Weight: 170 pounds
Trying to Get To: 150 pounds
Current Size: 12
Goal Size: 8
Current exercise regiment: 2 miles daily before work either walking, jogging, or both, tennis daily, hiking Saturday and Sundays.
It’s Thanksgiving and that usually means long lines at the grocery store buying food that we know that we don’t need to eat, passing out in a turkey induced coma in front of television and waking up on Friday and doing it all over again.
Maybe my outlook is a little grim, but that’s the reality of the situation. People like to refute this by saying that Thanksgiving is about family and getting together but that’s bullshit, it’s about eating as much food as you can for as many days as you can and we fall victim to it each and every time. It’s a vicious cycle.
The older I get, I think the more cynical my outlook on the world is, especially as it relates to the holidays and what I collectively refer to as commercialized holidays that are designed to drive us further into debt.
I’m not going to sit up here and tell you that I don’t celebrate Thanksgiving because of the Indians–Native Americans. Nope, sorry that’s not this sista. I just don’t do it anymore because when I really looked at it, Thanksgiving is not an excuse for me to sit around and overeat and then go and spend money I don’t have the day after.
I am a thankful person regardless of the date. A turkey or honeybaked ham doesn’t make me more thankful.
Like most Black families, mine is no different. They will get together on Thanksgiving over food that quite frankly, no one sitting around the table needs to eat, especially my diabetic gout suffering grandmother and her diabetic half blind daughter my aunt. And because I am the driver of the family I will have to attend said gathering and sit there and watch my family kill themselves slowly eating turkey, ham, macaroni and cheese, dressing, candied yams, black eyed peas, collard greens, and sweet potato pie. This in addition to trying to keep my own taste buds in check and not join in the madness. Which I can tell you is not an easy feat to accomplish. It’s like putting cake in front of a fat kid.
I think for me what makes Thanksgiving so hard is the fact that I have to watch very sick and fat people that I love eat food that I know is at the end of the day, making them sicker and fatter. Not to mention that if I say anything at all about it, I am going to get an earful about how just because I lost weight I think I am better than them. And because I am damned if I do and damned if I don’t, if I don’t say anything and they notice that I am not eating, then I am antisocial.
At some point, the cycle has got to break. As bad as this is going to sound, I don’t want to end up like most of the women in family, fat and sick. And saying that doesn’t mean that I love them any less, it just means that I made some different choices for myself.
I spent most of my entire life overweight and according to white people’s definition, obese. I teeter on the edge of going back to that every day of my life. The holidays are the hardest time of year for a person who likes to eat as much as they do breathing. But I made a decision that I would never go back to that size again and that means that I can’t indulge, not even for even for the sake of “fitting in” at family gatherings.
It’s hard. It’s similar to a person recovering from alcohol having to attend a gathering in a bar.
I took my grandmother to the grocery store today to do her shopping. I didn’t want to take her to the store, but I had to because if I didn’t then she’d be pretty upset with me. But I was upset with me for having to go up and down aisles with her and not say anything about the items that she put into the cart.
You see I was in the doctor’s office when the doctor said lay off the salt or lose the leg. And I am the one that has to carry her to her many, many doctors appointments every month, so when I see her putting a tray and buffalo wings in her cart, I just want to scream “shall I make the arrangements now!” to which she’d reply, “well you smoke cigarettes.” But I didn’t, instead I channeled that frustration into make smarter decisions for my own cart. Aside from the slice of cheesecake and eggnog, I think I did pretty well.
It’s been two years now that I stopped using the excuse that because it’s the holidays it’s okay for me to overeat. It’s never okay for me to overeat, especially considering the millions of people in the world who are starving. I also refuse to buy into the lie that Thanksgiving is about being together and family. I can be together with my family all year long.
I own my holiday madness, which for the most part is my insane addiction to eggnog. I compensate by doing two miles in the morning walking or jogging or a combination of both coupled with my tennis in the evening. But that’s me and my madness. Having that eggnog helps to stop me from gorging out on other foods I don’t really need but knowing that I have to somehow make up for it keeps me in check.
That’s a rational and willpower that I didn’t always have.
So on Thanksgiving yes, I am going to do the obligatory family gathering. I will smile politely as I pass the macaroni and cheese with a side of stroke around the table. I will even giggle a little when the topic of my love life becomes fodder for my family. That’s what has to be done. And keeping it real, I am also going to get my drink on and play spades at my boy Nevin’s house later that night as well. But before it’s all said and done, I will have gotten up and hiked all of Runyon Canyon that morning and repeated it on Friday morning. Like my girl Betty Wright says, “No pain, no gain.” And that my friends is how I will get through Thanksgiving, by keeping my eyes on the prize and that being making it through my 30s, 40s, 50s, and hopefully 60s, in relatively good shape with all of my limbs in tack.
I said all of this because for people who love to eat and are consciously trying to lose weight or maintain their weight loss, this is the hardest time of the year. It’s hard because of the food that’s placed before us but it’s also hard because a lot of times our families make us feel guilty for doing the right thing. Don’t feel guilty. Do you and let them do them. Be like me, bring your own food to the gathering. Don’t think I am not going to show up with a nice piece of catfish or salmon to replace the turkey and ham that is going to be front and center on the table.
Don’t let the holidays make you lose sight of your goals because Thanksgiving and Christmas will be long gone but the weight that you gained won’t be.