Are You “Giving Up” in This Season of Giving?
Just when you start to breathe a sigh of relief that bathing suit season is wrapped up for another year – literally – in more modest and body-camouflaging apparel – we begin our slide directly into the holiday season, with all of its temptations, treats, and indulgences.
Let’s face it. You like winter because it hides your body underneath layers of warm clothes. No more flashing of skin or unwrapping to deal with the heat. Winter brings an opportunity to snuggle in to long sleeves, and sweaters, and pants, and scarves – all kinds of clothing that admittedly keeps us warm, but also covers up our maybe-not-so-perfect figures.
And then there are the treats. The candy. The desserts. The parties. The “special occasion” foods that we surround ourselves with – starting with Halloween and taking us through the next two full months into the New Year.
Many folks actually dread going into the holiday season because of all the goodies that surround them for those two months. It’s not unusual for most people to pack on “winter weight” over the holidays, and then struggle through the spring and summer trying to remove it again from their frame.
The reality is this: Even if you put on only a couple of pounds over the holiday season, chances are you will never get rid of it again. Yup. That mere two pounds is added on to the two pounds you gained last year, and the two pounds you will most likely gain next year…etc. So, after ten years, it is likely you will be carrying an extra 20 pounds around that you have accumulated around the last ten holiday seasons!!
Why do we do this to ourselves? Because it’s so easy to hide under those clothes? Because it’s not so easy to say “No” to the extra treats that come across our path? Because we lose our focus on ourselves while we give our energy to our loved ones?
I propose a different, more radical approach this year.
First, let’s remind ourselves what this season is really all about: family, friends, giving thanks, and celebration. We use this time of year to reach out to the people we care about and shower them with gifts of love and gratitude.
But when you think of gifts, do you ever think of yourself?
After all, YOU are a gift to the people in your world. YOU are the unique character that only you can be, and people love you for being YOU.
So, why do you neglect yourself during this time of year? Why do you let yourself play the “I’ll just have one” game at the goodie table or around the office candy jars? Why do you convince yourself that other events take the priority over a good, sweat-inducing workout? Why do you compromise your own health or weight loss goals by having that extra serving of pie or Mom’s green bean casserole?
Why do you refuse to see yourself, your health, and your sense of well-being as a gift to others?
When I’m even just a little bit grumpy or snappish, my son always asks me whether or not I have worked out that day. He knows how much I need that time for myself, because it changes my mood for the better every time. When I am in a better mood, I am more pleasant to be around…and I am more prepared to focus my energy on doing my work and taking care of the people I love.
Well beyond the holiday season, I have to realize that I am the gift to the people I love…not the presents I give, not the dinner party I host, not the decorations I hang…that’s all temporary wrapping.
The true gift is that you give yourself.
Now why would you give a gift that is not complete, healthy, or happy? You wouldn’t.
Of course you want all the gifts you give to be perfect…so why are YOU any different?
The dinner party is temporary. The candy will be gone. The decorations will be taken down. The wine will go back in the cellar.
But YOU? You will be there, and you will be exactly who YOU created.
Are you going to create an unhappy, stressed-out, self-conscious-of-weight-gain person – or are you going to continue to nurture yourself and do what you need to do to be the pleasant, self-confident, highly-energized person who can continue giving to your loved ones well after the holidays have passed?
Don’t compromise your goals this holiday season. Don’t give in to the stress of these next two months by eating the treats and skipping the workouts. Don’t try to hide your figure under your winter clothes, pretending not to notice those extra cupcakes going right to your thighs.
Breathe deeply and remind yourself that this season is about loving and giving – and you have to start with yourself.
Think about taking care of yourself as a means to taking care of others.
Continue to carve out the time and make the choices that will help you to stick to your goals and nurture your soul.
Continue to improve who YOU are and what you offer the world – don’t set yourself back!
Love yourself enough to take care of yourself. Give yourself permission to say “No, thank you” to the extra treats and “Yes” to some time for you to work out and move your body.
After all, YOU are the gift. Not just over the holidays, but each and every day.