For most people out there, the holidays are filled with stress. Stress around finding the perfect present, stress around spending time with family, mall stress, traffic stress, travel stress, money stress, and even stress around eating. It’s a stressful time, especially if we embrace the stress too much. But the holidays don’t need to be yet another time we stress out. We have enough to worry about in our daily lives, why stress out about eating some holiday cookies or pie?
Let’s get one thing straight – if you are like most human beings on this planet, your weight will go up and down. That’s normal. We have been taught that it’s not normal every time we look at Kendall Jenner or Gigi Hadid or see a weight loss ad on tv. But weight change is normal. No, drastic weight change is not something that we should be experiencing on a yearly basis, but a few pounds here or there is quite normal. You know why? Because you’re enjoying life! You’re going on vacation, you’re visiting grandma, you’re going to your favorite restaurant back at home with your family – you’re doing things that bring you joy and sometimes those things include some changes to your weight.
For me, the holidays used to STRESS ME OUT mostly because I felt like I wouldn’t be able to stick with my eating habits and it would lead me in a downward spiral. But as I’ve aged and seen my body change 20x in between, I now understand that a few pounds is worth the enjoyment because I’ll be back to my routine in no time. But missing out on experiences just because I want to be in control isn’t going to get me anywhere. And life is too damn short to miss those special inbetween moments.
So before I get into some tips and tricks for feeling your best this holiday season – remember that the holidays are a very short span in time. It’s less than two months out of the year. And if you’re working hard the other 10 months, eating meals filled with tons of veggies and healthy fats, and sticking to a regular fitness routines – 2 months really isn’t that big of a deal. Continue on that path throughout those two months, go drink some champagne, go eat a giant piece of cake, and remind yourself that life to too short to not taste the chocolate frosting.
Now let’s get into a couple strategies to get you through the holidays –
- Stop stressing so damn much – You know what stress does? It elevates your cortisol, which can lead to weight gain. So when you decide to get super stressed about a holiday party and the food you will have in front of you; before you’ve even tasted the food, you’ve already done your body a disservice by increasing your cortisol levels. That’s right – you haven’t even eaten the food, yet your body is already reacting to the stress of it. Calm TF down. Food was made for enjoyment and you should do exactly that.
- Eat the food – Holidays are jam-packed with food we don’t normally eat (hopefully) and that food gives us all the feels. Maybe that’s your grandma’s cookies or your mom’s apple pie or your sister’s mashed potatoes – whatever those foods are, EAT THEM!! If they make you feel like dog dick, maybe pass. But a slice of apple pie or a couple cookies isn’t going to kill you or ruin all your hard work throughout the year. Spend most of your day eating like you normal do (lots of veggies, clean fats, and healthy sources of protein) then enjoy something you don’t get to eat on a regular basis. Eat then damn food so the thought of eating the food doesn’t eat you alive. You feel me?
- Set boundaries with family members – This can be tough. Really tough. If you have recently decided to change your diet because you want to live a better life filled with less aches and pains along with happier days – your family should support that. If they don’t, it’s coming from a place of insecurity or just lack of knowledge. Explain to your family why you made a change in your life, how it’s improved your life, and why you want to continue on that path. If they don’t want to listen or understand, that’s their loss. Believe me, I have plenty of family members who don’t understand the way I eat nor do they want to, but that hasn’t changed the way I live my life. Family members shouldn’t ruin things for you, they should support your positive life choices.
- Lie – If you have a family member who is a major pusher and continues to push something on you that you know you don’t want to eat – lie to them. You’re an adult, you can lie all you want. Here’s an example – your aunt made stuffing that you used to always eat growing up. Now you no longer eat grains because they hurt your stomach or cause you to have achy joints. Now when your aunt passes you the stuffing and you pass it along to the next family member and she immediately stares at you and asks why you’re not eating it, tell her a little white lie – it makes you sh*t your pants or it makes you break out in hives or it makes your mouth swell or it makes your skin itchy. Explain to her that you recently got diagnosed with a gluten allergy and it’s been tough to cut those things out, but you also feel so much better since. If your aunt continues to push the stuffing on you after all that, just sh*t your pants to prove a point. Simple. Lies and poop always shut people up. But in all seriousness, a little white lie to get someone off your back who doesn’t want to listen to the truth, is always helpful.
- Embrace a couple pounds – With each passing year, I understand that my weight will continue to change throughout my life. Each year I probably fluctuate 10 pounds. That’s life. And life is just as beautiful no matter what my weight was in that moment. Yes, you will probably gain some weight around the holidays and THAT’S OK. Embrace it. Because you have another 10 months to work hard in the gym, eat healthy day in and day out, all while getting excited for the next holiday season bake off at your work. Life is too damn short to worry about a couple pounds.
Of course there are always strategies like eating before you get to a party or loading up your plate with veggies first or only eating the cookies that are your absolute favorite, but those tips and tricks are a little boring. You are an adult who is in control of their choices. You can choose to be happy and enjoy those special moments or you can choose to stress out and worry about how many calories are in hot chocolate. You get to choose. For me, this will be my first year of choosing to enjoy the holidays. And I cannot f*cking wait!