December 16, 2010


In a little while, I will be heading out the door for Midway Airport. This is a day I have been thinking about for months with mixed feelings: heading back east to see my family for the holidays. I'm excited but nervous. The most unsettling feeling is the one right in the center of my heart, where I feel at the same time familiar and like a stranger. I've known these people my whole life, but at the same time,my beautiful shoreline town in so many aspects, I am not the girl they came to visit in May. I am not even the same girl who went to visit them in July. I'm stronger. I'm more active. I'm a little more confident. And I'm eighty pounds lighter.

I've been panicking quite a bit about going home - excessively, even. I definitely have problems with anxiety, and one of the ways I've always dealt with it is to imagine every worst-case-scenario so that when things end up fine, or even mildly bad, they're never as bad as I imagined. It's really interesting, because most of the time, I'm intensely optimistic.

I've been worried about so many things in Connecticut - like staying active, eating reasonably, and not falling into old binge eating habits. My whole family will be carrying on as usual while I feel intensely conflicted - it's almost as if I am torn between my fidelity to traditions and to my new lifestyle. I want to belong. I want to be part of the festivities. And I want to make sure that I don't need to eat myself sick or refuse to get off the couch in order to enjoy the holiday right alongside everyone else.

I'm not heading into battle unprepared, though - I've got a plan. I've put together a folder of materials to keep me focused and strong on my goals - and I've made sure to make my goals reasonable. I cannot expect to lose the kind of weight in Connecticut that I do in Chicago - a small loss would be nice, but really, just maintaining would be a huge success. I want to stay active, enjoy treats in moderation, and prepare some healthy meals for my family. There are a lot of positives about going home that I have overlooked - like my mom's extensive array of kitchen gadgets that will make prep work easier, or the fact that cooking for six is a lot different than cooking for one, so a whole new world of recipe opportunities has opened up to me. I have the means and I have the motivation - now I just need to make sure I stay focused and do the best that I can.

In the folder, I've helpful articles on keeping active and eating reasonably well during the holiday season. I have a chart for filling out my merry-thon miles:

seventeen so far!
Seventeen miles so far! To keep up with my merry-thon goal (and to finish C25k [!!!]) (and to get ready for running my 5k on 1/1/11 [double !!!]), I have fourteen runs about my hometown mapped out by length - .5 to 3.1 miles, two routes for each except only one for 3.1 and three for 2.

And I have a sheet for keeping track of my days:

i hope this works!
I don't normally keep written records of calories, but since I will be out of my comfort zone, I would like to log my food, water, and exercise so that I can look back on it afterwards and see how the numbers at my post-vacation weigh in reflect my input and output.

Right now, I am feeling very brave. This is going to be a huge test for me - of my resolve, of my willpower. I'm charging head on into a situation that I have made a thousand assumptions and predictions about - and who knows? Maybe no one will make me feel like an outcast for celebrating the first Christmas where I didn't spend the day overeating. Maybe everyone will eat a little better because I do. Maybe they'll join me on walks. And maybe they won't do any of this. With luck, I won't be alone - but at the same time, I need to be strong even if it's just me eating off the veggie tray or jogging at the park. I need to be brave for me right now - I need to choose to do the right thing, even though it's the more difficult thing.

My Balance Board and Wii Fit Plus game are packed.

My pedometer and stopwatch are packed.

My workout pants and running shirts are packed.

Ready ... set ...


Unknown said...

Have a safe journey, Mary. Enjoy your holiday and know that you've got your own back on this one: you are prepared, planned and prepped. You'll do just fine :)

Anonymous said...

GOOD LUCK! Stay focused, but allow yourself time to relax and enjoy being with the family!!! You'll do fine! If your family sits down to an unhealthy meal, maybe eat only a small portion or eat something different. Just don't draw attention to the constant "I'm NOT eating that" because they may feel like you are looking down on them and their choices. Just be yourself, but be conscious of what you put in and conscious of the exercise you put out. You'll do fine!

Amy said...

Best of luck to you! I hope you have an amazing time at home and are able to stay on your plan and still enjoy everything home has to offer!! Merry Christmas! :)

Tim said...

Good luck! Will you be blogging whilst you're there?

I have a feeling that you will do excellent over Christmas. You seem very determined to get through this and maybe having the 5k on the 1/1/11 will make sure you keep on track. Maybe you will inspire someone else in your family to follow down your path for a healthier lifestyle.