keeping positive body image during the season of plenty
Sunday super early in the morning I woke up to do all my grocery shopping for Thanksgiving (I hate crowds so I picked a time when no one else would want to go.) My fridge and cabinets are full of supplies for Thursday's big feast. Three pies are ready to be made. Two types of potatoes. Two turkeys. Two types of stuffing. Two appetizers. One green vegetable. Cranberry jelly. Wine. Sparkling cider. Cappuccinos. Lattes.
But...Thanksgiving and Christmas have always been my two favorite days of the year. I love being with family. I love preparing to serve them. I love decorating my home.
And you know what? I love the food. And on Thursday, I won't be letting myself think about the calories or the fat content or whether or not my jeans will fit me tomorrow.
And you shouldn't either.
The holidays are meant to be a time of joy. A time of celebration, of laughter, of family, of friends. A time to indulge in life. Not about strategically eating meals so that you don't consume too many calories or "bad" foods.
So, over the last three years of recovery (because let's be really honest...recovery is a lifelong process and you're never 100% past the voices of anorexia and bulimia), I've developed some tools to help myself enjoy life, including seasons of plenty and indulgence. And I know there are many many women out there who have deep struggles with body image and for whom this time of year might be very difficult, so I'm sharing my strategies with you.
1 || Put away the scale. At least until the new year. Just don't look at the numbers. Numbers can taunt you. Yes, they might be good motivators if you're on a fitness journey. However, this is the season of baking, living around the table with those you love, and enjoying slowing down. So don't get on the scale, don't worry about your weight. If you realize some of your clothes are a little tight, maybe get a little more active. But don't think about how many pounds you gained at Thanksgiving or Christmas.
2 || Practice gratitude for your body. Look at yourself in the mirror and recognize the value of each and every inch of it. Your arms you think are a little too soft? They give amazing hugs to let people know they're loved, and you can't undervalue that. The belly you think isn't as flat as it should be? It gives deep resounding laughter in the making of memories. The thighs you think should be gapped standing still? They let you walk up to the door of a friend's house and deliver a package to show them you care. Your body is beautiful.
3 || Remember this: Size is not a valid compliment or insult. Why do we look at someone's size and define them by their body's mass? It's absurd. A body houses a soul. It is a vessel in which a person lives. You are not defined by your vessel. Your size has absolutely NOTHING to do with you. So when someone tells you you look thin, say thanks, be polite, but don't take it in. And don't tell someone else they look thin either. Because size isn't what makes someone beautiful. Instead, tell your best friend she has the greatest laugh in the whole world. Tell your sister you absolutely love how she shows gratitude every day. Tell your mom she always knows how to make people feel welcome in her life. Those are the real compliments. Those are the ones that matter.
This is not an exhaustive list by any means. There are a million little tools I've picked up over the last three years to help me not get down on myself. These, though, these are my favorites. These are my fallbacks when I'm having a hard day. These are the three that I turn to when I start to wonder if I should really eat that snack.
And these are the three I want to share with the world. Because I truly believe if we all looked at ourselves through these lenses, we would all be happier.
What do you do to feel beautiful during seasons of plenty?