Eat, Drink, and Be Merry
In a season where everyone is telling us why we need to change our bodies or feel guilty for enjoying ourselves, here are 4 ways to drown out the chatter around you and do you this year.
Today I listened to Mariah Carey's Christmas album 2 times, did a little online shopping for friends' gifts, and saved any (and every) recipe on Pinterest that involved gingerbread or peppermint. It must be the holiday season.
I haven't been pumping out the Self Love content because constantly writing about my body makes me think of exactly that - my body. While I think it's important to talk about anti-diet culture topics, I also think it's important for me to have a body-neutral approach.
Like, oh hey body. I don't have to change you. But I also don't have to always be thinking about how much I love you. You're just there. You're perfect the way you are, and I appreciate you immensely for all you do for me throughout the day.
But on the train the other day, I heard two older women talk for at least 15 minutes about how this is going to be the year they finally lose the 15 pounds. FIfteen minutes. After putting my headphones in halfway through, all I could think about was that these women still felt pressured to change their bodies and the way they look.
I then came across women competing about who had the healthier Thanksgiving ("I ate salad instead of apple pie!"). The ads on social media regarding new years resolutions to lose weight have begun, and blogs written by registered dietitians on ways to keep yourself from gaining the "dreaded weight" of the holiday season are out there (I saw one telling women to "carry a clutch to parties so it's harder to grab a mini quiche." *Eye roll*).
'Tis the season where diet culture thrives.
Diet Chatter: The everyday conversations surrounding diet culture. Conversations around losing weight, what you want to change about your body, what diet you'll start on Monday, why you're not eating certain food groups, and what foods are 'bad.'
Diet Chatter and the Holidays:
It's inevitable that diet culture thrives this time of year. We might still have Halloween candy around, there are leftovers in the fridge from Thanksgiving still, and soon enough, there will be holiday parties full of good food, and delicious cookies. Oh, and hello New Year's resolutions (New Year, New Me, Who dis?).
While programs promising quick results may seem like they're looking out for your overall health and happiness, remember that the weight loss industry is a $64 billion dollar industry. Take a step back and notice how many times throughout the day you hear conversations surrounding diets, body size, and what foods to eat.
What Diet Mentality Looks Like This Time of Year:
- Skipping meals on days you have a holiday party to "save yourself the calories"
- Drudging through exercise you hate to make up for the big dinner you ate at your holiday party
- Starting a diet like Whole 30 for 'wellness' reasons, but it's really about making sure you can fit into that New Year's dress
- A group of people making small talk about how they need to start eating cleaner or they'll gain all this dreaded weight
- Making small talk around what diets they started, or will be starting come January
- Someone, we'll name her Karen, at a party making a comment about how ~bad~ she is for enjoying a festive dessert (no one cares Karen, enjoy that peanut butter cookie with the hershey kiss on top and be done with it)
How to Do You this Season:
So here's the good stuff-
Give Yourself Permission to Enjoy The Season and All it Brings
I know. This probably sounds outrageous given the fact we are constantly told to be "good" this season, to limit the amount of desserts we eat, to make 'skinny' and 'guilt-free' versions of everything, and are expected to join a gym we'll probably never step inside of.
If you're going to a holiday party, enjoy your favorite foods. Have breakfast and lunch that day. This way your body isn't in starvation I'mma-eat-errthang-in-sight mode, and you'll feel less out of control around food.
I've said this a million times, but it's always nice to hear again. The stress we carry around food (eating too much, not eating 'clean,' or missing a workout) will affect us way more than any one of your Grandma's homemade cookies ever will. Especially when you thoroughly enjoy eating that cookie, and do so without guilt.
Enjoy Your People
And no, this isn't a "trick" to help you eat less. When we're constantly thinking about all the foods we can't have, the foods we should stay away from, and how we can eat less at parties, we're taking away from the joy and pure bliss the holiday season brings.
By eliminating restrictions and food rules, you'll have a more neutral relationship with food instead of feeling out of control. All of this energy put into dieting and following plans can be put into time spent with those you love.
Change the Conversation, Put in Headphones, Walk Away
Diet chatter is everywhere. Instead of getting angry, or falling back into that mindset, find ways that work for you to remove yourself from the conversation. You don't have to tell someone why you think they're wrong for saying a brownie will 'ruin everything they've worked so hard for.'
If it's overheard conversations, pop your headphones in or walk away. If it's your best friends, don't add to the conversation, but rather wait for a slight lull and change the topic. If it's someone on social media making you feel guilty about eating certain foods, unfollow them.
Nothing Will Work Without This Simple, But Sometimes Difficult, Step. Love 'Yoself.
Fortunately, we don't live in a bubble. Unfortunately, this means we'll be inundated with diet mentality until something changes. It's ingrained in our society.
The good thing about this is, it can all be drowned out by working on being okay with ourselves, the way we look, our imperfections, and our stories. It's okay to have bad days. Honor them. The more we practice self-love, the less we can be affected by diet culture.