Yes, the holiday season is here and I am pumped!
I love everything to do with Thanksgiving and Christmas — the change in leaves, bonfires, hot chocolate everyday and wearing sweaters. However, I will say I hate the cold. Hate it. These below 60 degrees temps are not making me a happy camper and I’m already ready for warmer weather again. One would think that because I lived in Minnesota I would be stronger in cold weather, but if anything, I think it made me more sensitive. All I want to do is sit at home in my robe, drinking hot chocolate and stitch hoops. Please don’t make me go outside… is that too much to ask?
Just knowing that Thanksgiving and Christmas are around the corner really brightens up my mood because this truly is my favorite time of year. I love the festivities, parties, and gatherings centered around the holidays. And with every party and gathering there is food involved. So delicious and decadent and for some reason, even though we are adults and have free will, we seem to only eat certain foods around certain holidays so it’s also a highly anticipated time of indulgence.
However, I’ve recognized a sad mentality when it comes to the holidays and food: “that indulging is seen as normal, and yet the foods are labeled as bad, but not to worry because the New Year is around the corner so you can get back into shape or learn better self-control soon.” This mentality and belief around food and our bodies breaks my heart.
It’s no secret that my past involves struggling with eating disorders and the holidays used to be such a difficult time for me. I wanted to enjoy the holidays, but then mentally I would be thinking of how many extra miles I would need to run or be worried my jeans wouldn’t fit the next day. And you may not have a disordered eating past, but you may have had similar thoughts.
Do you get stressed about going to parties because of the food? Do you feel like you need to make up for it the next day with eating less or restricting or working out extra hard? Or do you tell yourself you will “make up for it” in the New Year by punishing yourself with rigorous exercise and a new diet?
This mentality around the holidays is unhealthy and often toxic. It grieves me that we often believe the lie that we don’t deserve to enjoy the holidays and be fully present in the moment. Our diet and exercise culture is constantly reminding us of good vs. bad foods and celebrities with 6-packs and moms who have their “body back” after 3 months postpartum. Plus how to lose that holiday weight or how to be your most beautiful self in the New Year. These standards and expectations from the media are exhausting and draining and can cause disordered thoughts around our own bodies and food.
Instead, this year, I want to encourage you to reset and refocus your heart and mind. To view the holidays as a time with family and friendship and fun. As a time to partake in activities and enjoy food. And to not see the New Year as punishment for what you ate in 2019.
It’s taken me years to get to this point in my life, and to be honest, I still struggle with it. But I am confident that day by day God is renewing me and healing my mindset towards my body. That I will one day no longer “blink an eye” when it comes to the holidays. And maybe you’re wanting to have a mindset shift, too.
So, I reflected on what changes we could all make this year to have clearer and more positive thoughts. I was careful to not choose options like, eat more vegetables and workout at least 30 minutes a day, because this isn’t a physical body issue but a heart and mind issue.
8 Ways to Refocus Your Mind Around Your Body:
- Focus on keeping your identity in Christ. Put all of your worth, value, and beauty in Him and see yourself through His eyes.
- Ask to Him to remove any anxious thoughts or lies away from you revolving around your body.
- Spend time each morning in reading the Bible and soaking in the truth of who God is. The more you direct your focus onto God, the less you will focus on yourself.
- You are not your neighbor. No matter how hard you try you will never look like them. You are uniquely and wonderfully made, so be your original self and enjoy the body God has given you.
- Remember that life is short and that it is okay to enjoy foods you love, especially ones that come only once a year.
- Resolve to not view exercise in 2020 as punishment or compensation for what you did and ate in 2019, but rather as an act of self-love and care.
- Grab a journal and write down one quality you love about yourself every single day. It can be physical or it can be internal, but start to take time to reflect on the attributes you love about yourself. If you struggle with this, ask a trusted family member or friend to help you get started.
- Fill your mind with words that bring you joy and confidence. Be careful of the type of movies you watch and music you listen to. Choose entertainment that fills you up and doesn’t cause you to fall into a comparison trap.
My hope, sweet friend, is that you’ll join me in these mindset changes and be refreshed this holiday season.
Know you are not alone in your struggles over your body and food. And also know that every negative thought and action you’ve ever had in past holiday seasons can end this year. You don’t have to perpetuate the toxic mental cycle around food — there is freedom in Christ and freedom to enjoy.
Happy Thanksgiving and Merry Christmas to you. May the rest of your year be filled with freedom and contentedness and so much joy.