Don't Hate the Holiday Weight
By Vanessa Palencia
Fun fact: Did you know that the average holiday weight gain is approximately one pound between the weeks of Thanksgiving and Christmas?
One pound. That’s it. Crazy, right?
Yet, why is that so many of us go insane after the holidays to lose all of the weight we supposedly put on? I think we tend to forget that the holiday season is meant to be a time to show love, spend time with family and friends, and celebrate everything that we’re grateful for. You can’t deny that many of these occasions, not just during the holidays, will involve food. We have big feasts at weddings, we have appetizers and hors d'oeuvres at business parties, we cook homemade meals for our loved ones, and even wine and dine our partners. So what gives?
Chef Aaron Sanchez puts it perfectly, “sharing a meal is the most communal and binding thing in almost every place in the world…[and] is one of the most universal concepts because it's at the root of our survival.” In other words, food brings us together! If baking sugar cookies, roasting turkey, and eating it together is a family tradition and a demonstration of love and community, then why do we make it sound so bad? Why do we agonize ourselves over the holiday weight when it simply stems from gathering together in a state of happiness and appreciation?
Because we’ve been told to.
We’ve been told to watch our weight. We’ve been told to be at a certain number to be considered ‘healthy,’ but I don’t think that any of that is an accurate measurement of anybody’s health or worth. If that were the case, then I would definitely fall into the ‘unhealthy’ category per BMI standards and weight measurements. I would also be deemed ‘unworthy’ in comparison to my ‘healthier’ peers. But fortunately for us, that isn’t the case. Regardless of what medical charts tell us and what society pushes on us, our worth is determined by the content of our character and not by the slice of pizza we ate or the bite of peppermint truffle we took.
So even if your New Year’s Resolution is to be healthier, don’t let that reason originate from the thought that we have to look a certain way or be a certain weight. You also shouldn’t let that resolution come from a place of guilt and shame for eating ‘bad’ or thinking that you gained massive amounts of weight over the holidays. Like anything else, a goal should come from a positive mindset. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to build more muscle and eat healthier, but there is something wrong when you want those things because you’re hating on yourself for the ‘holiday weight.’ Remember, even if you do gain the average pound or two over the holidays, the number on the scale doesn’t define you. The foods centered around this season is meant to bring people together to the table and enjoy each other’s company, and when it comes to eating those foods, we shouldn’t restrict ourselves because it’s ‘bad.’ The food, like any other part of Christmas and traditional holidays, is a part of the ceremony. So eat that sugar cookie and drink that hot cocoa with your family. It’s a tradition rooted in love and friendship, not an act of degradation and weakness.