Welcome, my lovelies, to episode 2 of REAL TALK WITH DANA! Heck to the yes. Lots of technical difficulties aside (I’m feeling way, way new at this), I was finally able to publish my second podcast!
Real Talk with Dana, Episode 2 | How to Survive the Holidays: without depriving yourself, being totally neurotic, or gaining 20 lbs.
In this episode, we’ll cover:
– how you never need to exercise to “earn” a holiday meal
– how exercise and food should never be used as punishment
– how to deal with the restrict-binge and overeating cycles of the holidays
– how to stress LESS, and enjoy MORE of the holidays
Listen to the episode in ITUNES (and subscribe if you love it!) or scroll down to the bottom of this post to listen to the episode right in the blog post!
Episode 2 Transcription:
Actually…NO. you don’t need to do 1,085 burpees to ‘earn’ your favorite holiday dessert. You don’t need to punish yourself for eating, or enjoying food. EVER.
Welcome to episode 2 of Real Talk with Dana! Today we’re going to talk about how to Survive the Holidays: without depriving yourself, being totally neurotic, or gaining 20 lbs.
A couple updates over here – my goal is to have weekly episodes for you guys, most likely released on Fridays (correction: Wednesday’s, by popular demand!) so you can listen to them doing your weekend things. Also, major update in my life – found out I passed my board exam AAAAYYYY!! Officially a BOARD CERTIFIED NUTRITIONIST…right after i finish my internship.
So Here’s my question for you today. Are you just trying to “survive” or actually enjoy the holidays?
I put up a picture during the week of thanksgiving about exercise and “earning” your meals around the holidays that seemed to resonate with a lot of people – so with this podcast, we’re going to dive a little deeper into just that.
The post: Actually…NO. you don’t need to do 1,085 burpees to ‘earn’ your favorite holiday dessert. You don’t need to punish yourself for eating, or enjoying food. EVER.
So today, let’s do a deep dive on how to “SURVIVE” aka actually ENJOY the Holidays: without depriving yourself and falling into the restrict-binge cycle, being totally neurotic, or overindulging, gaining quote-on-quote a bunch of weight, and feeling like absolute sh*t.
Even without food in the picture, the holidays can already be a stressful time for a lot of people – with lots of travel, having to find and buy presents, take time off work, and family time – which can be really really stressful or not! Depending on your family…plus, lots of holiday meals, office holiday parties, and cocktails/foods galore that you may not normally include in your everyday diet to feel your best. Which may be an additional stressor for you, and for some people, extremely triggering. Because while the holidays can be an amazing, giving time, where we spend a lot of time thinking about and caring for other people – sometimes, this comes at the expense of neglecting our own self-care, in terms of the healthy habits we keep year-round.
A lot of people will go one of two ways when it comes to food and the holidays – they restrict, restrict, restrict throughout the holidays and don’t allow themselves to have their favorite holiday dessert, a cocktail, their grandmother’s favorite apple pie because they’re afraid it will totally de-rail them from their ‘normal’ way of eating.
*drumroll please* CUE THE RESTRICT-BINGE CYCLE.
…for the most part, these are the people that end up going on a total binge when they ‘let’ themselves have even just one or two of the things they’ve been restricting. They have just one holiday cookie and BAM. 20 minutes later they’ve eaten the whole batch. And maybe have gone around to dip into other snacks and forbidden foods they don’t usually ‘allow’ themselves as well. Because hell, I’ve already eaten a batch of cookies, they might as well keep going. Because tomorrow, oh tomorrow, I’ll “start again” and won’t allow myself any of these foods, so I might as well eat them while I can. Tomorrow I’ll drink tons of water and green juice and restrict my calories and work out super hard so I can work all these foods off I don’t normally eat, and then I’ll be fine.
WRONG, so wrong.
If this is you, I find the thing that helps the most is to actually PLAN small indulgences into your day, week, meals, etc. If you know that you’re “allowing” yourself to have some treats here and there, AND THAT THIS IS TOTALLY OKAY, that it will NOT totally mess you up or gain 10 lbs (ok because really, when was the last time someone gained 5 lbs from eating one cookie?) you’re much less likely to go on a total binge. And most importantly, savor, and enjoy your food – SLOWLY.
On the other side of things, there are some people who throw the baby out with the bathwater (including all their healthy habits), and starting at Halloween, they just eat whatever they want, whenever they want, neglect their normal healthy diet, their workouts, their sleep, and their body basically feels like sh*t the entire holiday season. THESE are the people that are like oh SH*T – january first, I’ve gotta go on the newest fad diet, go to the gym every day, get 8 hours of sleep, 20,000 steps on my fitbit…you’ve heard. This, obviously, is not the healthiest way to go either. For these people, they need some accountability to stay on track with their healthy habits during the holidays – while still allowing themselves some indulgences from time to time.
Speaking of these two extremes – I’m not sure I’ve ever heard anyone talk about this before, but it is EXTREMELY HARD to be in recovery from an eating disorder around the holidays – especially because so many people, as we talked about just now, exhibit TOTAL disordered eating patterns – of either restricting, bingeing, or both.
Here’s the dilemma. You don’t want to totally restrict everything around the holidays, even if you know certain foods might be triggering for you – because that restriction puts you right back in the ED mindset – which may be extremely hard to come back out of, depending how long you’ve been trying to recover and get OUT of that. And you also KNOW, this restriction will most likely lead to bingeing, and you feeling like crap. But at the same time, you know if you take away all restrictions, and allow yourself to have all the treats whenever you want, it might just turn into a total binge, and then you’ll also feel like crap. It’s also totally not fair that it’s socially acceptable – and even encouraged and perpetuated by the media – that the holidays are a time when we overindulge in food and drink, inevitably gain weight, and neglect all the habits that keep us feeling good year round. Even on ABC family during their 25 days of christmas movie specials, they have a commercial that says something like “grab your fat pants, eat drink and be merry.” Like REALLY?!
The mindf*ck is real.
Here’s the thing. Everyone is different, and no one thing I say is going to work for everyone. You need to figure out which of these things will work best for you – AND DON’T LET THE PERFECT BE THE ENEMY OF THE GOOD. There is no ‘perfect’ during the holidays. Even if you come up with a game plan that you think will work best for you, sometimes, things won’t always go according to plan. You’ll try to be moderate with your treats, but you end up eating more than you wanted one day. IT IS OKAY, YOU WILL BE FINE – AND YOU DO NOT NEED TO BEAT YOURSELF UP ABOUT IT. Each time this happens, it’s a learning experience for next time, and you will continue to grow and learn what works best for you to feel your best and enjoy the holidays.
Especially around this time of year, FOOD AND EXERCISE SHOULD NOT BE LOOKED AT AS A REWARD, OR A PUNISHMENT. Food is just food. You should exercise because it makes you feel GOOD about yourself, not because you hate your body and are trying to punish it into being a certain size or look a certain way, or punish yourself because you ate a slice of Grandma’s famous apple pie.
So what SHOULD you do, to ‘survive’ slash actually ENJOY the holidays – without depriving yourself, being totally neurotic, or gaining 20 lbs and feeling like you need to do a serious weight loss juice cleanse detox (aka bullsh*t) on January 1st?
Here we go. Thanksgiving/Christmas/Holiday meal ‘survival’ tips: eat what you want, but actually ENJOY the food and the company. This probably means eating mindfully and slowly. Because what is the goddamn point of eating a delicious dessert or your favorite holiday dish, that you don’t normally get to eat ALL year, if you’re just going to shove it down (or even binge on it)…and not even enjoy it in the process? And then you feel guilty and feel the need to “punish” yourself after with a super hard and sweaty workout and restrictive eating for days or weeks after? No. Just no.
Do not restrict yourself from ALL THE THINGS. I should also probably mention this because I’m a Whole30 Certified Coach – the holidays are NOT a time to try a new diet, like the Whole30, a 21-day sugar detox, etc. Extreme restriction leads to bingeing, and you’ll be caught in that vicious cycle until the cows come home. On the other hand, don’t (as one of my crossfit coaches says), eat like an ASSHOLE and totally neglect your normal way of healthy eating from Halloween to New Years, scarfing down every single holiday treat, cocktail, etc.. That is 100% a recipe to feel like sh*t.
Game plan for the big meals: SLOW DOWN. Fill up on veggies and proteins first, and then eat what you goddamn want. Be mindful of portions – only eat what and how much you actually want. No one can force you into eating something if you tell them it’s going to make you feel like sh*t afterwards. (PS if you’re speaking to your grandmother, maybe say that in a more delicate way). If you say you don’t want to eat a certain dish because it’s not healthy or it’s going to make you gain weight – first of all, I’m going to come over to your house with the game of thrones SHAME bell – and second, you’ll make everyone else feel bad and self-conscious because they are enjoying that food. DON’T BE THAT ASSHOLE.
Getting a good workout in or moving your body in some way the day of or after a big holiday meal is a great idea to help you feel GOOD about yourself, not to punish you for something ‘bad’ like enjoying a meal with friends and family. THESE ARE NOT BAD THINGS.
How to ENJOY the holidays: SAVOR your food, chill the heck out, move your body, be mindful and present, and have a great time with your family and friends. Don’t stress. Spoiler alert: you. Will. Be. Fine.