The Holiday Dilemma

December 24, 2012 in Uncategorized

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I’ve been thinking lately

How it’s really no surprise

So many people struggle with food

And breaking free of it

Even now I am still realizing

All the ways

Food is deeply embedded into our lives

Our culture

And our traditions


I wonder if there is any other thing

That is so deeply tucked into every area of our lives

As much as food


Our traditions are full of food related activities

Eating together is a social activity

It’s often how we show each other love

We stuff the stockings with treats

We bring food to our friends and neighbors

We leave cookies for Santa


We have Christmas parties where the focus is food

We trade recipes

And pin recipes

And share recipes

We even decorate our tree with strings of popcorn

And candy canes


Growing up as a child

Our Christmas morning tradition

Was cinnamon rolls

For me to have Christmas morning

Without cinnamon rolls



When I smell the cinnamon rolls baking on Christmas morning

Those exact cinnamon rolls

The ones we would only have on Christmas

That exact brand

That smell reminds me of my mother

And now that she’s gone

That is something I cling to


That smell has been associated

With Mom on Christmas morning

And I refuse to give that up

What else do I have left?

I’ve lost her

She’s gone

She’s not here with me on Christmas morning

All I have left is the sweet smell of Cinnamon rolls

Baking in the oven


The taste of them takes me back to being a child

Sitting on the couch in our living room

Leaning on Mom’s shoulder

Eating our cinnamon rolls in the early morning

And peering out into the snow covered yard

Waiting for the others to wake up


Cinnamon rolls on Christmas morning

Lets me know that Mom is still here with me

I need that

Now more than ever


Every year for Christmas

My Nana would buy that box of chocolates

You know the ones

Where there is a different candy in each little box

And you never know what you’re going to get

Until you take a bite


Sometimes you get it wrong

And end up with one filled with jelly

For us that always elicited

An “ewwww”

But that is part of the fun

Passing it around

And seeing who hits the jackpot

And who loses the candy lottery!


This is my first Christmas without Nana

Having just lost her in June

Sometimes I feel I’m on a losing streak

But not just in pounds

I’m tired of losing the people in my life

Who kept me grounded


I can’t imagine a Christmas without that box of candy

Especially now

When I want to keep her memory alive

I want to go into Walgreens and buy that box of candy

Because not having it show up on my doorstep

Not seeing it sitting under the tree

Just makes the empty space all the more pronounced

It makes the fact that she is not with us

Even more apparent


So I have to buy the candy box

I have to buy the cinnamon rolls

That’s just what I need to do

And that’s what I thought last year too


Here is a post I wrote


On this exact day

One year ago

I had lost 100 pounds

But I was still struggling

With much of the same things that I do now


We had cinnamon rolls that morning

I cooked a lot of the same things as I normally would

Honeybaked ham

Because that means Christmas too


I couldn’t eat as much of it of course

But I still indulged

I paid for it later on

When I spent several months trying to fight my way out

Of the sugar cravings

That all of what I had eaten

Created within me once it took hold


But a few months off track was worth it, right?

Because that’s what it means to enjoy the holidays

Indulging in a few of your favorite things

Because if you don’t indulge a little bit

Then you’ll just end up binging on it later



If you deny yourself now

You’ll end up going off the rails next week

Isn’t that what they say?

Because too much sacrifice

Breeds resentment in your heart

That’s what I was told at least


And what would Christmas morning be

Without the stockings filled with candy

It would be wrong of me as a mother

To deny my children that

Even though I’m the one that raids the stockings

Just like I do the Halloween stash

But I have to take the risk

If I don’t

They will just grow up feeling slighted

Their Christmas ruined

From the lack of candy in their stocking


And now I interrupt this post



Because what you have just read above

Is how I feel

How I truly and honestly feel

Deep in the core of my being

But I no longer

Can live by my feelings

Because my feelings lie

They betray me

They lead me to destruction


Because the smell of cinnamon rolls

On Christmas morning

Does NOT mean my mother is with me

It may remind me of her

Because classical conditioning

In the pure psychological sense of the word

Has paired Christmas morning, mom and cinnamon rolls

Together in a neat little bundle

Like a computer file that is pulled up from the recesses of my brain

And switched on to say

“It’s Christmas!! Mom loves you!!”


But what would my Mother have to say about this?

Well I know my Mom

And this is what she would say

She’d say

“I don’t need cinnamon rolls to bring me there.  I’m always there”


My mom’s memory and spirit lives on every day

That I get out of bed and forge a new path

My mother was the one who told me

“Sometimes you have to reinvent yourself”

That’s what she did after her divorce

And she told me

I would have to do the same


My mom’s spirit

Doesn’t live in a batch of cinnamon rolls

Just because my subconscious mind

Tells me she does


My Mom doesn’t live inside dough and sugar

Baked once a year on Christmas morning

My mother’s spirit lives in the FIGHT

Because she was a fighter

She believed in being strong

Being independent

And never falling for the lies of the enemy


My mother wanted me to be free of the dominating effects

That food had over my life

My mother prayed all the time

That I would break free

Do you think for one minute

She would want me to eat the very sugar laden food

That I am addicted to?


If I need the smell of cinnamon on Christmas morning

I can light a candle

I can light TEN CANDLES

That smell like cinnamon

Paula Deen has an entire line of candles

That smell like food

This is another example of how food is embedded

Into every area of our lives

Even our candles must smell like them

If there is any question that food is what draws me in

Just look at the candles that are in my house











I think this makes it clear

That I like the smell of food

Of course I love the taste of it better

But the point is


That’s where my mind goes

Even in the scent of a candle


If smelling these candles

Sent me back into the food

I would stop lighting them

But so far it doesn’t

So light away!!!


I will light cinnamon candles on Christmas morning

To remind me of my Mom

And if that doesn’t do the trick

Then I can do something else


Because I have learned that I can

That I can tough it out

And deal with it

And when I do

I wake up the next day



And the box of candy

That says Nana is here?

It won’t be under my tree either

My Nana is the one

Who paid for my weight loss surgery

Do you think she wants me to play

Russian Roulette with a box of candy?

Is that how I honor the sacrifice she made for me?


And what about denying myself

Will denying myself cookies

And cinnamon rolls

And candy

And honey baked ham

And pumpkin pie

Breed resentment in my heart?

Will it lead to the binge?


If anything

It is the EXACT thing

That keeps me free


Here’s the deal

There are a lot of people in this world

Who can eat what they want in moderation

There are TONS Of people in this world

Who can indulge in one cookie

Or two

Or three even

And then get right back on track after the holidays


There are people in this world

Who are able to do this

There are even people who say that denying themselves

Over the holidays

Actually does make them binge

I think we all have to ask ourselves this question

Which one are you?

Because no two people are made the same

We are all different


For years I wanted to believe

I was one of the lucky ones

The ones that can indulge

Eat in moderation

But I’m not


I wished I could make

“Light” versions of the foods

I crave the most

But for me

They always lead back

To the real thing


Oh how I wish I was one of them

The people who can do these things

Eat this way

Oh how I wish it more than you could ever know

It took  me 40 years to figure out that I’m not

That it is not some skill I can acquire

I insisted I could be like them

I insisted all the way up to 417 pounds

And it almost killed me


But now I know the truth

And it’s like I cracked the code

And now I know

Now we all know

The children know

That for me this is a life or death battle

Made no less dire

By the sweetness of Christmas day

The enemy never takes a vacation


Not for me

If anything he will use this opportunity

To knock me out


My children will wake up to stockings stuffed not with candy

But little toys and trinkets and puzzles and pencils

Some books and a gift card

And probably many things that will make their hearts

Jump with delight


Food will not be the focus of our Christmas

While it is deeply embedded in the traditions of the holidays

We are bucking the system

We are forging a new way of thinking

We are choosing to say

That food no longer will be the center of anything

Relegated to the sidelines from here on out

And if my children one day grow up to resent me for that

Well at least I’ll be alive to know about it

Because I would not have been before


We were invited to have Christmas dinner at a friends house

This means I will not have to cook

I will not have leftovers sitting in the house for days

And for me that is a huge blessing


Ask an alcoholic to be a bartender

And see if that helps keep them on track

I feel that for many of us with food issues

That is exactly what is being done

When we have to entertain during the holidays

What should be a joyous occasion

Can turn fatal for us

As we fall back into our obsessive tendencies

After being surrounded by it for so many weeks on end


This year instead of baking Christmas cookies

We made crafts






Savannah found on Pinterest

An idea for making snow globes

Out of mason jars







So we made crafts


The kids made snowflakes

And put them all over the house



We dressed up the dogs

And they didn’t resist

Too much




We just found other ways

To celebrate Christmas

Without food


Tomorrow will bring Christmas Day

And with it memories of my Mom and Nana

No longer with us

Bittersweet memories

Because not only have I lost

My Mom and my Nana

I’ve lost cinnamon rolls on Christmas morning

I’ve lost cookies

And candy

And green and red foil wrapped Hershey Kisses

Silly as it sounds

I mourn for that too


Oh don’t get me wrong

We will eat

And there will even be things on the table

That are sweet and delicious

That I won’t partake in

But will be available to others


But Christmas means something so much more to me now

Than food and presents

There are new memories to be made

Like this one

Where my son said to me in the grocery store the other day

When he saw some flowers

“Mama, I want to get these for you.  Because I know you miss your cookies.

And you deserve something that makes you happy”

How’s that for AWESOME??


My son at age 8 recognizes that crazy as it sounds

I miss cookies!

And he is helping me find ways

To replace the joy that food used to bring me

With other things

Like flowers


Or more importantly

The simple awareness of the blessings

My children bring to me each and every day!



It means celebrating the birth of a Saviour

Who came into this world

To bring freedom to those who were trapped (Isaiah 61:1)

To save those who could not save themselves


He came to live among us

To experience the ups and downs of life

The joys and losses

And He experienced hunger  (Matthew 4:2)

He knows the pull of it

The temptations

He can sympathize with everything we go through

Because He lived it too (Hebrews 4:15)

And He came here to show us The Way

The Way out of the darkness

And into the Light


Tomorrow I celebrate family

Friends (YOU!!!)

And Freedom!!


Merry Christmas from my family to yours!!






Merry Christmas from Lee (my brother) and Beth ( my new sister!!)

Celebrating their 1st Christmas together as a married couple...YAHOO!!!

My brother who is 250 pounds lighter and also must stay away from cookies!

He gives me strength and reminds me to put what is most important out front!

How cute are they wearing the shirts we got at Disney and their santa hats!



I leave you with a song that touches my heart

And reminds me that Christmas is a time

For a fresh start

So no matter how your holidays end up

Whether you are victorious over a box of chocolates

Or end up headfirst into a big batch of cookies

Know this



I did not get here in a moment

Not even last Christmas did I have this perspective

This journey is a process

Your mind slowly being turned

To a new way of thinking

And even now I know

That tomorrow I could find myself

Right back where I started

If I did not carefully protect myself

Guard myself

Against that slippery slope


No matter what choices YOU make

Even if you feel discouraged

This is the message of Christmas:

Hope is here

So celebrate!



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{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

Lori December 24, 2012 at 6:37 pm

I love the idea of crafts instead of cookies. It is all about the creating anyway.

Merry Christmas!


Holly from 300 Pounds Down December 24, 2012 at 7:24 pm

Great point Lori!! Merry Christmas to you sweet friend!!


julie December 24, 2012 at 6:50 pm

You have NO idea how much I needed to read this……thank you so much. Praise God that He can and will fight this battle for us. Satan has been messing with my brain lately and is just waiting for me to fall. I’m so thankful that God will prevail.

Merry Christmas to you and your beautiful family!!



Holly from 300 Pounds Down December 24, 2012 at 7:24 pm

Thank you Julie!! This really makes me happy to read this. You are right. He will fight the battle for us! It is tough and sometimes seems impossible. But even when we fail, He is there to pick us up and put us back on steady ground!! Merry Christmas to you and your family as well!


Pam December 24, 2012 at 8:10 pm

Holly–Yes, we have given up cookies, cinnamon rolls and all that Christmas candy but OMG– I am still amazed as I know you are, at all I have gained. Like you, I try not to over indulge too much this time of year because it is very difficult for me to get back on track. It just seems like one slip gives me permission to give in to that constant desire to eat eat eat!! So even though I might eat more than normal I try to keep it reined in at all times. My goal over the next two days is just NOT to GAIN!! Merry Christmas to you and your beautiful family.
P.S. I miss my mom and both my Grandmas too and they’ve all been gone a very long time. I don’t think you ever completely get over losing them, but you do remember all the wonderful times you had together and eventually it doesn’t hurt quite so much.


Lynne December 24, 2012 at 9:35 pm

Merry Christmas to you and your beautiful family. Thank you so much for the beautiful message of Hope. Peace – Lynne.


Trish @I_am_Succeeding December 25, 2012 at 1:14 am

I hope you and your family have an amazing day tomorrow!
Trish @I_am_Succeeding recently posted..Angry Orchard Cheddar & Chive Hard Cider BreadMy Profile


joy December 25, 2012 at 3:53 am

It seems we are at the same point of realizing that we cannot have any sweets because it leads down a scary black rabbit hole lol If I cannot stop at one or two then sadly that is a something I cannot have at all. I have been on track for three weeks now and hopefully this will be a lifelong thing. I love the picture of your kids dressed up in the Santa apron’s adorable! Merry Christmas 🙂
joy recently posted..Staying StrongMy Profile


Dagny December 25, 2012 at 5:37 am

More people need to accept this TRUTH!! It’s what I’m all about and why I wrote my book! Some of us have brains that want to think about food all the time, in all things, in anything that happens to us. People like us connect food to everything and that’s one tough connection to break! Fighting it takes the kind of reasoning that you’ve worked through, Holly. Many of us blame so many other things—mostly flaws and weaknesses we believe we possess. But our brains and bodies want FOOD. We fight our own nature, not perceived flaws! Accept that truth and then it becomes clear what you need to do!
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Marjolein December 25, 2012 at 3:48 pm

Good morning! Merry Christmas and thank you. I am encouraged by your writing.


Linda Kuil December 25, 2012 at 4:09 pm

Merry Christmas Holly! God Bless you and your beautiful family!
Linda Kuil recently posted..Merry Christmas!My Profile


Holly December 25, 2012 at 5:43 pm

Holly! Merry Christmas!
Thanks for your inspiring blog! I found it accidentally few weeks ago.
I am a little chubby, not overweight, but struggling with binge eating for many years.
Your thoughts and feeling seconds mine.
I found fasting before Christmas very beneficial, as I can loose a few pounds and then indulge myself with carbs during holidays without feeling guilty.
But getting back to normal regime after, yes yes…. its very hard..
but there is probably time for everything: “fasting”, “feasting” as in Bible: “For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven…A time to cry and a time to laugh. A time to grieve and a time to dance”.


tz December 26, 2012 at 2:48 am

oh I love that snow globe craft and the pic of the kids in their santa aprons in front of the tree…awesome

I’m so with you about feeling that way about food…this is my first Christmas after surgery and I struggled quite a bit! Great post! as always.
tz recently posted..Merry Christmas and stuffMy Profile


Staci December 26, 2012 at 6:42 am

Do you know I used “impending snow” as a reason to leave my Mom and Dad’s one day early??? I woke up to foods cooking in grease and oil. We had lunch foods cooked in grease and oil. No one does a dern thing there except sit in the dark (to save electricity) and watch tv…. IT’S SO BORING! I constantly found myself in the fridge. 🙁 On the way home tonight, with disappointed kids that we had to leave early, I thought things were sad in a couple ways: 1) I have no self control anymore. I just ate and ate those sweets from boredom and stress. 2) My parents have NO CLUE how to eat healthfully in any way, which is why my dad has had 4 open heart surgeries with multiple bypasses. I do binge eat here at home, but not on fried things and tons of fudge and pie and cake and dip and ice cream, etc, etc!!! So glad to be back home! Love your ideas with the stockings and the crafts.
Staci recently posted..Christmas BreakMy Profile


Patrick December 26, 2012 at 3:38 pm

It is beyond me why it is that most aspects of life can be connected to food in someway. But just about everything is. I’ve wondered if it is a socioeconomic dependency that goes far beyond the personally addiction we each have with food. Perhaps, that truth of it all is the very foundation of our society is built upon food. If all the worlds minds & mouths suddenly treated food as a ‘need’ and not a ‘want’, what would happen to the worlds economy? I won’t suggest that it would collapse, but it would certainly fracture and have to to find a new foundation.

Ok, that’s a bit deep of me for a time of year where holiday cheer is still in the air.

Happy Holidays!
Patrick recently posted..Tasty Out, Grateful InMy Profile


Crystal @ Serving Joyfully January 5, 2013 at 3:56 am

This is so true! I, too, am NOT the person who can do things in moderation. My husband can, so he doesn’t understand that I can’t and sometimes leads to enabling, but I can’t make excuses. It has been such a blessing to stumble upon your blog!
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