Repost: Holiday Eating, Hold the Guilt

** This is a reposting of an old post from almost exactly 1 year ago. Why am I re-posting this? Because I think it’s a good reminder as we catapult into the holiday season. And truthfully, I could re-write another version of the same article, but I would much rather work on some original, helpful content than re-word something just to get something posted.**

ORIGINAL PUBLICATION DATE: Nov. 13, 2013

As I was sitting here, sipping some tea to warm up, I was struggling to come with something to write about. I don’t plan my posts, or rather, I rarely plan my posts – not because it’s not helpful (I’ve tried it, it really is helpful) but because I’m a ridiculous planner in all other aspects of my life. I live by spreadsheets and my google calendar so having a space that allows me to NOT plan out my life is actually quite nice. Anyways, back to the whole tea sipping tea…I checked out some articles I had bookmarked earlier to see if anything sparked my writing interest. Nothing really, just a whole lot of learning. If I’m not working, writing, squatting, or eating – I’m reading absolutely everything I can.

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[according to the internet it's pumpkin season or more accurately, pumpkin pie season]

While combing the internet for ideas, I couldn’t help but notice the huge amount of “healthy holiday”  “guilt-free/skinny recipes” “reduce your calories during the holidays” articles. I drafted a post about some tips for navigating the holidays when you don’t feel like falling face first into a tray of less-than-stellar cookies but truth be told, I pretty much said all I needed to say last year. As I continued combing through articles from around the web, I just grew more irritated. These articles were nothing more than words dedicated to making people, and mostly women, feel “guilty” for enjoying some pumpkin pie on Thanksgiving. Words like “calorie reduction”, “guilt-free”, “skinny, “avoid regret” – I mean, you’d think that eating mashed potatoes (with OMGbutter and cream!) was tantamount to turning into a stark-raving lunatic who drowns puppies and kittens while kicking over a kid’s bicycle. Everything was aimed at reducing calories and increasing guilt.

Well, if eating pie makes you a morally devoid heathen than I will proudly raise that flag and wave it high. And I will do so without guilt.

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[yeah, that cake is full of sugar and everything delicious. no guilt to be found.]

It’s assumed that when the “holiday season” rolls around – people turn into cookie-crazed zombies who can do nothing but shove all the cookies in their face. If you’re having trouble with kicking sugar, the holidays can be tough simply because of how frequently sugar is around. But I promise, you’re greater person than your cookie cravings. In the words of Jill Coleman – “ritualize your indulgences, don’t habitualize them”. Savor all of those once a year treats and I mean, really savor them. Enjoy them. Don’t become a slave to them. And most of all, do not get into the eat a cookie-feel guilty-feel bad-give up-eat more cookies-rinse-and-repeat cycle. Guilt has no place on your plate or in your brain.

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[yup, I'll have my 14oz steak along with some pie, please.]

So, as much as I wanted to craft a post with 10 tips for staying on track during the holidays or something like that, I couldn’t do it. I don’t have any quick fixes or super amazing groundbreaking tips because frankly, my eating strategy doesn’t change during the holidays. I eat things that make me feel good, support my goals, and have a positive impact on my gym performance. I also eat sugar and chips and heaven forbid, carbs – yeah, with butter and cream and bacon. I also make decisions that don’t support my goals – I’m looking at you wine & cider last night before my 5AM alarm – and when I feel less than stellar the next day, I do so without feeling guilty. When the holidays do roll around, I’m going to eat the things I like AND continue to eat how I normally eat. To me, it’s really that simple – the holidays are just days when we get to eat a special meal and spend time with family. I will continue to eat what works for me, train hard, and not feel an ounce of “guilt” about anything I eat.  Figure out what works for you, embrace it, and treat the holidays like any other time of the year (just with better treats!). After all, pie is best served with whipped cream, not guilt.