Holiday Challenges…

The holidays are fast approaching.

It begins with Halloween and the notion that a bite size candy bar popped into our mouths won’t do much damage. One here. One there. One every time some cute kid knocks on the door and screams “trick or treat”. It continues with the day after Halloween and all the candy that we didn’t buy before the 31st going on sale to be consumed after the 31st. We can’t help it. We negotiate the purchase by promising to put it on the highest shelf in the kitchen and only eating a few pieces every once in a while. I mean seriously who can pass up a big bag of bite size (insert candy bar brand here) for only $3.99.

We’re good for a few days but then all hell breaks loose and before we know it, not only had the Halloween candy from our house been digested but so has the abundance of candy in the work place and quite possibly the candy collected from our children.

For me personally, I don’t have any children. My modus operandi was always to buy four or five bags of candy with the notion that I would see hundreds of happy little children prance up to my door and serenade me in their angelic voices to share the wealth.

Funny thing is in all the years I’ve been passing out candy I never got more than a few dozen children. I used them as an excuse to buy more than I needed just so I could say “oh well now I’ll have to eat what’s left over”.

Halloween candy sales are replaced with the Football party shopping. Bags of chips, cans of cheese dips and 2 liters of diet soda are consumed in mass quantities. Here’s another funny story: I’ve never even been to a football party. I just bought the crap because it was on sale and if I had one bag of chips in my shopping cart, well hell let me get three because no one will know the difference. No one is going to give me the stink eye and if they do I just say “What about those Raiders?”.

The end of November finds us looking down at a plate so overladen with food we hardly know where to begin and when we’re finished and need to unbutton our pants to find comfort we tell ourselves “No pie” only to reply to the inquiry with a “I’ll just take a small piece”.

And then December hits us.

Holiday party after holiday party after freaking holiday party. Cookies and fudge. Candy canes and mint flavored taffy with the cute Christmas tree smack dab in the middle. Eggnog and spiced ciders. Everywhere we turn food is being handed to us and if you were anything like me, I never passed up an opportunity to put food in my mouth while wishing everyone good holiday cheer. Two months of continuous eating with nary a break in the consumption of calories, the packing of fat and the growing another pant size bigger while going deeper into my depression.

I put a stop to that last year.

I intend to put a stop to it this year too.

I am a weight loss success story but it doesn’t mean I don’t fall prey to emotional eating and this is about the time that it starts to really get in my face. I’m more susceptible this year because of all the changes that have taken place in the last six months (you know getting divorced, giving up my house, getting married to Meegan, living 4000 miles apart from her while we figure international logistics, getting ready to move away from the only place I know). I’m also more susceptible because I’m no longer in weight loss mode. Maintenance mode can be sticky (pun intended). No longer being hyper-vigilant to what I’m eating, not counting calories and being more prone to saying things like “hey I lost 120 pounds so I can be a little more lenient”. Add to that the anniversary of my mother’s death is never easy even after 20+ years and you have a recipe for potential emotional melt downs which easily lead to emotional bingeing.

I have some tools in place to help me with the next 60 or so days and I’m putting out there to the universe (aka my blog) to make sure that not only am I accountable for my actions, but to let you know that if you’re struggling with the challenges of the holidays: You are far from alone!

  • Halloween I am refusing to eat any treats. Period. I will not allow even one piece of candy to enter my body. I will be using the hashtag #DontEatTheTreat throughout the day and reminding myself that the candy industry doesn’t care about me. It doesn’t care whether I eat one piece or I eat 100 pieces. It doesn’t care that I could easily sit in the car, open up a bag of Halloween candy and consume it in it’s entirety until I made myself sick. It doesn’t care about me, it doesn’t care about you and it will never care about anything but making money. I will not purchase any sale candy and use the excuse that I’m buying it for an office I don’t work in or that it’s for children I don’t have. I will have control today. I will have control tomorrow. In addition to not eating any candy I am also not passing out candy this year. It’s the first time I won’t be sitting at home waiting for the itty bitties dressed in their costumes. I don’t feel bad, nor do I feel guilty about not participating. There are plenty of churches in my area that are doing the annual “Trunk or Treat” and my roommate is preparing the house for any trick or treaters that might come knocking on the door. Instead I’m doing the Dawn of the Dead Dash and will spend two hours running around my town getting chased by zombies, attempting to reach all the check points and finally end up at my favorite coffee place for an amazing Americano.

(Now that’s a Halloween people)

  • Thanksgiving A few weeks ago I talked about leaving my Gym (Allstar) and heading over to Jowers Training System. It has been amazing. Bootcamp/crossfit = makes Tara very happy! It was the best decision for my physical body and when my physical body feels good/strong/capable, my emotional/mental body feels good/strong/capable. With my time here in Tacoma coming to an end I really wanted to challenge myself over the next few weeks and stay in control of my eating (stress = prime bingeing opportunities) and also begin practicing some eating changes. So I’ve joined the “Lean Turkey Challenge” for the next 35 days. My team (there are 3 of us) have lost a combined total of 265 pounds (ummmm that’s an entire me at my almost heaviest) and we aim to kick ass and take some serious names while on this challenge. My goal at the end of the 35 days? Drop 2-3% body fat. Today I am considered fit (even athletic on some charts) and let me be the first to say I never in a million years expected to be able to get my body to look the way it does. Muscles where there used to be fat. Definition where there used be sagging. I am ready to take this body that has done nothing but worked it’s ass off (literally and figuratively) to the next level. I have the physical part down, it’s the eating I’m going to be focusing on (while of course lifting heavy shit and perfecting my pull up technique). I am transitioning to eating Paleo and this Lean Turkey Challenge is going to help me stay focused on what goes into my mouth. I’m back to logging food (but not calories). Making sure I’m getting the right combination of proteins, carbohydrates and fats. Trying new recipes that are Paleo friendly and building a strong foundation for eating for health, not for emotions.
(Now that’s a Challenge people!)
  • Christmas I’m not so much focused on Christmas as I am the drive across the entire continent of Canada starting December 10th. Early that Saturday morning I will put the last of my belongings in Dusty (my Honda Element), put Meegan in the passenger seat, my key in ignition and leave the only place I’ve ever known. For seven days we will be heading towards Halifax and heading towards a new life together that doesn’t consist of 13 hour plane rides, limited days together and months and months of looking at each other over Skype. But I won’t lie, it’s going to be emotional for me. I am excited beyond words. I’ve never lived anywhere else and I didn’t just pick up and move to another state; I am picking up and moving to another country 4000 miles away. I can’t wait to see what great things we will do together, but I am going to miss my old home as I travel towards my new home. Forty-two years I’ve spent in my neck of the woods never venturing more than forty minutes from the house I was raised in. To say I will be emotional is an understatement. Instead of denying my emotions and using food to comfort my feelings I’m going to embrace everything that I feel. Excitement, fear, happiness, sadness…every last emotion will have a welcome mat in which to stand and be acknowledged. I will not binge. I will not eat unconsciously. I will make the best decisions with the options I have in front of me and once I get to Halifax it will be back to eating clean, eating local and once again figuring out ways to push my body the way it was meant to be pushed.

(and that’s a wrap people! Pun intended)


What are you doing to challenge yourself over the next 60 days?


(That’s where you come in)

11 comments to Holiday Challenges…

  • There are easily 100 different reasons about why I love you so much to be found in this post. I know these days aren’t easy, but you are finding a way to take the proverbial bulls of your life by the horns and wrestle them to the ground. I can’t wait to spend all of our holidays together and to find strength in our shared habits and routines.

    I am so proud of you for taking on the Turkey Challenge at Jowers and all of the progress you have already made. You are damn strong (stronger I think than you even realize some days) and I can see changes in you already. Even though Canadian Thanksgiving has come and gone (and I am so grateful we got to share it together) I have challenged myself to #LtF and plan on using these days leading up to Dec. 7th when I leave to come to you again to see what transformation I can undertake. We will support each other for the last time from 4000 miles apart. (after this time the challenges we undertake will be side-by-side.)

    And you know I’m in on #DontEatTheTreat! BAM!

  • PS – I wish so bad I was running around Tacoma on All Hallow’s Eve with you being chased by Zombies…

  • Jen

    way to throw down the challenge glove!

    I have totally been eating emotionally – I know I am doing it and I am still having a hard time stopping. I am working on it. I have somehow realized its not about losing weight – yes, I want and need to lose weight – but its not about the # on the scale.

    I am going to work on a challenge – one I can and WILL be successful – I need to feel my emotions – I just have to let go to do that. *big deep breaths* You have me thinking….

    thanks T!

    I love you and I am here for you in your journey!! HUGS

  • Seems like we are kind of lucky not having to “deal” with Halloween and Thanksgiving over here. And I don’t know why, but it seems I am the only person who doesn’t put on weight over Christmas. Which is kind of weird. At least that’s one thing I don’t have to worry about. Not that there aren’t enough more things I have to worry about… I admire anyone who has that much control over any part of their lives. I have huge problem with self-control when it comes to eating.

  • LOVE THIS!!!
    If you wanna do a guest post or a cross post to encourage my peeps too let me know!

  • mac

    OMG Tara, that race looks like so much freaking fun!

  • Love love love this post!

    I am “in” on #DontEatTheTreat, I’m taking it further than just Halloween candy though, I’m using it as my mantra for in between days…those days between Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas..when treats are out at people’s homes and sitting on desks and community rooms at work. I think we should spread this around! You’ll see me posting “DontEatTheTreat all season!

  • Oh SNAP!!! You and I are gonna have to sit down and do some serious talking about your thought processes. I love this sh!t!

    In a world inundated with reports of increasing health risk for adults and children due to inactive lifestyles, misinformation and overindulgence, a “day” centered around the sale and distribution of junk food seems freakin ludicrous – but it’s not just ONE DAY. It’s Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Valentines, Labour Day, ya get my drift – any day that gives us an excuse to “let loose” (and that Hallmark feels they can cash in on but that’s a whole other topic). But it’s not just ONE DAY. We’ve created 2 months of “accepted sh!tty behaviour” (that’s 17% of our year, so for those of you who follow Berardi’s 90% adherence, you do the math). If you were to “goof off” 17% percent of the time in ANY other forum in life (job, team, relationship) your ass would get kicked to the curb in a heartbeat. That’s 43 workdays in a year of just not showing up. That’s one whole day each week with a laissez faire attitude.

    It’s Christmas Day folks – not Christmas Month (and sh!t, that’s without getting philisophical about the true meaning of Christmas not being found in “a couple” of Aunt Jenny’s peanut butter chocolate balls and “just one more glass” of egg nog). Enjoy your holidays for what they are – an extra opportunity to rest, live, love, laugh, and play. If past experience indicates that “just one” leads to “just one more”, it’s time to face the music, saddle up next to people of strong will and intestinal fortitude, invite others to join you on your adventure and embrace a simple thought – #DontEatTheTreat. Thank you for your passion to change (and help others change) for the better Tara (sorry for “unloading” on your Blog).

  • Maxx

    Tara, you are an inspiration, friend. 🙂

  • […] to be able to look back on January 2nd 2012 and say “I DID IT!!!” Create a challenge: Tara’s #DontEatTheTreat is just one great thought […]

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