Christmas Chaos

When I think back on all the time I have been battling my obesity, I am noticing a pattern that comes at the end of the year.  I'd love to blame everything on the fact that people give food gifts this time of year, it's around more, and it's always the indulgent, horrible-for-you food that is gifted.  That is all true, but I work in an office where vendors bring gifts, often food, throughout the year, and some of the girls I work with love to bake so they randomly bring in pans of iced cinnamon rolls or ice cream sundae cakes or chocolate covered strawberries stuffed with cream.  And then there's the birthday celebrations throughout the year that always mean a pot-luck spread in my office, enough food to feed everyone for an entire week and almost none of it nutritionally productive.  So blaming my lack of motivation on the extra food around Christmas is not really accurate. 
I saw a funny video clip last night that someone shared on an optician group page, it was of little girls dancing and one of them is on the verge of crying the whole time but she's still dancing and the caption is, "When you're emotionally exhausted but the show must go on".  This hit the mark perfectly.  It's not really the "holiday cheer" that makes me turn to food, but the absolute abundance of stress, caused by everyone waiting for the last possible chance to use up their flex spending, everyone acting as if they should be accomodated even though they did not plan ahead, everyone expecting top-notch customer service when we have way more work than we can handle and will never hope to be caught up until this crazy time of year is over... way too many demands on us (anyone in retail or health or shipping/mailing/packing) and it is so mentally,emotionally and even physically draining.  That is why I turn to all the prettily packaged little chocolates, the donuts some patient brings at Christmas time, the candy canes and yes, alcohol once I get home.  By the time I leave work I have a massive stress headache, some days it's too busy or too short staffed to get a luch break, sometimes I go hours not getting in back to get a sip of water or use the bathroom, I leave work feeling drained, over-stimulated and grouchy.  Food is the coping technique I have habitually used, and the procrastinated promise of doing better for myself once the end of year chaos subsides.  Its as if I truly believe that I am not strong enough to handle this any other way than with food, and eating whatever I want and just not having to think about trying to control one more thing that, on the surface seems like a small, innocent thing, but really it is a complex web of a lifetime of other stuff wrapped up in it.  I feel like I just don't have the mental energy to put into focusing on fixing my food issues at this time of year, so I don't even try.  Oh, I plan healthy menus for myself, but usually the missed snacks and late or non-existent lunches mean I am reaching for high-calorie junk every chance I get.  My mind is not settled enough to be calm about food. 
So that's a big discovery for me, something I brushed off as the stereotypical extra holiday pounds because there's so much yummy food around.  There will always be yummy, pretty looking food around, but I have better coping strategies every other time of the year than now.  I need to build up a fortress of coping skills ( and healing skills) for this time of year.  Now that I know what is really going on I can work on it. I figure that gets me about half way there to solving the problem, right?
If I don't blog before then, Merry Christmas to evey one of you!  I hope you have a warm,peaceful, cozy celebration!


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