The Holiday is Over

christmas_decorations_in_a_store_bow_8-1Well, the holiday is over. How did you do? Did you eat too much? Eat the wrong things? Know you’re going to pay for it this week?

What? You still have dinners to go to today and tomorrow? Leftovers staring you in the face?

Come on. You have 38 days left. Thirty-eight days. Thirty-eight days left of holiday food torment. Did your first day set the tone you wanted for the next 38 days? Mmmm? Or maybe not.

Listen to me. And listen to me good. You have a choice. Each day. Each moment.

That one hard thing

Think hard. Hasn’t there ever been anything hard you’ve done that required effort? Required diligence? Have you run a 5K? Have you painted a bedroom? Have you played in front of a crowd? What have you done that required work?

Because you could have stopped doing it. You could have walked to your car instead of to the 5K finish line where a banana and water was waiting for you. Some fashionable curtains could have tied together a two-tone bedroom. Nobody dragged you kicking and screaming to the stage with your clarinet.

You. Your choices did all these things in your life. ย YOU.

So, I want you to think hard again. You’ve paved the connections in your brain between neurons for persistence by doing these hard things before in your life. Great job! Now is the moment to capitalize on your earlier successes. When it feels like you can’t say “No” to that food or that latte, remember that one hard thing you did. Feel the shoes on your feet, the concrete under your feet. And say, “I choose me, not food.” And run on.

Feel the paint brush in your hand, see the accidental paint spatters on the carpet, and say, “Sometimes I drop some paint, but I keep painting.” And paint on.

See the audience’s eyes on you, while you play your zombie-stiff clarinet song with racing heart. And say, “I choose to do this in front of the glares and stares of the world.” And play on.

You see, it is your choice. I promise you, nobody is going to grab that roll or those mashed potatoes and stuff them in your mouth. (Visualizing that, are you?)

But YOU might grab that roll and those mashed potatoes or that brownie this holiday season. YOU.

I can quit

Once, when I was having a hard time at pharmacy school personally, my volleyball coach looked at me and said, “Terri, you can go home. [Home and dear family support was six hours away.] Take a break.” I tried to argue with her. I couldn’t go home! I’d lose a whole semester of grades! A whole semester of money! No matter what I said, she told me it didn’t matter. I could go home. Finally, I realized, I could go home. I could quit whenever I wanted. And suddenly, I knew I had the fight in me. I knew I could pull myself up by my bootstraps, get my head wrapped on straight, and I could do this hard thing.

When I had to change the way I ate 4 years and five months ย ago (I remember the date I dove in to 100% change), I did the same thing. I recognized my choice. MY CHOICE. I thought of all the hard things I’d done in my life, and I knew I could do this one.

I haven’t fought every food and nutrition battle you’ll have to fight. But I’ve fought a lot the last four years. Battles from myself. My tongue. My mom. My kids. My world. The TV. Gluten. Dairy. Eggs.

But I’ve run 5Ks, painted rooms, and I’ve played in piano recitals. I remember those things. When I am faced with food choices I know don’t benefit me, I recall those successes. I feel them. I smile at them. And most of the times, I move on just fine.

Move past the dribbles and play your song

Sometimes I don’t move on just fine. That’s probably most like painting. I never get the drop cloth spread out the way I should. I often think I don’t need the drop cloth. I’m just going to paint this one little touch-up. I won’t dribble. And I always do. Always do dribble. But seriously, who stops painting a whole room because they dribbled?

Today, while you’re shopping, looking at leftovers, visiting family. Next week, when the baked goods and cheap candy start rolling in (Gosh, wasn’t it just Halloween?). Thirty-eight days from now, remember it was YOUR choice.

Did you run? Did you dribble, yet keep painting? Did you play your song?

Eating right isn’t about now. It’s about hiking with your kids when they’re old enough to hike. It’s about that trip to Europe you’ve always dreamed after you retire. It’s about getting down on the floor to change your grandbaby’s diaper. It’s about writing that book with great mental clarity that comes from real food.

It’s about YOU.

And doing the hard thing. Each step of the way.


Run. Paint. Play your song. You’ve done it before, and you can do it in this area too!

Happy Friday!


Photo attribution:ย By Tomwsulcer (Own work) [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons, public domain

18 thoughts on “The Holiday is Over

  1. Tim Steele

    Yep, these are tough times for people with weight issues and people who are striving to eat better in general. I once worked at a place where people brought in food for the office all through the holidays…crockpots full of meatballs, casseroles, desserts, treats, etc. every day, lined up for all to enjoy. I hated it, I could not resist the temptation and it was impossible to know exactly what you were eating as people have so many “secret ingredients,” ie. margarine, MSG, Sweet-n-Low, salmonella, etc…

    One year, I even went to a hypnotist who advertised an end to obesity. It was a waste of money, of course, but he gave us a little tool, that I still use today. When you reach for a food item that you are conflicted about, just before you touch that food, ball your hand into a tight fist and silently say “NO!” to yourself. Usually, in that instant, you can find the willpower to resist. Crazy, but it works and it’s fun.

    Since those days, I changed my diet completely, now even the tastiest looking homemade treat does not interest me at all. And when you are happy with your diet, you find that you can even indulge in a small piece of something without guilt or without it leading to days of bingeing and bad choices.

    Happy holidays!

    1. thehomeschoolingdoctor Post author

      Interesting about that tip from the hypnotist. Wish I would have known to try that one four plus years ago when I was a raging lion opening and slamming shut my cupboards for something I wanted to eat. But I’d emptied them out from the things my brain was screaming for. My brain was so mad. ๐Ÿ™‚ Yes, after four years, I feel so changed in my relationship with food. I am SO relieved.

      Here is a piece from Stephan Guyenet about the holidays and weight gain. Sobering. It is what really made me stop and count how many days the treats roll on in the next few weeks. Of course, really this should all start at Halloween for us here in USA. This is your brain on pumpkin pie.

      1. gabriella kadar

        I always figure if I’m cruising the fridge or the cupboards it’s because I’m not actually hungry. It’s boredom. So I don’t eat anything. Eventually I get hungry and eat the lentil soup. Or whatever else is already cooked.

        There is nothing in my kitchen cupboards that can just be eaten without cooking. Same with the fridge and freezer. This is a great disincentivizer to eating. There’s no snack items.

        I can also appreciate that with a herd of young children, this may not work out.

      2. thehomeschoolingdoctor Post author

        Food was my world and my family’s world growing up, probably to pathological status. Getting to where you suggest in your comment (knowing I’m not hungry, knowing I’m bored, restless, etc, and eventually eating the cooked food or making cooked food, not snacking much) which I do find to be true, was a real challenge. But with persistence and time between this eater and that one (the me now compared to the me four years ago), I feel at this place. It was not easy. It was a ride. And I’m happy to be off the ride. However, I still struggle with the possibility that I won’t be able ever to eat certain foods without consequences, but my mind is even budging and becoming accepting of this matter, if it must be.

        Kids do throw a wrench in the matter. For any parents reading, it gets easier as the kids become more autonomous in their own snacks. Snacks killed me! But amazing how those little rugrats grow! Yes, they do!

        Happy Holidays, Gabriella.

  2. Lesq

    Awesome post as always. Just curious do you eat fish? If so what kinds? I had for years and then had high levels of mercury. I stopped and resolv s the problem. I know the omega-3 is great blah, blah, blah but unfortunately are waters are so darn polluted as is our air and our drinking waters are to just from the nature of our world and oceaning dumping from industries over the years. Your thought? You are my true blog friend whom I cherish and trust for advice as you are a researcher like me and a questioner asker and just plain brilliant in my eyes๐Ÿ‘€๐Ÿ‘€.

    1. thehomeschoolingdoctor Post author

      Good Morning, Lesq! How are you? I do eat fish. I have found that I feel good eating fish, and that, usually, for me is how I help figure out what I should eat. Of course, like a fine food snob, I keep it to wild caught from decent waters. Some people/experts just think that eating fish today is not worth it at all, so I see your points. I don’t know. I haven’t researched it enough to share confidently an opinion with others. I have read on it, of course, to know I’m not going to outright DIE from eating it (ha), but not enough to share confidently.

      There are mercury concerns. But can these be bypassed by eating the small fish, like smelt and sardines? Does the selenium content of certain fish over-ride the mercury concern, like in tuna? Do I have a good mercury detox system and I’d be okay? I don’t know. How did you check your mercury? As my GI issue and food sensitivities have stuck around, heavy metals have moved up my radar and reading list, definitely.

      There are definitely water issues. I can’t bring myself to eat farmed seafood at this point. Maybe when I make the time to read on that, I’ll allow certain farmed seafood back in. There’s the radiation issues, which I’ve read on and not too nervous about in my case.

      I just don’t know. It’s a dirty world. All about. You’ve read about how we have so many different synthetic chemicals in our body. I remember reading this “fun” piece when we used to get National Geographic: Chemicals Within Us.

      Just no right answers.

      We eat smelt and sardines frequently, and I just feel better. We love shellfish too. Other fish that I keep stocked in my freezer are cod and salmon; I also rotate a couple others with a little higher mercury content. I mean, the omega 3s, the choline, the zinc, the selenium, iodine, vitamin D, calcium if you eat the bones of certain fish—just can’t be beat.

      But thanks for asking. It’s good for this to be brought up to be kept in my mind as something to make sure and not neglect or take for granted in our home/my body. It’s good to periodically inspect how I do things.

      Have a peaceful, contented week!

  3. Simple Days Making for Exciting Adventures

    We have finally put two and two together with my daughter’s anxiety. It is triggered with sugar. We eat very low sugar, so during the holidays-sugar intake increases. Thanksgiving night was rough. She felt like she was having a heart attack. I hate it for her. However, she finally made the connection herself (my hubby and I had a pretty good idea about the connection). She told us that she either needed to figure out how to control her sugar intake at parties or to eat more sugar on a daily basis so that she doesn’t go into shock at parties. LOL. Let’s hope that she aims for the first option! ๐Ÿ™‚
    I am so with you on the brain, inflammation, food connections. Happy Late Thanksgiving!

    1. thehomeschoolingdoctor Post author

      Yes, I’ve heard that from others too about sugar intake! I wish I understood that better biochemically/physiologically. I can see how peptides from certain foods can lead to mental changes or deficiencies, etc, but what does the sugar load do? I know it must do something, as enough complain of it.

      And oh, I do hope she aims for the latter (less sugar rather than more daily, lol!)! She sounds like one of my daughters! She loves to razz’ me. She loves to walk around and just say “cake” all the time! All the time!

  4. gabriella kadar

    If it makes you feel any better, for a few years I didn’t eat apples because I had braces on my teeth. Then in 2013 we had an early early spring and then a freeze, so there weren’t any apples. The following year, since the developing buds were not damaged through injudicious apple picking the previous year, there was a bumper crop of apples. So I bought bags and bags of different varieties of apples.

    It took a few weeks to put two and two together. I’d get intense waves of nausea a few hours after eating apples. I’d sneeze twice and the nausea would go away. (Gotta love the vagus nerve.) It was getting worse and worse such that one evening I thought I was going to die from the intensity of it. I even retched and then again 2 sneezes: gone. That really motivated me to figure out what on earth I’d been eating over the previous 2 months that I had not been eating before. Yeah, the apples. Seems the force of the sneezing also pushes stomach acid back down into the stomach from the esophagus. And, yeah, it was always two sneezes. By the time I went to the doctor, I’d figured it out but she still stared at me like I had a worm crawling out of the middle of my forehead. There was no recurrence once I’d stopped eating apples.

    Actually, googling this reveals that there are quite a number of people who experience the same thing except they don’t seem to connect the dots as to what they may be eating that causes the problem. Nausea > sneezing > immediate relief from nausea.

    However, ta daaaa: 2016: I bought a bag of apples two weeks ago, ate 2 apples per day until they were all gone and no nausea. So there’s hope.

    I really enjoy eating apples and it was a great disappointment to envision life apple free forever.

    I attribute this improvement to better thyroid levels. I was undertreated back in 2014.

    Now next up are blueberries. They’ve been evil little things. I could eat both apples and blueberries if they would be cooked, but not raw. Cooked blueberries suck.

    1. thehomeschoolingdoctor Post author

      Yep, that gives me good hope (your apple story). I like it. And, totally, cooked blueberries suck. Except I have one recipe where adding a little lemon zest to them really helps them out. But man, good, fresh blueberries, to die for. I hope they come back in your food rotations some day.

      Isn’t that apple response you had fascinating (the nausea/sneezing)? I believe there are so many responses like that out there that people don’t pick up on. We just aren’t taught to investigate our food, especially healthy foods! That’s a big complaint I have, even among “healthy” websites/experts/gurus/etc. They neglect to educate that no matter how healthy vegetables may be (or fruits or meats or nuts or eggs or etc.), if your body doesn’t like them—-you aren’t going to feel good eating how they advocate. So you have to watch out! And, just like you say, the responses can be shifting over time. So I like to reassure people, the diet you need now, it may be temporary in it’s exclusions. So don’t get too comfortable or uncomfortable. Just go with it.

      1. gabriella kadar

        Yes, it took a bit of thinking because the response was not immediate. If I ate two apples around 1 p.m., it took 5 hours later to get the nausea. I honestly don’t know where the masticated apples would have been by then.

      2. thehomeschoolingdoctor Post author

        Five hours. Right. Most people won’t even remember they ate an apple at the five hour mark. (Myself included. ๐Ÿ™‚ ) (Thus, why it’s so important for people with unusual health issues who may be reading to write things down…)

        Apple could have been in mid to distal small intestine at that point with a release of histamine and/or serotonin (or ?) due to some reaction your GI cells sensed there in response to apple, leading to acute nausea.

  5. Athena

    Wow, even the comments are so informative (clicked on the two links)!

    Thanks for this. My husband and two older boys have gone on a health trip (more exercise, less meat, more veggies, less food intake – can’t remember the gal whose YouTube videos he watches but she’s a nutritionist) but it’s been quite difficult for me to change my eating habits when there’s 4 kids to feed and there’s always some kind of snack around. Have you tried seaweed snacks? They’re quite healthy but not filling because they’re so expensive! Anyway, hope you had a happy Thanksgiving!

    1. thehomeschoolingdoctor Post author

      Dear Athena,

      How have you been? Yes! We do like seaweed snacks! Well, some of us. Some of us do not. Wouldn’t it be heavenly if everyone in the whole family really liked the same things!?!

      We did have a good Thanksgiving. A whole houseful, and they’re still here. ๐Ÿ™‚ Glad you liked the links!

      Hope your writing, schooling, and family are well and good!

      1. Athena

        Hi Terri … had to read your About page again. Have you watched Barbara O’Neill on YouTube? She’s the one who educated the hubby about the link between nutrition and good health (since then he’s lost weight btw).

        We’re fine, currently on a break from HSing which I want to extend indefinitely. I’m happy you had a good Thanksgiving! I wrote a thanksgiving post for my HSing blog, here it is .

        And here, just in case you want to read about what we eat, is my food/book blog: Hope your homeschooling won’t be derailed so much by the holidays! Advanced Merry Christmas!

      2. thehomeschoolingdoctor Post author

        I haven’t watched Barbara O’Neill. I’ll have to click over and check her out somewhere. Your meals on your blog look delicious. It IS hard to cook that much, isn’t it?! I’ve found having houseguests is a lot more exhausting than it used to be.

        Your homeschooling post was amazing. So many cool things! When you say you’re taking a break, is that a “scheduled” break, or will you send the kids to a school somewhere? Either way, best wishes!

        Off to Google Barbara O’Neill. ๐Ÿ™‚

      3. Athena

        Thanks! It helped me to see how God provided for us (I usually complain about what we don’t have like clubs for the kids, friends, etc …)

        Oooh, hope you can have a holiday to recover from having houseguests! We won’t be sending the HSed kids to school yet, just taking a breather to catch up on housework ๐Ÿ™‚ Best wishes to you and yours, too!

      4. thehomeschoolingdoctor Post author

        Ahaha! I do need a holiday to catch up now. And time off school to do it, too!

        I’m so happy you feel God provided for your homeschool. It’s dang easy to see what we don’t have. When I pause, I can usually see the abundance. But when I’m in the thick of it, I definitely easily lose sight and feel only inadequacy.

        Blessings and peace on you this day and season.

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