by PATRICIA MILLER
Oh yes, it’s February once again , which means the stores are filled with the word “love” and balloon hearts, candy hearts, and lots and lots of opportunities for over-indulging on food .
Emotional highs and lows, pity parties and depressed feelings that trigger addictive behavior. It’s more dangerous for some of us than others— depending on our state of health. It’s never a good thing for anyone to over-indulge in treats or self loathing.
This particular holiday— because it encompasses so much emotional baggage— makes it even harder to turn away from those glistening red hearts of chocolates and the prepackaged specialty candies. It’s our vice and it seems everyone young old and in between are celebrating some form of Love with some form of decadent treat.
What I’ve learned over the last eight years with my new relationship to food and calories is , it’s not the last time you’ll ever have an opportunity to eat a piece of chocolate or have a cupcake or buy a pastry. It’s okay to say no .It might be the first time however you learn to say I love you to yourself. And it starts with saying “no thank you” to those indulgences.
What does it mean to care about yourself more than an Indulgence? Often times, we think of caring for someone else as our top priority. But I say on Valentine’s Day, make it about you as well. Don’t just make it all about loving others. If you don’t have a significant other, don’t get depressed and wallow in what you don’t have. Turn to yourself and say “You. I love you and choose you. I’m going to take care of you. I’m going to feed you with the fuel and a healthiness that we deserve.”
That doesn’t mean that you can’t have one small special treat but don’t over indulge. Stay out of the pity party because what you’re telling your health is you’re not more important then that candy or that treat or that cupcake.
Your telling yourself, you would rather have all the unhealthy indulgences because all that matters is that one moment and not long-term health. You’re telling yourself , “I’m not worthy of feeling good and being healthy.”
You have struggled for health and are trying to hold on the best you can, so make Feb. 14 the day that you tell yourself you’re worth it. Make healthy choices. Have it be the start to get back on track or to start a new eating plan.
It doesn’t always have to be about food. That’s our biggest challenge to change in our minds.
The pomp and circumstances of most holidays revolve around food. Change that narrative. Change your story.
If it’s a holiday to say I love you, make it a holiday that takes you outside on a new adventure. Go for a walk in a new place. Go sit in a bookstore and read a book you’ve always wanted to read. Go to a place that’s always intrigued you but you’ve never been brave enough to visit. Whatever it is, do something just for you. A physical act that shows your inner self that you are worth it and you can do it. It’s okay of course to bring the one you love along but make sure that on Feb. 14 when you’re telling yourself you’re worth it, I care about you, that you’re listening .You’re not doing it with food .You’re not feeling as though you’re missing out just because you’re not eating a four-course meal in a fancy restaurant and having a rich decadent dessert.
Feel good about the new start, the Fresh Start, the continuing path on a healthy track. Make Feb. 14 a different kind of day about love.
Make it an annual date. When you spend the day, even if just for an hour, telling yourself how proud you are of your accomplishments, and eat something tasty and healthy. Remind yourself that it might not be wrapped in red cellophane, but a healthy colorful meal is beautiful. And remember, so are you.
Happy Valentine’s Day.
Patricia Miller is a weight loss surgery patient advocate and volunteer.