Let Yourself Have Happier Holidays

Here we are! Smack in the middle of the holiday season standing directly in between the two biggest food indulgent holidays: Thanksgiving and Christmas. This span of time each year has always stood as a giant roadblock in my journey to becoming a healthier, happier individual. It's during the holiday season when I find it much harder to stay on track and maintain a healthy, logical mindset. The overindulgent nature that the holidays are branded by can be extremely overwhelming for anyone! It can be even more difficult to navigate gracefully for those of us who have previously struggled with food or are currently struggling with food in our daily lives. 

Now, there is no how-to or step-by-step guide I can whip up that guarantees a pain-free holiday season where you don’t regret a single Christmas cookie or forkful of pasta. However, I can offer insight into what is more important: perspectives that will ultimately lead you to develop a more balanced, rational way of thinking in regards to your body, food and what a satisfying life consists of. I hope reading this article will yield the realization that food is merely a small fraction of what the holidays entail, and that food is not at all what the holidays are about. In this case, there are two things I urge anyone who struggles with food and body image during this time of year to remember.

 

1. Food is temporary.

You heard me! Food is temporary. If you take a step back and think about it, that bellyache from having had eyes a little larger than your stomach will shortly subside. Yes, at that moment it may feel like eating THAT much is a huge deal because your bloated stomach won’t let you forget you are too full. That feeling will pass. Do not dwell on that feeling. What do I mean by this? Come morning, you will be FINE. You will be OKAY.  You will be able to wake up and begin a new day eating foods that you feel comfortable eating. You know what is not temporary? The memories and conversations you make while talking over that second plate of food with family and friends. The memories you can only create and value by being completely present in them. You only have X amount of holiday gatherings and meals within your lifetime. Trust me, they are all worth enjoying as an opportunity to bond with the most loved people in your life. The dinner table is merely the setting that you may do this over, and the food is nothing but the added tasty bonus that got you all sitting around that table.

 

2. Food is not that powerful.

Secondly, food is not that powerful. Don’t get me wrong! Food has the ability to give us strength and fuel our bodies, but food from one singular meal does not have the power to change our appearance overnight. Any of us who have worked to get in shape in a healthy way know this. It takes a lot of time and consistency to see gradual changes to our bodies. Emphasis on gradual. Our bodies do not have the ability to radically transform in response to eating a few certain foods during one sitting. We are not Popeye! To become fit, one has to make eating clean and exercising a lifestyle. Dictionary.com defines lifestyle as, "a way in which someone lives out his or her daily life." On the latter, one will visibly gain weight only when they consistently choose unhealthy foods and do not make time to exercise. So, what does that make your annual holiday meals? It makes them nothing more than what they are. A one-time meal that will not leave any visible trace on your body. Breathe! Ground your anxieties with logical reality and you will allow yourself to have even happier holidays.

Best wishes! 

Kaelen 

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