The holidays are in full swing!
We’re not even to Thanksgiving yet and I’ve already eaten 3 Thanksgivings. I’m not mad about it.
Thanksgiving is my very favorite holiday. I absolutely love Christmas – but I love Thanksgiving even more because there isn’t any gifts or “stuff” to distract from the purpose of the holiday. And there is nothing I love more than cooking and eating good food with the people I love most.
But just as much as I love the holidays, I hate all the articles and posts about “how to stay healthy during the holidays!” Like I haaatteeeee it.
Sorry to burst the bubble of no sugar pie and tofurky, but the holidays weren’t meant to be 100% healthy.
The holidays aren’t about saying no to dessert or controlling portions or working out to burn off such and such calories. And the holidays aren’t about spending November to January doing everything possible to avoid some trivial weight gain.
The holidays are about being with those you love, slowing down and enjoying the season, eating awesome food filled to the brim with love, and letting it just be that.
We give way too much attention to the “unhealthiness” of holiday food and weight gain—like how many healthier green bean casserole recipes and winter workout routines do you find on the internet? Really, if we begin to simply focus on taking care of ourselves, resting, loving on our friends and family, and serving others, then the food just becomes a way we celebrate and share this season with others instead of something we obsess over.
Because when you’re taking care of yourself and enjoying time with family and friends then food isn’t the focus. It doesn’t become full on gluttony followed by guilt because its “only once a year.” Both restricting yourself from enjoying the food and making yourself ill from eating just because it’s there distracts from being fully present during this season.
The food will always be there.
Yes, eat some things you don’t eat year round. But the important thing is to be intentional about what you’re eating – whether that’s pumpkin pie or steamed green beans, make a conscious choice to eat it. Eating mindlessly takes the enjoyment out of food and leads to self shaming and guilt. If you eat the pie, eat that pie. And if you eat the green beans, eat those green beans. Eat it with intention. The holidays are 6 weeks, not six months. Eating homemade baked goods and some butter for a few weeks is not worth stressing over. Stress will do more negative things for your health than a cookie.
Just because it’s on the table doesn’t mean it has to go in your mouth. It’s not an all or nothing season. Choose the good stuff that is satisfying and pass on the stuff you don’t care about – just because it’s there doesn’t mean you have to eat it because “it’s only once a year.”
Most importantly, know that you can eat any of these foods anytime of the year. Give yourself FULL PERMISSION. When we compartmentalize food is when we tend to fall into the “I’ll never eat this again” trap which leads to eating plateful after plateful and then you feel stuffed and gross and now you’re pissed and frustrated at yourself and you forget how the food even tasted. And you’re telling yourself, “that wasn’t even worth it.” Because instead of enjoying the food, you were in auto mode and didn’t even realize what was happening. Sounds dramatic, but it’s often so true.
You have the freedom to eat anything you want, anytime you want. No food is forbidden and no food is good or bad.
So move your body because it feels good.
Eat that piece [or two] of pie because your momma made it with love.
Eat that sweet potato casserole because it’s so dang tasty.
Cozy up on the couch because resting and relaxing means restoration.
And enjoy every sweet second of this holiday season.
Liz S. says
AMEN to these sentiments. The holidays should be fully enjoyed, and the focus should be on the company. It’s when people focus on the food (with the “I can’t have this at any other time of the year” mentality, as you brought up) that the holidays end up being a time of stress, instead of a time of fun and being grateful. Wishing you a wonderful continued Thanksgiving holiday!
UGH YES. I hate “clean eating” tips for the holidays. I feel like it really cheapens the whole experience to put the focus on how you can stay the skinniest during the holidays.
I do my best to focus mostly on the people around me and less on just the food. I agree that passing on the things I don’t care about is the best way to avoid that overly full feeling. I also like to stay active and moving around, just so I don’t end up in a food coma 😀
Happy holidays girl!
Thanks Robyn, great words to live by this time of year.
I wish that I could insert the praise hands emoji. Seriously, thank you! The last few months I have been focusing on learning about my body and food — and saying goodbye to the obsession. It’s been amazing to feel the freedom! I am free to eat what I want, when I want OR….not. I love it. I want to enter this season mindfully. If i want a piece of pie then I should have it! That doesn’t mean have 3 pieces of pie like I did last year because its “bad” food. The Lord is giving me freedom in this area slowly and sweetly. Its been an area that I have begged Him for help and I am thankful for His gentle faithfulness.
She Rocks Fitness says
YES YES YES! Happy Thanksgiving friend and know that I will be enjoying and stuffing myself silly with my family and I cannot wait…XOXO
Hope your Thanksgiving was lovely!! Lots of love to you 🙂
Sarah @ bucketlisttummy says
Amen, Robyn. I had the same thoughts in my post this morning too! Have a wonderful holiday and eat lots of yummy things! xo
Everything about this, just YES. I love your approach on this type of stuff. It just makes me feel so much better and its a healthy reminder to eat foods you love and not feel guilty.
YES!!! I love this!! This is my first thanksgiving that I’m going into it with this mindset – kind of scares me but it allows me to stop stressing over it and just enjoy it!!! Thanks for all of your posts – so encouraging!
Trust your body with food during this season knowing if you listen – it’s not going to turn against you. Enjoy this season!! xoxo
I love everything about this post Robyn and could not agree more. “The holidays are about being with those you love, slowing down and enjoying the season, eating awesome food filled to the brim with love, and letting it just be that” – yes, yes, yes!!
We have American friends here and are going to their Friendsgiving on Saturday – super excited!
I LOVE THIS! So true!!! Your attitude about health, food, and fitness is so incredible. You give such great advice, I really enjoy reading your blog! Have a Happy Thanksgiving!!
Thank you for reading Andrea!! Happy Holidays to you 🙂
‘The holidays are about being with those you love, slowing down and enjoying the season, eating awesome food filled to the brim with love, and letting it just be that.’
YES. Just that. It’s about thanking God for His many blessings. It’s not centered on the food, and thank you for reminding me to be intentional, grateful, and not stressed. <3
I love this post! Happy Thanksgiving Robyn!
Happy Thanksgiving to you Sarah! 🙂
AMEN to this post! I can’t tell you how amazing it was yesterday to eat what I felt like eating & to stop when I felt full. So much freedom & NO stress! 🙂 Glad to hear you’re enjoying plenty of thanksgiving meals!! xo
Ahhh love hearing that!!!
Happy Holidays Katie 🙂
This is such a refreshing “holiday” post.. possibly the first time I’ve seen someone really talk about BOTH sides of the equation. We often hear, “eat it all and don’t be guilty!” but rarely hear, “you don’t have to eat it all! Eat what you WANT to and leave to the rest!” and I think this is just as, if not more so, important to remember. Anyone – whether you come from a restrictive background or not – will not feel good eating “everything” just because “its there,” and this will inevitably lessen the enjoyment. The food IS wonderful at holidays, but it is not EVERYTHING. It is not the most important thing so we need to remember that even these meals… are just food. Thank you!
totally agree! no matter what your history with food is (healthy or not) nobody wants to eat just to eat in a way that doesn’t leave you feeling good! happy holidays 🙂
Amber Madden says
This is an amazing message. I was just replying to another post on another blog with the same. Just because the holidays only come once a year, doesn’t mean the food has to! We can enjoy these foods anytime we want and by reminding ourselves of that, we can take out the glamorizing of these foods.
yes! hope you had a wonderful holiday amber 🙂
Sarah @ irunieatilive says
Seriously, you took the words right out of my mouth. Since when did holidays = dieting? I love butter. And rolls. And cookies with ridiculous amounts of frosting on them. To me, it’s just part of a healthy lifestyle. It makes me happy and I don’t eat like that 100% of the time. A little indulgence is a wonderful thing.
Thanks for yet another brilliant post!
Another fabulous post Robyn! So much of our day to day lives tend to revolve around thinking (and occasionally obsessing) about food choices. We need a break from that! Eat the cookie or don’t eat the cookie. Just stop thinking about the damn cookie and enjoy the party.
Aven Chadwell says
I just wanted you to know that I have read this post multiple times over the last week. When I saw the cover of “Health” magazine while waiting at the pharmacy- I thought of this truth. When I ate my mom’s insanely good cookies and cream cake- I thought of this truth. When I didn’t go to my interval training class for two weeks- I thought of this truth. Thank you for the light you shine!
Melissa @MellyNYC says
Love this. I saw the most disturbing instagram post leading up to Thanksgiving – it was by a woman, a nutritionist and fitness personality with thousands of followers. It outlined her “plan” for Thanksgiving day. It was an hour by hour breakdown of when she work out and what she would eat to “stay healthy”. The world needs more perspectives like yours!