Coping with Body Image During the Holidays
Holidays are a time of joy, feasting and celebrating. It’s supposed to be the best time of the year but the reality for a lot of people is that it really isn’t. Maybe it’s a season of family members seeing you in however long they haven’t seen you for and them commenting on your body. Maybe for you it’s a time where sweets are everywhere and guilt may be at an all-time high.
The holidays can leave someone feeling suffocated and trapped in a constant reminder of their body and what it looks like. It truly puts a major damper on the whole “festive vibe” everyone should be having. If you’re one of those people who struggles with their body image throughout the year and then really badly during holidays, you’re definitely not alone.
I wish I could personally give each and every one of you a hug and a personal pep talk, but alas, I cannot so I’m going to do my best here today on Healthy is Hot.
If a family member (or members) decide to bring up your body image, politely decline the conversation and turn the conversation into something about them. I’ve honestly lost all f**ks to be given about what another family member has to say about me that I just say now, “Oh that isn’t important. But please, tell me, what have you been up to this year? Do anything interesting that you’re proud of?” If they have nothing to say, perfect. Head on over to another part of the room where you’ll be able to converse with others about interesting topics. You do not have to endure chats about whether you put on weight or lost it and discuss what you’re going to do about it. It’s just not the time or anyone else’s business but your own!
Remind yourself that enjoying a few different nights of any food available will not ruin any progress you’ve been working on and that you’re allowed to enjoy foods guilt free. Seriously, I mean it. Eating that slice of pie (or 2) won’t make you gain 10 pounds. Eating a few cookies won’t do that either. Eating special dishes this holiday season will not ruin you or your progress. I absolutely promise you that. You’re going to be as beautiful the next morning as you were the night before.
“But Cat, I always wake up 5 pounds heavier the next day”. That’s just water retention from not drinking enough water. Your body holds onto water the more dehydrated it is from sodium, sugars, and/or alcohol. Hydrate, hydrate and hydrate the following day. You’ll be okay!
And please please please, don’t beat yourself up at the gym after enjoying lovely festive foods! You do not need to punish yourself for enjoying food and you don’t need to “earn” it either. This one is a really hard one for me to grasp sometimes but I’m getting better at it. I’m not perfect, not at all. I don’t expect any of us to be. But it is so crucial for us to remember that we don’t need to punish ourselves to “earn” the “right” to eat holiday food. Instead, get your sweat on because you love your body, that it keeps you alive each day and you want to treat it to some physical activity that it enjoys like weight lifting, yoga, Pilates or cardio. Do what nourishes your body’s soul instead of punishing yourself for having a good time.
Holidays come around once a year and enjoying a lot of the foods we get around these holidays are things we don’t eat on the daily. Enjoy your family. Enjoy your friends. Enjoy your foods and drinks. Make new memories, remember old memories. Create new traditions. These are the things you and others will remember for years to come. The number on the scale? No one will remember that because it isn’t the focal point of the holidays and you shouldn’t put all that stress and pressure on yourself, love!
You’re allowed to put a few limits on yourself so you don’t over-do it on sweets and feel sick the next day, definitely. If that’s what makes you feel better, go for it. But please don’t beat yourself up for enjoying anything that you do at any gathering you attend. Enjoy the people, enjoy the foods, enjoy the music and enjoy yourself!
Hang in there and reach out to loved ones who understand your struggles. You don’t have to deal with your body image anxieties alone because you’re not the only one who will be struggling this season. Do your best to make this year a great one for you. Wishing you all an amazing and happy holiday and I hope it is filled with love and beautiful memories!