I know it’s been quite a while since I’ve posted. Partly, because business has been good, for which I am extremely grateful (and busy). Partly because I haven’t had anything funny, motivational, or even remotely positive to write. Somehow, I didn’t think it was great advertising for my health-related food business to say, “hey guys, I gained 5 pounds this month eating my own food, wiping out a fifth of my progress this year, how about you?”
I’ve always prided myself on not cheating over the holidays, and this year was no exception. I brought low-carb sides and desserts to every holiday party, even bringing a bunch keto tamales to our Christmas taco party so that I wouldn’t be tempted. I have a knack for gaining weight during times of extreme stress over past years – when I moved from NYC to Texas, when my son nearly drowned in our swimming pool, and during my ugly, drawn-out divorce. So when Covid happened, knowing my habits, I vowed to learn from history and stick strictly to my diet. And by November, I had lost another 25+ pounds! With everything else falling apart, it felt really good to have control over something, and in addition to losing weight I had also gained this new business – an unexpected blessing!
Then, the holidays came. With 8 kids, Christmas is always more military operation than celebration, but this year things were especially challenging for me. My mother-in-law passed away this summer, so it was my husband’s first holiday season without his mom, and instead of making things better for him, I wallowed in the fact that I hadn’t been able to see my own family all year, thanks to the pandemic. I felt guilty about wallowing. I complained about how much money we were spending and how over the top we were doing presents. I felt guilty for being the family Scrooge. Instead of feeling lucky to find two awesome home-based jobs after stepping back from my job as a teacher, I whined about how exhausted I was to be working two jobs while trying to plan family holiday trips, parties and gifts. It was our first Christmas morning with all 8 of our Santa-believing kids here at the same time, and instead of excited I felt completely overwhelmed by the prospect of getting truckloads of presents under the tree, filling stockings, and writing notes from elves and Santa while keeping everyone asleep.
I still didn’t cheat. I didn’t eat any non-keto food, but I taste-tested every last dessert I made for customers – and there were A LOT. I didn’t go over my carb limit for one day, but I drank every 0 carb alcohol there was, from homemade keto eggnog to sugar-free grinch punch (a wonderful invention by my sister-in-law). I didn’t relax or sit around the house, but I gave up my daily workouts to make time for extra shopping, cooking, and wrapping.
And, as one might expect, the weight crept back.
So now I am ending this holiday season five pounds heavier, many dollars poorer, and much less content than I entered it. And it’s really my own fault, because looking back there is nothing I ate, said or did that was worth feeling like this after 11 months of Herculean effort to get myself into better physical, financial, and mental shape, despite a pandemic and all of the life changes that came with it.
I know from talking to many of my customers that I am not the only one struggling with falling off the motivational wagon this Christmas, and can only hope they know how much it means to have met so many like-minded people this year, some whom I am now fortunate to call customers and friends.
My resolutions for 2021 are the same as they often are. Lose weight – it was supposed to be 21 pounds for 2021, which I thought was really catchy, but now it’s more like 26 or 27. Swear less, drink less, complain less. More workouts, more gratitude, more patience, more savings. And, as always, the ketogenic diet is my driving force. When I’m in ketosis, I am accomplishing many of the above goals at once – losing weight, more energy, less anxiety, less drinking.
I didn’t accomplish everything I set out to in 2020, but I didn’t fail. Finding the right food is only part of the equation, so it can only be part of my success. And just like all of my amazing customers who have already planned for their fresh keto start (and chicken soup cleanse) next week, so have I.
So for 2021, it’s the same resolutions, new resolve. New year, new hope.