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Someday is not a day of the week

I spent part of this holiday weekend watching “old” movies: A Fish Called Wanda with my son, who appreciates 1) anything with the word “fish” in it, 2) Monty Python, and 3) goofy humor; and When Harry Met Sally with my daughter, who loves a good romcom.

I’d forgotten how absolutely splendid Kevin Kline is—I know I’ve mentioned before that he stole my heart when I was in middle school and saw him on Broadway in Pirates of Penzance. (Hey! Pssst! There’s the answer to where that line comes from.) And I’d also forgotten how young all those actors were at one time….

It’s great (and a bit odd) to be at an age where they are at an age to appreciate more adult humor and situations, especially since they’ve heard a lot of quotes from these movies from me over the years. I’ve even quoted the immortal “I’ll have what she’s having” line on my blog in reference to health coaching before.

The good news: perhaps in response to Sally’s situation—Sunday has been added to the lineup of day-of-the-week underwear by some manufacturers. (Yes, I Googled it.)

some day, someday

Now that we’ve taken that little stroll down amnesia lane, let’s get to what all that has to do with health coaching.

Not much except that the discussion of day-of-the-week underwear reminded me of the line “Someday is not a day of the week.”

Of course, then I had to Google what the difference is between “someday” and “some day.” Because language.

And so, in the wake of Thanksgiving and all its delightful decadence, I offer you the following:

  • Someday, I’ll start exercising and eating right. (unspecified time in the future)
  • Some day, I’ll start exercising and eating right. (unspecified but specific time in the future)

Neither of which will help you shift your food and lifestyle choices, especially given that Thanksgiving now lies near the beginning of a long holiday season—”near” and not “at” as it has been supplanted by Halloween as the start of the season. I’m thinking soon Labor Day will be the start, then Independence Day….

What if we viewed holidays just that way, though—as days and not seasons? Or even (gasp) a day like any other—maybe minus work for the lucky ones.

I’m not a proponent of total abstinence from pleasure—while some people are able to quit cold turkey, for many of us, that approach often leads to a big crash and binge scenario that’s hard to climb out of and comes with a lot of self-judgment, and how useful is that?

Instead, as I mentioned in an article on SparkPeople, I encourage you to see our many feast days as regular days:

Like any other day, you will be faced with choices at every turn: to eat breakfast or not, to work out or not, to cook from scratch or cook using processed foods, to eat or order out, and to drink or not to drink.

And on a holiday, you may make some choices you wouldn’t make on a regular day—you might not work out, you might have dessert, you might have that extra glass of wine.

The important point is that you are making a conscious choice, you are not being dragged along by tradition, by peer pressure, by the wagon you fell off.

Which means you just might make the better choice.

wagons and horses

(Why do we “fall off the wagon” and “get back on the horse?” Sorry, this blog should come with warning signs: “Frequent detours ahead.”)

What I’m saying is that if you celebrate the holidays with some choices you wouldn’t usually make, then do it! Do it wholeheartedly and with joy.

As Geneen Roth writes about owning your choices with regard to food, “When you eat at the refrigerator, pull up a chair.”

Then get back on the horse.

If you are struggling with your weight and/or your health, it’s not the one day of celebration that got you to where you are now—it’s acting (and eating, and not moving, and not shifting other areas of your life) as though every day is a holiday.

make the connection

Many of my clients tend to view the holiday season (Halloween through New Year) as one long slog through temptation unavoided and the subsequent self-recrimination. That’s one sixth of a year to spend wallowing in self-judgment.

And I’m always asking clients to look at themselves with curiosity instead of judgment.

A few gold star clients make their greatest strides during this time: they may not lose weight, they may not run (or even walk) a 5K, they may not change careers or develop a spiritual practice or heal a relationship—and they make the biggest mindset shifts that make these goals possible the rest of the year.

If you read last year’s post about the holidays, you’ll see that I view this season of the year as the perfect time to reclaim our health: food-centric celebrations can bring into sharp focus how our relationships with food (secondary and primary) developed, and awareness is always the first step on the thousand-mile journey to making changes.

Leave me a comment and let me know what you’ve learned by getting curious (rather than judgmental) about your behavior during the holidays.

Comments

  1. Audrey Acton

    Love this! Choices have changed, no seconds and one appetizer. Full, not over full, and leftovers for days. And I gave away soooo much.

    1. Elizabeth Baker

      Ooo. Me, too. My daughter laughed at me and said, if I’m not overfull, I haven’t experienced Thanksgiving…. I beg to differ.

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