Over the past several weeks, as I’ve scrolled through various magazines and websites, I noticed some things that were a bit unsettling. We all are aware that the holidays are synonymous with copious amounts of food – particularly comfort foods and foods that are a bit “indulgent.” All of that, I am okay with – more than okay with it (I mean molasses cookies, amiright?). What makes me uneasy is this sense of guilt that is attached to all of these ads and recipes.
Here are some workouts that’ll make you feel better about those Thanksgiving goodies!
Here are some strategies to say no to those holiday treats!
I do not like the fact that we are primed to feel guilty about eating during the holidays. We are taught to brace ourselves to gorge on treats and indulgent foods, and then to carry a sense of sinfulness afterwards. It is so bizarre that our culture completely changes the way we eat for these few months, and then goes into a phase of regrouping and feeling poorly about how we just spent the past few months.
Here’s the thing, the holidays come around once a year. Many of the relatives that we see during this time we see once a year. And yet we take our focus away from spending time with people and enjoying the moments to scrutinizing what we will eat and feeling bad about it. That is just not how it is meant to be. If you take care of your body throughout the whole year, working out regularly and feeding it well, enjoying treats here and there during the holidays should not be a big deal. Your body can handle it. In fact, I think it’s good for you.
That being said, I do think that there is a lot of excess anxiety around this time of year due to this mentality. I think it is hard for anyone, especially someone with a history of disordered eating, to figure out what to do around this time of year in order to feel good. So, here are a few tips that I have thought up that might help ya out:
- Do not preemptively compensate for holiday meals. Many people skip breakfast and lunch in order to “allow” themselves to enjoy Thanksgiving/Christmas/New Year dinner. First of all, from a biological perspective, skipping breakfast and lunch sends your body totally out of wack. Your body needs these meals to keep your metabolism revving. Additionally, you will feel extra ravenous come dinner time, and will be prone to way over-do it, which won’t make you feel good either. Plus, this just puts you in a weird headspace of under/over eating that isn’t healthy. So, eat a normal breakfast, eat a normal lunch, and treat the holiday meals just like you would any other meal. I promise the food will taste just as good.
- Keep to a loose schedule during the holidays. Come November/December/January, many people throw their health routines totally out the window. Sleep, workouts, meal times all become super irregular. Not good. You will feel so much better if you stick to some sort of routine – be it a walk each day, some sort of sweat-sesh, or getting a solid seven each night. Giving your body some sort of stability will help you feel physically and mentally more grounded throughout the holidays that tend to be a bit chaotic.
- Besides the healthy food, allow yourself to enjoy the holiday treats. This stuff is soul food, people. I am a firm believer that we need soul food just as much as we need the nutritional stuff to feel good. So while yes, there should be something green on your plate during meals, there should also be a healthy dose of pie/mashed potatoes/etc. If you are also giving your body what it needs nutritionally, having a few cookies for dessert will be just fine.
- Try to focus more on the company, and less on the calories. Focusing on what’s in the food, how much you should have, etc., will just make you crazy. Trust me, I’ve been there before. Try to be present during meals and engage in conversation. Listen to your body and let it do its thing and tell you when you’re full. Your body has carried you this long, it’s smart – trust it.
So ENJOY, people. Spend time with your loved ones, eat some good food, and try to stay out of this crazy holiday head game.