Do you want sculpted abs and firm thighs, but while enjoying this season’s finest holiday cookies, candy, and pie?
Hahahahaha! You’re so cute…
Let’s be real. It is impossible to indulge ’til your soul is content while maintaining your current physique. It is even more impossible to lose weight during the holiday season when you know full well that you are going to have one-too-many cookies at one-too-many holiday parties.
However, it is possible to discipline yourself so that you don’t get too far off track while enjoying the deliciousness of the holiday season.
It all comes down to priorities.
What matters most during the holidays?
No matter where you live, the holidays are all about family, friends, love, sharing joy, and laughter.
Of course, the holidays can be stressful, materialistic, expensive, way too busy, and an excuse to relax your health standards. But they don’t have to be.
If we keep our focus on the people we love and the spirit of the holidays, then the carols of materialism, narcissism, and perfectionism become muted and we find ourselves living more in the present moment than in the future or the past.
Specifically, this means that weight gain and weight loss become insignificant factors of our holiday enjoyment and are not included in the evaluation of our overall experience.
The role of food and drink during the holidays
We humans use food and drink for social bonding, especially during celebrations.
Think about this for a minute. We got birthday cakes, graduation cookouts, Fourth of July barbecues, wedding rehearsal dinners, Thanksgiving feasts, work happy hours, lunch meetings, retirement dinners, Mother’s Day brunch…
Every major holiday involves food and drink. Every personal holiday, like a birthday, anniversary, or promotion, involves food and drink. Every personal holiday for someone you know, like your best friend’s bachelorette party, your dad’s birthday, or even your grandparent’s funeral, involves food and drink.
Food and drink isn’t just about nourishing our bodies, it’s also about nurturing our relationships.
Skimping on a holiday meal because you’re trying to “cut carbs” or rejecting all cookies and pie to salvage your waistline somewhat creates controversy and can separate you from everyone else. Essentially, not fully partaking in the eating and drinking portion of the holidays means not fully partaking in the holidays in general.
That’s just the way the cookie crumbles.
But maybe we can alter our thinking slightly.
Let’s change our perception of food and drink this holiday season
Food and drink should certainly be a component to our celebration, if anything just for the comfort of tradition, but it should not be the focus.
Let’s instead regain focus on the things that really matter, such as catching up with old friends, maybe throwing a past-due apology or two around, laughing and sharing stories of our lives, and comforting those who are without the people they love.
This season, let’s definitely bake and cook and share the deliciousness with our loved ones, but instead of having seconds, let’s just really enjoy our firsts. Let’s sip slowly, chew purposefully, smell each bite before it enters our mouth, and take the food in entirely in every possible way. Let’s also do that with the people we share our meal with.
We live in a society of excess and impossible perfectionism. This holiday season, instead of focusing on ourselves and our waistlines, let’s just focus on love and giving and being in the present moment. Really taking it all in. Extracting every morsel of goodness from our experience.
Life is so savory and sweet. Our experiences can feed us more than food ever can.
Our philosophy on food doesn’t have to change just because it’s a holiday
Normally throughout the year, I encourage others to reduce their consumption – including food consumption.
If you read the article, Practical Ways To Save The World: How To Make A Difference Every Day, the first item on the list suggests that we eat less in order to reduce our overall impact on the world. Eating less consumes less energy resources and provides more food for others who need it.
If the holidays are a time for giving and sharing, why would we be so greedy and overload our plates and cups? Why not continue the philosophy that eating less is a good thing for us, other people, and the environment?
Why let the holidays dictate our philosophies instead of letting our philosophies dictate the holidays?
Also, the holidays aren’t necessarily a time for us to “cheat.” Maybe a little, but if we’ve been working hard to maintain healthy bodies, why negate all that effort by overindulging in foods we otherwise don’t prioritize?
The holidays are not a time for vegans to sneak some meat, for non-drinkers to sip cocktails, or for diabetics to revel in a slice of pecan pie.
Instead of using the holidays as an excuse to indulge in what we feel we are without, let’s use the holidays to remember how much we actually have and be grateful for the lives we lead and the decisions we are able to make for ourselves.
And when in doubt, work out
If you’re not buying into all this mushy-gushy love stuff for this holiday season, okay fine. Of course, there is an alternative: get yo’ sweat on.
If you’re sitting there saying, “Screw that savor-the-moment nonsense, I’m gonna have me a holiday feast!” then make sure you hit the gym.
Even if you’re on board for eating more conservatively this season, regular workouts are the best gift you can give yourself this year.
Moving your body, keeping that blood flowing, and sweating out all the sugar and salt will help prevent unwanted weight gain and also dissuade you from going overboard.
Please, please, please don’t abuse your body this season. Your body is a wonderful machine that can support your life for many, many holidays to come if you take good care of it.
Don’t try to fill a void with food. Don’t give into the commercialism. Don’t replace the lifestyle you truly want with bad habits.
Instead, taste the richness of your relationships. Indulge in other senses and feelings. Allow the spirit of the holiday season to fill you up with so much love and gratitude that you hardly have room for anything else.