Every year around the holidays I hear the women in my life utter the words “La dieta empieza en Enero,” —in English—“The diet starts in January.” It’s the hispanic equivalent to saying “YOLO” when it comes to holiday indulgences, and it never fails to remind me of the “YO-YO” dieting I observed my whole life. This little copout comes from a place of guilt—that part of you always feeling a little ashamed when enjoying a plateful of your holiday faves because you’re already thinking about how hard you’ll have to work come spring or summer. I’m OVER IT.
First of all, dieting is a word used by people who are not happy with themselves and are striving to achieve something “better” than they have. Time to let go of the guilt and just accept yourself, love yourself, even if you are a few pounds over your ideal weight. Stressing over it only exacerbates the retention of unwanted weight. You are beautiful, but unless you see that every time you look in the mirror, that’s the area you need to work on. I believe the first step in finding a healthy balance, and life, is to admit when you are being self deprecating, and just stop. Pause for a moment and be grateful for all that you are. There should be no shame in your game. Period.
My strategy for surviving the holidays without losing sight of my healthy habits is to know that one day of eating can’t undo years of good health. You may be a little more busy than usual with all the party prepping, and gift shopping, but you can always hold true to your usual eating patterns if you plan ahead. Also, stop listening to that little voice inside that beckons you to cheat every chance you get! It’s the same concept as credit card shopping, if you can’t afford it, don’t buy it. Trust me, you’ll end up paying the piper in interest—or in this case in extra pounds and disappointment. Work that willpower muscle, by the end of the season there will be no extra sweat sessions or self loathing to do, only the happy, healthy exercise and eating you do 365 days of the year.
For those of you who fall victim to the “YO-YO” dieting mentality, I urge you to break the cycle, health should be a year round focus not a seasonal trend. Only you can decide what you deserve, and make time for the activities that revitalize your mind, body, and soul. My hope is for you to feel gorgeous and fit every day of your life, but I know finding a balance can be a challenge. If motivation is a struggle, find a buddy (someone already self motivated) who can give you the extra push you need to be consistent with your exercise plan. Most importantly, just love who you are, because everything good starts from that space of love and acceptance.