to close my green ring on my watch everyday.
I've missed a few.
But I've showed up for myself most days.
I used to tell myself ...
And yet I longed to be a runner because... well, why??
Why do I want to be a runner if I have all these shitty thoughts about it?
I want to run because I highly value being strong and fit.
Health, both physical and mental, is my top priority.
After having a baby years ago my priorities shifted and I no longer wanted to spend hours a day at a yoga studio or gym in order to attain my desired level of physical fitness.
I want to be able to get my sweat on quickly, close to home, and anywhere in the world.
That's my why.
Running fits that bill.
But I hate it, remember?
And then, two weeks ago I decided that I'd had enough of my bullshit thoughts.
In order to BE anything, you have to love the process.
That meant in order to to be a runner, I had to love running.
I didn't need to "learn" to love running.
I just needed to decide to stop thinking all those negative thoughts about running and just lace up my shoes and run.
On my runs I didn't practice any bullshit thoughts like "I love this!!"
I just ran.
Anytime an automatic negative thought came into my head I pushed it aside, telling myself that it was an old thought that we aren't thinking anymore.
And there were sneaky thoughts, too, like "I should run faster... I'm so slow this isn't much better than walking."
You know what those bullshit thoughts do??
Stop you from running.
I dismissed those, too.
I only allowed thoughts that inspired me to run.
I dismissed the rest.
And guess what?
About two weeks in I was on a run and I had a thought that surprised me:
I love this.
And I did.
I genuinely loved running.
I love running at my pace.
It's slow, but it feels good.
It #feelslikelove to me.
It doesn't feel painful or "hard" on my body or mind like my old thoughts purported.
I'm not producing excess cortisol in response to my run because it's too hard and painful.
I'm genuinely enjoying myself.
I'm loving myself.
Because I'm a runner.
Want some help learning to love the process on your way becoming who you want to be?
Get your Free How to Love the Process Guide Here!
Lia Pinelli is a weight loss coach and educator who helps women put an end to emotional overeating and lose weight, permanently.