Topic Tuesday: Holidays

emily-grinstead“Holidays” (By: Emily Grinstead)

Thinking about the holidays always gets me really excited. There’s time to spend with family, countless silly yet meaningful traditions, excuses to sleep in and forget about work. And of course, the food. Now, our society’s idea of food comes with a host of mixed feelings; we love it but sometimes worry about how our dietary choices will affect our appearance. And some of us have battled eating disorders and disordered eating habits that introduced some pretty skewed ideas about food and our bodies. Holidays can quickly transform from a period of joyful celebration to one of anxious planning and compensatory behaviors. From this perspective, we see how easily they can become a source of incredible stress.

The diet industry takes advantage of these fears and presents a whole new plethora of supposedly helpful advice. With “tips and tricks” for how to stay trim during the holidays and avoid the dreaded holiday weight gain, the media perpetuates disordered thoughts and actions.

I’m a firm believer in balance and moderation. At the same time, I think that moderation itself should be practiced in moderation. Holidays are a time of gathering and celebration, which often involves excess food, especially items that fall on many a “fear foods” list.

Intuitive eating and mindful movement are cornerstones of how I think we should enter into the holiday season that’s already upon us. For me that will mean lots of down time, genuine laughter and enjoying my favorite dishes and treats. But this won’t necessarily be easy, so I want to have a game plan before the craziness begins.

I’ll share my personal goals with you:

  • Take time to rest. Sleep in naturally whenever possible, and don’t force yourself to move around when you’re tired. Honor your body’s desire to relax and rejuvenate.
  • Eat what sounds good when it sounds good, while sticking to your meal plan. Do your best to approach meals and snacks with little anxiety. No foods are off limits.
  • Focus on the people and places that matter most. Don’t take your family and friends for granted because you’re too preoccupied with getting your steps in or worrying about what you’ll eat next. Take the spotlight off of yourself and cherish the little moments.

Wherever you are in the recovery process, my hope and prayer is that you are able to approach the December holidays with mindfulness, gratitude and joy. Because your worth is not dependent on what you eat or what you look like. Let’s make this season our strongest one yet!

About the Author

Emily is a sophomore at Vanderbilt University majoring in Medicine, Health and Society (and possibly English!). She loves Jesus, journaling, brunch foods, and all things Christmas and Disney. Houston, TX is her proud home, but she is slowly becoming a converted Nashvillian. She hopes to attend medical school and become an Adolescent Medicine physician, so that she can use her own experiences with anorexia and orthorexia to treat patients with eating disorders.