Christmas without Grandma: Eating my Way through Grief

This year was the second Christmas without Grandma. I didn’t fall apart like last year, when we decorated the tree. I didn’t get all sniffly when I prepared the lefse and rommegröt. I didn’t feel particularly glum when I cooked Grandma’s Swedish meatballs.

But I ate. A lot.

Even so, I did not go off the Weight Watchers plan. I just lucked out because I started the program back in October on a Tuesday, so my week ends on Monday night. Christmas Eve was Monday night, and, as always, I had barely eated into my 35 extra points for that week. So enjoying a second helping of meatballs, multiple lefse, and rommegröt, a handful (only one!) of M & Ms and a glass of wine, only put me 18 points down out of my 35. Then the week “ended.”

Christmas Day I got 35 more points. Yippee! I used up 16 of my 35 for the week on Christma Day and night. The day after Christmas there was still lefse calling to me, but I only used 6 of the 35. You see, the feasting was abating. 🙂 Of course, that leaves me little room for New Years Eve (which will fall on the last day of this “week”), but that holiday isn’t very important to me, and I’m not a big drinker, so I think I’ll make it through without going outside my points total.

The last time I did Weight Watchers, I was so “good” during the holidays, only eating minimally of high points foods. And I felt horribly deprived. Ugh. That approach was clearly not sustainable. I’m looking for a different path. Eat basically what I want on select days of the year when food matters to me, and then work doubly hard to lose what I gain right away instead of letting the weight creep up.

Truth be told, I needed to eat through my grief this year. The food of Christmas spells comfort to me, it stirs memories of unconditional love and vast quantities of assurance and hope. I miss Grandma, and eating “her food” with near abandon, helped me to feel her near me again.

What I did do “right” was NOT eat filler stuff that I normally would consume just because it was in front of me. I ate the things I really loved, and I stopped when I was full. But when I got a little hungry again, I ate more of the good stuff instead of counting and waiting and apportioning my pleasure to small doses per day.

Now, one of the down sides to having a week that starts on Tuesday is that my regular Weight Watchers meeting time is on Tuesdays and thus is cancelled for two weeks because of Christmas and New Years. I coud go to some other meeting, but I am pretty busy getting ready for my Peru trip and doing holiday things, and I prefer to stick with the group leader and members I know. So I’ve decided that I’ll go and weigh in, at least, on the day before I leave for Peru, Jan. 3. That way I’ll know how my strategy worked this holiday season, and I’ll also have a way to find out what happens to my weight on the trip. (I’m curious if I’ll lose weight when not trying — merely because of the conditions we’ll be under in rural Peru.) Anyway…

Did eating help me deal with my grief? Yes.

Do I still have a problem with eating? Yes.

Do I need to get back to eating fewer points per day? Yes.

AM I doing that? Yes. Well, after I finish those last four lefse, that is….

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5 Responses

  1. Sounds to me like you managed your grief and the holiday pressure and temptations quite well. Your Grandma must have been a special lady.

    I hope you have a great time in Peru.

  2. Thanks, Pam! Nice of you to say. I feel pretty much fine about how I handled the holidays. It hasn’t been easy, but since when is life supposed to be easy?!

  3. It sounds to me also, that you did quite well. Even if you ate more than last year (or less deprived) it sounds like you were still in control.

    It’s nice that you were so close to your Grandmother and have such wonderful memories. My folks moved us to the west coast from the east coast when I was only 6, so I only knew my Grandmothers threw the telephone and letters. My children only got to meet my father’s mother once before she passed, and never met my mother’s mother at all. Now my mother lives with us, but she’s not the “warm, fuzzy” kind of Grandmother I would like for my kids. It’s a shame. She has nothing but time, yet does nothing with it.

  4. Sorry about the grammatical errors and spelling above. I must have got up too early this AM. LOL

  5. No worries about grammar!

    It is a shame when the grandparents do not choose to be all that they could be to the younger generation. Hard to understand, but clearly some folks just don’t get it. Sad.

    But your children have a loving mother who can develop her own special relationship with them, and that counts for a lot!

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