If you know me at all, you’ll be aware that I love Christmas. Family time, decorations and of course, all the yummy food on offer! So for people who struggle with body image, it can be quite a stressful time. When I was in the midst of anorexia I remember leaving half my delicious Christmas dinner because I was totally terrified of it, of the thought of gaining weight over the Christmas period.
Having finally learned how to truly love myself no matter what I look like, I’m happy to say that this year I will be embracing the festive treats, and strictly banishing any indulgence-related guilt should it happen to arise! So this post will hopefully help you empower yourself to say a big fat NO to everyone out there who’s advertising how to “avoid Christmas weight gain” and “banish the blubber” come January.
Let me just start with the fact that I’m a massive advocate of ditching the scales, and I strongly suggest you do the same! So I don’t know how much weight I may or may not gain over the season, but I’m taking into consideration those who may still weigh themselves.
Think of it like a vacation, but one that everyone gets to go on with you and you’re all really happy and there’s even presents involved.
The festive period can last anything from a day or two to the whole month of December (and half of January if you get as much chocolate as I normally do!), but let’s face it: all in all it’s not actually that much of the year. Let’s say it’s on average around 2 weeks, that’s less than 4% of the entire year. So it’s like going on holiday really isn’t it? And in the same way you’d enjoy experiencing all the food from another culture while you’re on holiday, you can enjoy all the mince pies and mulled wine over Christmas! Realistically, overindulging on these days, or even just eating a little more than you normally would, is not going to affect your general health and weight.
Your bodyweight flows and fluctuates year round, like it’s supposed to!
If you do happen to gain weight, IT DOES NOT MATTER. I don’t think I can stress this enough. Our weight fluctuates all the time. Stepping on the scales after a week of over indulging is not going to do you any favours, and I will bet that as soon as you resume your regular eating habits come January, your weight will just even back out again (whatever that is ’cause like I said, changes all the damn time).
The people telling you that you should be dieting post Christmas are all a**holes.
Yep, I said it. All the magazines, the food companies and diet brands that start telling you what you should look like and how much weight you should lose and that you simply MUST get down to a size 0 by the end of January: they’re not doing it for the good of your health! Crash diets, detoxes, fitness programs that claim to help you lose a large amount of weight in a short space of time are all just in it for the money. Don’t buy into it, you are worth so much more than that.
Make LOVE the source of your actions
…and you’ll never go far wrong. When we learn to truly love ourselves unconditionally, you become so much kinder to yourself and your body. That means that you may be less inclined to have a pig out over the festive season, because you love your body and want to nourish it. But that also means honouring your cravings and eating the food that nourishes your soul too, and if you do overeat every once in a while (whether it’s Christmas time or not), you won’t beat yourself up over it.
Move your body how you want, when you want
When it comes to exercise, try to fit some in when you can, but don’t let it take over. Our bodies thrive off movement of any kind, so if you have a form (or 3) of exercise that you enjoy doing – go for it! Exercise is fantastic for so many reasons, not solely for keeping your weight in check. But if you are finding yourself choosing spending an hour in some cold, empty gym before spending time with your family and friends, it’s time to give some serious thought into what you’re really doing there!
Relax and enjoy
Christmas is a truly magical time of year and I really hope this post eases any anxieties you may have over the next few weeks. It’s a time to make memories and cherish every moment spent with loved ones, to give to others and to allow yourself some downtime to relax. Please don’t get sucked in by all the diet culture whizzing round the internet/media at this time of year. You are absolutely enough exactly as you are right in this moment, and you still will be enough in a month’s time, and a year’s time, and a lifetime’s time. No matter who you are, and especially no matter what you weigh.
Sending you lots of love and hope you all have wonderful Christmases!