The Best Way to Enjoy the Holidays

foodDecember marks the month of family get-togethers and holiday parties. However, it is also a time when everyone is worried about the few “holiday pounds” they might gain.

While searching for gift ideas, I stumbled across a Reader’s Digest article called “The Best, Proven Ways to Keep Off Holiday Party Pounds.” This article offers strategies on how to avoid “bad” food during a holiday party. While some of the suggestions to stay healthy are beneficial, I worry about the implied message it brings to young girls.

Today, body positivity is associated with looking thin.  Young girls are constantly aiming to feel confident with a self-esteem that is rooted in commercials and fitness magazines. With the popular Twitter hashtag #bodygoals, the upcoming generation is far from body-positive attitudes.

So, how can you stay body positive and healthy during the holiday months? Here are four simple steps:

Accept the invite.

If you get invited to a holiday party, accept the invitation. Even if you don’t plan on eating everything, it’s still a good idea to go.  Don’t miss out on what could be a really great event just because you’re trying to avoid eating too much.

Encourage your family to cook healthier meals.

There are numerous, healthy holiday dishes that are delicious and cater to everyone’s dietary needs. This means that if you are gluten intolerant or a vegetarian, you don’t have to worry about missing a family meal.  Incorporating nutritious foods into your holiday meal plan is an excellent way to stay healthy. (To get you started, here is a Cranberry & Maple Sweet Potato recipe).

Don’t give yourself a “cheat day.”

It is perfectly okay to indulge every once in a while. It is imperative that you never consider these treats to be cheating. This associates guilt with eating food. After you finish eating, you will subconsciously want to punish yourself for breaking your diet. This is not healthy for your emotional or physical well-being. Even if you are a health-conscious individual, it is better to say, “I normally don’t eat this food, but today I will enjoy it.”


The most important part of holiday gatherings is not the food. It’s the opportunity to re-connect with distant relatives and old friends and to enjoy your limited time together. If you’ve just come back from college break, this is a time to reminiscence over old times. Don’t worry about calories, portion sizes, or holiday pounds. Just relax. Above all, enjoy the company of your loved ones, eat your favorite dishes, and have fun!

Remember: Love yourself always.

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