You’ve probably seen a ton of articles like this lately.
Articles that tell you how to stick to your healthy eating habits during the holiday season. Articles that tell you how to avoid the holiday weight gain. Articles that tell you you have X number of weeks left of 2015 – SO MAKE THEM COUNT!!
But are these articles really promoting a healthy life? What is healthy anyway?
What is and isn’t considered healthy is a very subjective thing. Whole grain bread might be considered healthy for one individual, whereas for someone with celiac, it would definitely NOT be healthy.
Making the choice to stick to your guns and avoid the holiday party food might be a perfectly fine option for one person, but for another with a history of disordered eating habits, that may be all it takes to send them into a spiral of restricting and bingeing.
The beef I have with the majority of these holiday survival articles is that when they talk about “being healthy”, what they’re really referring to is avoiding weight gain.
And sure, holiday weight gain is a very real thing. Some studies say people gain an average of 5-10 pounds between Thanksgiving and New Years, whereas others claim it’s as little as 0-6.7 pounds (very specific, I know).
But what about the rest of us? Our bodies that get neglected as we race around shopping, baking, and partying, all while still handling our regular to-do lists? What about our brains that become so engrossed with finding the perfect gift? With trying to juggle all the responsibilities this time of year tends to bring? With avoiding the holiday weight gain everyone is telling us we need to avoid?
I’m a firm believer that if we take care of our minds and our bodies, our bodies will in turn take care of us.
If we give ourselves permission to say no to that holiday party, or find compassion for ourselves for actually not getting everything on our to-do lists done, or remind ourselves that we are already enough, regardless of what the media tells us, we’ll have less stress contributing to crazy hormones (which lead to weight gain!), and we’ll be able to make more rational decisions that contribute to our overall well-being as opposed to heading straight to the buffet table after a rough week.
If we make a conscious effort to move our bodies – not just exercise, but actually just MOVE throughout the day – our metabolisms will operate at an elevated rate, we won’t feel stiff and sore at the end of the day, and we’ll feel good knowing we did what we could. And hey, if 20-60 minutes make themselves available for a workout, then that’s even better.
Growing up, the holidays were always a stressful time for me because of everything that needed to get done. As I got older , the stress of the Christmas need-to-dos was replaced by the stress of wanting to eat all the holiday goodies in sight and yet feeling guilty when I did and deprived when I said no.
I’ve spent the past two holiday seasons actually not giving a shit, and let me tell you – it’s awesome.
I’m only one human. YOU are only one human. We CANNOT nor should we HAVE to do all the things, attend all the parties, buy all the gifts, and indulge just enough to feel satisfied but not so much that we gain a quarter of a pound.
Life isn’t always balanced – there will be times where we’re able to fit in workouts, eat nutritious meals, go to work, manage the family, and handle all of our other responsibilities with ease. And then there will be other times where we’re on the go all day, only to realize at 6pm that we haven’t had anything to eat yet except coffee.
But understanding that these ebbs and flows of balance and non-balance and doing what we can for ourselves during those times we DO have a little balance is what living a healthy life is all about.
Amidst all these holiday survival tips there are totally some helpful pieces of information. My recommendation? Pick a few tips that work for you and your fabulously unique life and run with them! Focus on taking care of your mind as well as your body and I have no doubt you’ll be running into 2016 feeling effin’ amazing.
Looking for a starting point for finding some BS-free tips that will help you stay healthy for the holidays? Check out the free guide I put together with some of my favourite tips and three quick & dirty workouts you can fit in your busy day! Just click the image below and it’s yours 🙂Tips to help you stay healthy this holiday season with a bonus free guide! via @arianafotinakis #healthyholidays Click To Tweet