How to Navigate the Pitfalls This Holiday Season

For many people, weight gain during the holidays is a foregone conclusion. Resolutions to do better this time are largely destined for failure, no matter how seriously they are taken. In the end, the countless temptations offered at office parties and family gatherings prove as irresistible as always, obliterating all good intentions. The cause is not only the availability of large amounts of food, much of it high in fat and sugar, but also the fact that cold and wet weather keeps people inside and devoid of exercise. Eat more, move less – it’s a double-whammy with predictable outcome.

Why Fat Shaming Is So Misplaced

Should carrying extra weight be judged as a matter of personal failure? Considering the fact that two thirds of Americans are now diagnosed as overweight and one third as obese, it feels strange that there should be any prejudices against body fat. And yet, stigmatizing heavyset people is more common and seemingly acceptable than any other form of discrimination left on the planet.

Love Your Food

When nutrition professionals talk about “befriending food,” they usually do so in the context of eating disorders. They point out the importance of not seeing “food as the enemy,” as one well-known author put it, or “making peace with food,” as others have counseled. For me – also a nutrition expert – it’s a much simpler proposition. Loving food is to understand what it does, how it nourishes us, and also to appreciate what it takes to make good food available.

Body Image and Self-Compassion

Being slim is the unquestioned standard of beauty and health set by the media and respective industries. It is also a cause for widespread body dissatisfaction, eating disorders, and low self-esteem that often develop in childhood and affect people of all ages, especially women. Studies have shown that being considered overweight by oneself or others can lead to an array of emotional disturbances, including clinical depression. These effects likely worsen when contrary body images are idealized.

Cook Simply, Eat Healthily, Feel Good

Cooking is considered a chore by most people. Restaurant visits, take-outs, and frozen TV dinners are much more in keeping with our busy lifestyles. The downside to all this is that you have little control over the nutritional quality of food prepared by others. Unless you do it yourself from scratch, including grocery shopping and everything else before sitting down at the dinner table, there is no guarantee that you eat really well.

Goals Are Best Achieved by Sticking to Routines

It is common knowledge that persistence and perseverance are important ingredients for success in almost any field. Whether we seek it in our careers or personal interests, stick-to-itiveness is one of the key factors that make or break our advances. Even the most accomplished people share this. In addition to their talents, they develop and maintain routines they rarely deviate from, allowing them to keep building on their achievements.