This time of year I have lots of days off and lots of social eating occasions. I was thinking today how nice it is to just enjoy myself with no food or weight concerns. My rules and fears always caused me so much conflict anytime I was out of my normal routine. Now, my normal routine is to eat what I want when I'm hungry. That translates well into any situation, unlike my vegan, paleo, bodybuilding, clean eating, nutrition software phases, which were always a logistical nightmare. So, then there was a debate between staying "on plan" or going "off the wagon" and starting over at some future date. I'd feel more in control if I was a restrictive lunatic, so that held some appeal, but I'd get to eat all the fun food right now if I "cheated" so that was appealing too. I really thought those were my choices! NOT being a stressed out, all-or-nothing whackball never even occurred to me.
Will I gain weight during this time of festivities? Maybe, but it's never much and I don't care. There are times when I naturally, happily eat less and get a bit leaner. The holidays are not one of those. This time of year I stay the same or visit the higher end of my normal maintenance range. When I have less time off and don't eat out as much, I'll effortlessly drop back down. I don't need to take any specific action either way. The more relaxed I am about my eating, the more I enjoy myself and the better the outcome. Restriction creates backlash. Overindulgence does too in a way, because it makes restriction more tempting. I've talked before about the pendulum of restriction and overindulgence. Pulling it back too hard in either direction creates a big swing that's hard to stop. So, my approach with the holidays (and always) is to aim for the middle way, keeping the pendulum hanging harmlessly around the center. Overeating sucks. So does going hungry and missing out. The center is all about peace and satisfaction.