Similar to many I’m finding myself fully immersed in the holiday season. I decorated my front window yesterday afternoon with lights and homemade paper snowflakes. I bought cinnamon scented pine cones and wax cubes for my warmer called “Christmas morning.” I think I’m finally starting to get into the holiday spirit but I have been confronted with a problem I haven’t had in Christmases past.
I find myself overwhelmed by the sugary treats and unhealthy snacks assaulting me around every corner of nearly every store I enter from grocery stores to clothing stores. I recognize candy and sweets are part of the holiday season and in the past holidays have been an excuse to overindulge, especially as sugary treats were constantly found at both work and home. As someone who was recently diagnosed as pre-diabetic and has to watch her sugar intake I think I’m just becoming more aware of how much sugar is everywhere in everything.
I walked into a local store this week, and was greeted by a house made of 12 packs of soda filled with a TV showing Christmas specials and kits to make cookies and fudge. There was also an 8 foot wall of soda greeting customers when they walked into the store. Walking through the stores I passed up items when last year I would have thrown them into my cart without hesitation, sugar cookie kits, candy bars, chocolate candies, chips, and candy canes.
I’m not eliminating all sugar at this point but simply reading labels, buying fresh food, and trying to make smarter food choices. Life is all about individual choices and I do not blame my health problems on stores, fast food restaurants, or anyone other than myself. My weight gain and recent diagnosis are results of poor health choices over years but now I’m making changes to improve my health. These changes are bringing about some kind of awakening in which I’m starting to see society’s distorted relationship with food and health.
Each year I notice the vicious cycle of advertisers and retailers who push sugary treats onto us from Halloween to Christmas then at the start of the new year we’re to set weight loss resolutions. In less than 3 weeks we’ll go from candy commercials to gym commercials. Somehow at the start of the new year we’re supposed to flip a switch and trade in our sweet tooth for new healthy habits because that is what the stores and advertisers will be pushing.
I’m certainly not a health food fanatic (not yet anyways) but my eyes are opened to my own unhealthy relationship with food and I work every day to improve that relationship. I’m at a stage where I’m starting to feel better, which makes me want to continue learning and reaching out to others as I work on creating new eating habits. It’s about individual choices and sometimes making the right choice can be difficult when the wrong choice is the most prominent.
I realize what I’ve been avoiding is not denying myself anything but rather refusing to give into using the holidays as an excuse to eat whatever I want. The holidays are weeks from being over and I’m not kidding myself that I will not indulge in a treat or two. I’m definitely going to enjoy some sugar cookies, an eggnog latte, and some of the yummy peppermint bark I plan to make next week…..it’ll just be one or two cookies not an entire plate 🙂