~ Emily Albert, RN, Integrative Nutrition Health Coach
Am I the only one who this is happening to?? I won’t sugar coat it, each year around this time I start panicking because my body is putting on some pounds. I get super frustrated, then I have to talk myself out of being frustrated. Why am I surprised this is happening… Emily c’mon this happens every winter.
Little backstory on me… I used to be obsessed with my weight. It has been a really hard mindset for me to break. Our culture values thinness and looking a certain way. Diet culture is pervasive- everywhere we turn is an advertisement with thin and culturally beautiful people holding whatever it is that we are supposed to buy. The people we see on TV hire personal chefs and nutritionists and trainers in order to look a certain way. Every aunt and cousin is talking about what diet they are currently on. Food labels are littered with “low fat” “gluten free” “low calorie” “all natural” etc. It honestly is too much. Because we are surrounded with these messages, most of us grow up with a warped view of health and wellbeing. These are precisely the ideas and messages Jacque and I want to unpack.
I’ll get off my high horse.
So here I am, helping other people get rid of messages regarding their weight yet I am caught up in the holiday pounds. I don’t even weigh myself for crying out loud (I don’t have a scale) yet I feel it. Wow are these old voices persistent.
This was a hard post to write because I don’t want to introduce ideas if you don’t have them. So firstly, If you don’t worry about your weight- GOOD. I don’t want you to! We were not put on this earth to worry about our weight; we were put here to fulfill our purpose, have joy, and spread love to others. Our bodies and our health gets us to these goals.
Secondly, there are physiological and logical reasons we gain weight in the winter. Evolutionarily speaking, our ancestors naturally gained weight in winter in order to get them through a time when food was scarce. We also can’t go outside as much to exercise/walk because the weather is cold and harsh. Comfort foods abound because we have to find indoor activities to engage in and because of cultural cooking traditions. So…give yourself a break you lovely human you.
Thirdly, I don’t want you to worry about your weight. Yes, Emily, hence the title… Seriously though, is your weight a measure of your health? Perhaps if we have a warped sense of health that is given to us by our culture we may. Jacque and I believe however that health is holistic- it includes how satisfied we are with our finances, careers, exercise, food, sleep, relationships, home environment etc. Many of these aspects of our health can be greatly improved in winter! Just think about all the celebrations and parties and sharing joy that happens during holiday months. What if we shed this idea that our weight determines our worth and value and beauty (who made up this garbage anyways?!) how much more free could we be?
Lastly, I want you to focus on what you are doing all the time rather than what you are doing sometimes. Probably, you are thinking of the get-togethers and parties where you’re inevitably going to overeat, eat dessert, etc (because you’re happy and this is a good thing). These get-togethers happen sometimes, let’s shift our focus on what we do all the time instead. For example, how can we sneak in more vegetables at lunch? Can I walk in the afternoon when the sun is out? Can I get up from my desk and stretch? Can I go to the grocery store and plan a couple of homemade dinners? Can I destress with a warm bath? I give you permission to throw out that worried energy and replace it with some positive energy to simply care for yourself. My favorite recently has been lighting candles in my home, listening to some relaxing music, and drinking a cup of tea when I’m done with work for the day.
In summation, I want you to enjoy the holiday months. Keep a mindset of joy and let yourself enjoy what this time has to offer. Know you are not alone. Do what you can and let go of the rest.