As we get closer and closer to Halloween, I find myself growing more and more afraid of something that has nothing to do with zombies, witches, or things that go bump in the night.
I’m afraid of the holidays.
Truth be told, this is my absolute favorite time of the year. Nothing is more invigorating to me than admiring gorgeous fall foliage or inhaling that crisp chill in the air. Fall is by far my favorite season, and as such, I’ve packed the last several weekends with apple picking, hayrides, and haunted houses. Besides, I’ll take tall leather boots and cashmere sweaters over shorts and tank tops anyday.
I love the spookiness of Halloween, the coziness of Thanksgiving, and the spirit of Christmas. And who isn’t thrilled by the idea of starting fresh in a brand new year (not to mention a legitimate excuse to party all night long)?
But this year I find myself truly torn between my excitement for the ten-week stretch that has come to be known simply as “the holidays,” and my commitment to reaching my goal weight. This is the time of year for sugar cookies and apple pies, and it also happens to be the time of year when I notoriously find myself falling off course and throwing the progress I’ve made all year out the window.
I did it last year, when I found myself forcing myself into my size 8 jeans come January 2nd. I did it the year before, when I gleefully scarfed down all of the homemade treats I could get my hands on. In fact, the only time that I managed not to gain several pounds between the months of October and January was the year 2007, when I was just a few weeks into my Weight Watchers membership and counting POINTS and weekly weigh-ins were still oh-so-exciting. I didn’t so much as let a bite of Stove Top stuffing pass my lips for fear of affecting what the scale said on Sunday morning. I was shedding pounds like crazy and reveling in the compliments, and that was far more exciting to me than partaking in weeks of holiday hooplah.
Oh, how I long for those days.
Right now, I am finally back on track. I screwed up royally over the summer, and am still chipping away at the several pounds I gained on my two-week Orlando vacation in August.
It’s endlessly frustrating that it often takes me a month to shed just a pound or two, despite my absolute best efforts to eat well and push myself harder at the gym. Meanwhile, it seems that all I have to do is to think about ice cream to send the scale skyrocketing in the wrong direction. Talk about life not being fair.
I want to lose the rest of this weight I gained, and then some. I want to reach my goal weight. I want to become a Lifetime Weight Watchers member. I want to be a leader someday. I want to finish what I started.
I want it all so very, very badly. But I’m worried that the festivities of the coming weeks will ultimately derail my progress once again, and I’ll end up right back where I was earlier this year – feeling discouraged and hopeless.
I’ve developed a love for baking and have spent the last several days with my head in magazines and my eyes scouring the Internet for fun, festive treats to make and share with friends and family on Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s. And guess what? Very few of them are especially POINT-friendly. It will be the ultimate test of my willpower to indulge in (and track!) just one or two of my creations this year, but I feel I must challenge myself in this way because I refuse to let my weight issues keep me from doing the things that I enjoy…which pretty much sums up my life for the past 25 years.
I don’t want to hole myself up in my room to avoid attending holiday parties. I don’t want to nibble on celery while everyone else is devouring turkey. I don’t want to hide from the buffet and dessert tables. That’s not life.
The holidays are a part of life. They’re not going anywhere. And it’s time for me to figure out how to enjoy them without eating everything in sight.