The holiday season doesn’t just bring traditions, family, and good food… It also brings guilt, and lots of it. While we may always be surrounded by messages promoting rapid weight loss and eating clean, it seems as though we are bombarded even more so during this joyous season. Magazines, newspapers, and blogs are filled with tips and tricks to “stay healthy during the holidays,” and don’t forget about the endless commercials for weight loss programs come the end of December. We are constantly reminded not to eat too much and overindulge which has, inevitably, lead to unnecessary stress.
Guilt, according to Michelle May, M.D., “steals your enjoyment when you’re eating what you were going to eat anyway, and does not encourage sustainable behavior change.” She gives the following tips in a recent Huffington Post article: recognize that guilt is counterproductive, question the definition of “good” and “bad” foods, eat what you love fearlessly, don’t pay penance for eating, love what you eat mindfully.
Nowadays, we give food too much power. Having more than one holiday celebration dinner or eating another one of your grandmother’s sugar cookies should not send you in a downward spiral of guilt. We spend way too much time thinking about eating the “healthy” foods and avoiding the “unhealthy” ones. The holidays are meant to be a joyful time spent with loved ones, not about the quality or quantity of food eaten. Don’t forget to relax and enjoy the most wonderful time of the year.