From holiday weight gain to dealing with insensitive family members, the holidays can wreak havoc on our self-esteem and body image, but it doesn’t have to be that way. The holidays can and should be a time of celebration, of laughter and making memories. Here are a few ways you can survive the holidays without losing your mind or your self-esteem.
Find an Outfit That Makes You Feel Like a Queen
With holiday parties galore, you need a plan for what to wear. And that plan needs to include something that fits well and makes you feel amazing. If that is a curve-hugging dress, go for it. If it’s a pair of black leggings with a flowy sequin top, rock it, girl. Whatever it is that makes you feel best about yourself, wear that and repurpose it for every party you attend.
Don’t try to squish yourself into something that doesn’t fit well or wear the latest trends if they make you feel uncomfortable. You’ll feel better about yourself and have a better time celebrating if you feel comfortable and confident in your outfit choice.
Give Yourself Permission to Enjoy Yourself
There are dozens of posts on social media and blog articles out there that will tell you how to avoid the holiday weight gain with recommendations like not buying or making your favorite sweets so you won’t be tempted, filling up on protein shakes or salad before every party, limiting yourself to one sweet or cheat item per week and exercising twice as much as you normally would.
If that’s how you want to approach the holidays, more power to you, but if you’re like me and all of that sounds miserable, then decide right now to give yourself permission to enjoy yourself. That doesn’t have to mean gorging until you feel sick every chance you get, but it can mean enjoying your favorite sweets or dishes or having more drinks than you normally would. Give yourself permission to eat without guilt and without the need to “work it off” the next day. Give yourself permission to enjoy the time with your friends and family without being consumed with thoughts about food and body. Give yourself permission to enjoy the holidays in whatever way feels best to you.
Don’t Be Afraid to Put Rude Family Members in Their Place
Questions about weight loss, relationship status or career are common at family gatherings, but that doesn’t mean you have to engage in those conversations. If you’ve worked hard all year to remove yourself from conversations about weight and diet culture, and building up your confidence and body appreciation, don’t let a few weeks in December ruin all the hard work you’ve put in.
If you don’t feel comfortable enough to tell your aunt or grandma or even your mother how hurtful and uncomfortable their comments and questions are that’s OK, but know you also don’t have to be part of conversations that make you question your worth. Don’t be afraid to excuse yourself, no questions asked, from a conversation that makes you uncomfortable. Don’t be afraid to change the topic or simply say, “I’d rather not talk about that.” Just because you may only see your family once a year doesn’t mean you have to give them permission to tear you down or ruin your self-esteem.
Banish Guilt Before it Even Starts
Guilt around the holidays can come in many ways. Guilt from eating too much. Guilt from asking your mom not to comment on your weight. Guilt from saying no to a party invitation because it’s not good for your mental health. Instead of approaching this holiday season with guilt from the very beginning, decide now that you are going to give yourself grace for your body and for your mental health.
Decide how you want your holiday season to go and then own that decision 100 percent, without guilt and without explanation. You wouldn’t berate your sister or best friend for eating one too many cookies, so why do it to yourself?
The holidays should be a time of joy and celebration. And with a few simple mindset changes you can spend this holiday season celebrating the year you’ve had, the accomplishments you’ve made and the things you are grateful for.
About the Author: Paige Fieldsted is the author of the highly acclaimed book Confessions from Your Fat Friend. She is also a blogger and body positivity advocate who believes all women deserve to love and appreciate the body they are in right now, and that people of all shapes and sizes are worthy of love and respect. Paige lives in Utah with her husband John, sons Mason and Logan, and Willy the pug. When she’s not writing, you can find Paige dancing and singing in the kitchen with her boys, doing yoga, hanging out with family or reading. Learn more about Paige here.