For some people, the holidays are a great time to catch up with family members, friends, and loved ones they don’t see often. For others, it’s a time they dread. They just sit and think about all the times they have been judged, questioned, and just felt genuinely uncomfortable. I want to talk about body positivity during the holidays and New Years and how to continue being positive and happy with yourself.
I have been very lucky to have such a supporting, positive family but I know that there are countless women and men who don’t have this with theirs.
“Life is way too short to spend another day at war with yourself.”
Dealing With Judgmental Family
This one is tough for a lot of people. It can be difficult to confront a family member without it turning into an episode of Jerry Springer where everyone is yelling and pointing fingers. Sometimes you feel it’s better to just stay quiet and ignore their comments even though it’s affecting your mood. I’m here to tell you that you don’t have to be quiet even if it’s a family member.
Comment On Anything Other Than Looks
Sometimes it’s a natural reaction for your aunt to say to your cousin “Well, aren’t you looking pretty now?!” however it’s definitely not the best thing to say. It’s obviously harmless, but it can affect your cousin to think she wasn’t pretty before. She’ll start to believe she has to meet this expectation of pretty to constantly feel validated by family members. The best thing to do is comment on other things such as someone’s happiness, their achievements, any goals they’ve made, or hobbies they’ve picked up. Show others that their appearance doesn’t matter, it’s the rest that you care about.
Don’t Let Anyone Make You Feel Inferior
If you have a family member that is constantly putting you down or judging everything you do, you need to confront them. Never let anyone make you feel inferior without your consent. Something as simple as “How about we talk about something more important than my weight, like how I just ran my first half marathon this year?” This should immediately switch the attention to something else. However, if they persist, then you need to be more forward and explain how this person is making you feel and that they need to stop. Being related does not allow someone to say whatever they want to that person.
Guilt Of Overeating
This is one that I see ALL YEAR LONG, mostly with women but I have seen it increasingly with men. “I am so bad for eating this!” “Ugh this is so bad, but so good!” “I really shouldn’t! Maybe half! Would you split it with me?” You are NOT bad for eating cake. I repeat:
YOU ARE NOT BAD FOR EATING CAKE.
If you want to eat a piece of cake because it will be good for your soul, then eat yourself a piece of cake! If you want another little scoop of ice cream, then do it. No, I’m not “promoting obesity”. I am not saying you should eat 6 slices of cake every single day because it will be good for your soul. What I am saying is, don’t allow yourself or society make you feel like you are the worst human being alive because you added an extra dollop of whipped cream on top of your pumpkin pie. You’re not.
You don’t need an excuse to indulge. If you maintain an active, healthy lifestyle, you should never feel guilty for indulging. With that being said, do NOT use exercise as punishment for what you ate.
Working Out With A Negative Mindset
“I’ll eat this, but only because I’m going to run 10 miles later!” “I run so I can eat cupcakes!” “Ugh I ate so much, I’m going to have to workout twice a day this week to burn this off!”
Just stop. Stop using exercise as punishment. You are convincing your mind that doing anything remotely close to active is a modern torturing method used by fitness professionals to watch you struggle. It’s not. Exercising is a necessity to live a healthy, positive life both physically AND mentally. Take it from someone who suffers from anxiety and for many years used running as a therapy.
I used to work out because I felt I had to or else I’d get fat or be lazy and worthless. I thought I had to run 5-10 miles a day to be skinny and then everyone will like me. “Just two more pounds.”, I’d say. Two more pounds will never come. Trust me. You will lose two pounds and realize you’re still not happy, so you’ll add another two pounds and create this self-destructive cycle.
Now, I workout to feel happy. I workout to get stronger. Sometimes, I’ll lift weights. Other times, I’ll do a long session of yoga and feel an amazing stretch in my body. I spend time thinking about how much I care about my body and my health and it makes me feel good. I stopped weighing myself, and I think you should too.
“Weight does not equal worth.”
Goals For The New Years
This is the most important one that I really wanted to discuss. New Years Resolutions. Have you written yours yet? If you have, go ahead and look at them. If you haven’t, think about them or get yourself a bullet journal, seriously they are amazing and I really recommend one. When you look at your list, is one of your new years resolutions to “lose weight” or “drop 20 pounds” or “revenge body”? Then go ahead and rip that thought up to shreds. This is the time of year where the media likes to shove it in your face that anything you have done for this year wasn’t worth anything and you’re just a big ol’ blob that needs a gym membership RIGHT NOW for only $200.
I’m here to tell you that you don’t need a membership at the gym for $200 because you’re a big ol’ blob. Here are some reasons you may want/need a gym membership:
- You’d like to take up running, but it’s just too cold outside where you live and thought a treadmill would be a safer option.
- The next Spartan race is coming up and you signed up because it’s been on your bucket list for three years and you are determined to fulfill it!
- You have been injured for a while, but you’re finally feeling better and you know you’d benefit from keeping your body moving and staying strong to prevent future injury.
- The gym near you have a really fun hip-hop dance class you have been wanting to try and you’d love to meet new people who share a similar interest.
None of these involve losing weight. Losing weight may occur, but it wasn’t your goal. Your goal was to be happy and do something you’d love.
Instead of having resolutions to lose weight or eat less, why not focus on more important things?
- I’d love to take a walk every day around my neighborhood and appreciate where I live.
- Start hiking every trail in the area with the prettiest views.
- Challenge a friend to run a 5k race with me- better start training!
- Practice 30 minutes of yoga every day and focus on my breathing.
Aren’t these better? Don’t these make you feel like you’re not trapped in this prison of body obsession? No more diets or cleanses. Stop with the low carb diets, the high fat diets, the keto diets, the paleo diets, the whole 30 diet. Just stop. No more running to be skinny. Stop skipping meals. Enough with fasting.
If you are eating a healthy, whole food (preferably plant-based) diet, and remaining active for your enjoyment NOT your punishment, then you’re living a fantastic life. Your body will thank you, and if you were overweight from overeating and all of these diets, I promise you your body will change without you even thinking about it. You will see yourself feel better and get better. You do not need to obsess. Just live your life and be happy as much as you can.
Life is too short to be worried about how much you weigh on the scale. What do you guys think? What are some of your tips to remaining body positive during this time? Let me know!
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