Body Image during the holidays

I subscribe to a number of other body image blogs, a couple of them regularly have me scratching my head – I stay subbed because  it’s important to me to know what else is going on in the realm of positive body image and loving your body. Most of it isn’t pretty – most of it is still ‘beat your body into submission with diet and exercise’ stuff, dressed up as body acceptance. One site that emailed me today is part of a well-known online magazine site, and it seems to move in and out of that women-must-restrict-food thought pattern, like it can’t quite make up its mind.

Today’s post on that particular site – which isn’t on my top ten sites list, by the way – is about how the sight of festive foods during the holiday/party season may well cause you to “lose your iron control” and overindulge, and of course you’ll gain weight AND feel guilty because you overate!

AAAAAARRGGGGGHHHHHH! Developing a positive body image, Loving Your Body, is NOT about having iron control over what you are eating! Loving Your Body is NOT about depriving yourself! Loving Your Body is NOT about feeling guilty because you gained weight!

Loving Your Body IS about:

  • understanding that a normal healthy woman’s weight was designed by nature to fluctuate up or down as much as 10 pounds (5 kilos) from a set point.  That’s as much as twenty pounds (10 kilos) up or down. It just happens, sometimes within days!! It’s not bad or wrong or something you should or must control, or that’s somehow your fault! It is normal and natural and an indication that your body is in good health.
  • knowing your body and its natural rhythms, so you are aware that that if you eat, for example, sugary foods, you will feel lethargic for a few days. Or that one glass of wine is fine, but four makes your stomach acidic the next day, or that beer causes your skin to go dry, or that a huge bowl of icecream makes your feet puff up because your spleen meridian’s energy is stressed by the cold (I made some of these things up okay, they’re not proven for anyone, but might be specific to someone – okay, the sugar and spleen ones are true for me :))
  • being gentle with yourself about sometimes making choices that leave you with side-effects you don’t like; actively managing and releasing stress-inducing thoughts and emotions, that will ultimately make you sick! (Long-term stress is now thought to be responsible for causing up to 80% of disease)
  • Enjoying life, and that includes indulging in foods that make a rare appearance around holidays, because it’s okay to have fun, even if you are a woman in a less-than-“perfect” body! Relax, every woman’s body is not magazine perfect, even the super models are photoshopped to meet some art director’s fantasy – that’s not real, YOU are!

So rather than advising you to be extra-vigilant about losing control about holiday foods and feeding the body image blues, I say it’s time to listen again to lessons from great-granny:

1. Everything in moderation (so your bod can healthily process what it needs to process)

2. If great-granny wouldn’t have eaten or drunk it (ie if its raw ingredients weren’t in her pantry) then you probably should think twice about it. The food-like substances we are exposed to on a daily basis have a toxic, cumulative, long-term effect on our physical, mental, and emotional well-being.

There’s only one thing I would suggest you do this holiday season – love, honour, and cherish the body you’re in. Listen to what it wants and needs. And have fun!! Same as every other day, really 🙂

It’s your body, it’s your choice!

Happy holidays – and chin chin 🙂

PS If you need help learning to love your body, try my free ten day course.

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