Before we can actually let ourselves be merry this holiday season, we need to address one of my biggest holiday peeves: body negativity.
Fueled by society, the media, and our perfectionist tendencies, we find ourselves with a lingering sense of guilt during the holidays. We eat more and we work out less. But guess what? We also get to spend time with our loved ones, creating memories that will last longer than your fixation on how many cookies you shoveled into your mouth (I hope it was at least six… before noon.)
Let me be real here. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t anxious at the thought of gaining weight during the holiday season. I hate that possibility. But the worst part is, I’m not even sure whether or not that fear comes from within me, or from my surroundings. If you go to a party, you may hear this: “I’ll have to run five miles tomorrow to burn off all this potato salad!” Or when you make it to the gym and are feeling pretty good about yourself, you overhear, “God I feel so fat, I can’t wait until the holidays are over.” Come on, people! Stop it! We need to realize that talking like this only makes us feel worse.
Instead of perpetuating the cycle of self-hate and body negativity, I propose that we focus on keeping things in perspective. If we approach the holidays in a smart way, long-term weight gain shouldn’t be an issue. Obviously I don’t think people should indulge themselves in cookies and candy every day from Thanksgiving until New Year’s. But I’m also not denying the fact that peanut butter blossoms are going to happen from time to time, and that’s okay.
My suggestions for keeping a level head (and perhaps scale) during the holidays? Arm yourself with knowledge and tips to resist overeating if that’s your weakness. Remember to find time to work out a few times a week, since it helps combat holiday stress as well. And control your portion sizes by having one helping of that food you love the most, not several helpings of those foods you could do without.
Listen, I love kale, quinoa, and beet juice just as much as the next girl. But you know what else I love? Fresh baked cookies, pumpkin pie, and casserole. This holiday season, I am going to allow myself to enjoy my favorite things, including food, family, friends, and everything that makes this season merry and bright. Life’s too short to deny yourself these joys.
By Emily Gasper