Beating The Guilt: Holiday Indulgence

Beating The Guilt: Holiday Indulgence

You're not alone.
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With the holiday season upon us, it's safe to say we have already begun to delve into delicious meals and indulge in irresistible desserts. With Thanksgiving recently behind us and the remaining winter holidays coming up full speed, we still have mountains of food waiting for us around every bend. The temptations to overeat are present, real, and often hard to avoid.

Have you ever told yourself, "just one treat and that will be it"? How many times has that "one treat" turned into three or four? Afterwards, how many times have you felt poorly about yourself or your body? Have you ever eaten so much that you feel physically ill? What about mentally ill? If you've ever experienced any sort of food-related guilt over the holidays (or really any time in your life), you're not alone. Whether you're an avid gym-goer, actively trying to lose or watch your weight, or just know you kept eating when you were already full, you're not alone.

Here's the catch. Thankfully, we don't have to feel that way. Food is fuel and we depend on it to keep us going and give us the energy we need to perform at our best. If we develop negative and unhealthy thoughts towards something that literally keeps us alive, we're going to get into a pattern of restriction and disordered habits. Food is not a reward, nor is it means for punishment--remember that.

The trick is being aware of how you enjoy it. Be conscious of your portion sizes. If you're full, stop eating. Don't linger around the food. Pop in some gum. Drink more water. Don't restrict, just limit. The more you restrict and tell yourself you "can't" have something, the more you'll want it. Denying cravings will only make them stronger and stronger over time, leaving you more likely to overeat when you do give in.

It's important to keep perspective in times of indulgence guilt and overeating. Remember, it's one day. One day isn't going to destroy you and everything you have worked for. One day isn't going to make you "fat"--just like one day isn't going to make you skinny. Pick yourself up, forgive yourself (if you feel you need to), and move forward. Get back into your everyday routine. Don't starve yourself the next day to "even it out", don't do an extra hour of cardio to compensate, and definitely don't try any voodoo cleanses or detoxes. That's what your liver is for.

Holidays are not about food. They are not about food. Despite the societal customs we've come to adopt, these winter holidays are about giving thanks, being grateful, celebrating life, and enjoying the company of your friends and family through catching up, reminiscing on past memories, and laughing until you cry. So tell me, would you rather feel guilty over food or guilty for not focusing on what these days are truly meant for?


Cover Image Credit: Pixabay

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A Love Letter To The Girl Who Cares Too Much About Everyone But Herself

You, the girl with a heart full of love and no place big enough to store it all.

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Our generation is so caught up in this notion that it's "cool" not to care about anything or anyone. I know you've tried to do just that.

I'm sure there was a brief moment where you genuinely believed you were capable of not caring, especially since you convinced everyone around you that you didn't. But that just isn't true, is it? Don't be ashamed of this, don't let anyone ridicule you for having emotions.

After everything life has put you through, you have still remained soft.

This is what makes you, you. This is what makes you beautiful. You care so deeply and love so boldly and it is incredible, never let the world take this from you.

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You are the girl who will give and give and give until you have absolutely nothing left. Some may see this as a weakness, an inconvenience, the perfect excuse to walk all over you. I know you try to make sense of it all, why someone you cared so much about would treat you the way they did.

You'll make excuses for them, rationalize it and turn it all around on yourself.

You'll tell yourself that maybe just maybe they will change even though you know deep down they won't. You gave them everything you had and it still feels as if they took it all and ran. When this happens, remind yourself that you are not a reflection of those who cannot love you. The way that people treat you does not define who you are. Tell yourself this every day, over and over until it sticks. Remind yourself that you are gold, darling, and sometimes they will prefer silver and that is OK.

I know you feel guilty when you have to say no to something, I know you feel like you are letting everyone you love down when you do. Listen to me, it is not your responsibility to tend to everyone else's feelings all the time. By all means, treat their feelings with care, but remember it is not the end of the world when you cannot help them right away.

Remember that it is OK to say no.

You don't have to take care of everyone else all the time. Sometimes it's OK to say no to lunch with your friends and just stay home in bed to watch Netflix when you need a minute for yourself. I know sometimes this is much easier said than done because you are worried about letting other people down, but please give it a try.

With all of this, please remember that you matter. Do not be afraid to take a step back and focus on yourself. You owe yourself the same kind of love and patience and kindness and everything that you have given everyone else. It is OK to think about and put yourself first. Do not feel guilty for taking care of yourself. You are so incredibly loved even when it doesn't feel like it, please always remember that. You cannot fill others up when your own cup is empty. Take care of yourself.

Cover Image Credit: Charcoal Alley

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No, PrEP Shouldn't Be Used As A Replacement For Condoms

PrEP has signified a whole new level of options for safer sex. But should guys trust it enough to give up condoms?

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For over thirty years, medical experts have been searching for a cure to the AIDS virus. While a cure still hasn't seen the light of day, a new prescription drug has provided another option for safer sex.

Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) is the daily dosage of Truvada®, a combination of tenofovir and emtricitabine (two HIV medicines). It can only be prescribed by a health care professional and is intended for those at a higher risk for contracting HIV.

"Daily PrEP reduces the risk of getting HIV from sex by more than 90%," according to the CDC website. "Among people who inject drugs, it reduces the risk by more than 70%."

With such a bold, new development in HIV prevention, it obviously arises debate from all sides. One of the most interesting questions to come up since the arrival of PrEP, is whether or not it can be used instead of a condom. The CDC website clears this up as well, stating that the risk lowers, even more, when PrEP is combined with condoms.

Upon hearing this, one might wonder why an individual would take such a risk by not using a condom. It is often said that sex without a condom feels better. I can understand this point, but I think an important question needs to be asked in response. That question being, is a one-time hookup with someone you care very little for worth the risk? If God forbid you contracted HIV from a casual encounter, would you honestly feel that it was worth it? Would you kick yourself for not going a bit further and making sure all your bases were covered?

The Zakar Twins mentioned another reason some men don't want to use condoms in addition to PrEP. In their podcast, MyTwin Chat, they claim it is such a hassle to put on a condom and often kills the mood. This is a point that I have a hard time taking seriously. In the eighties and nineties, condoms were the only option people had to protect themselves. Yet, they still managed to have plenty of hot sex using them.

A claim like this also reeks of laziness and unawareness. Real life is not like a porn scene. So many things can happen during sex that can kill the mood, even without a condom. Sometimes shit happens, literally and figuratively. One partner might need to switch positions because they're uncomfortable. Maybe one partner has to stop to use the bathroom. Sex can be clumsy sometimes and it's often imperfect. This is a reality we can't avoid.

Young gay men of today are quite disconnected from the struggles gay men went through in the years when AIDS was called "gay cancer." People in their twenties don't know what it feels like to watch all of their friends die one by one. They don't know what it feels like to be told on their deathbed that they deserve this because they chose a devilish lifestyle. They don't know what it feels like to fight for treatment and medical testing. All we know is a world where AIDS is no longer a death sentence and hookups are at our literal fingertips. So it's no surprise to me that many people take that progress for granted. Disappointing? Yes. Surprising? No.

We should have all our bases covered before engaging in a sexual act. We should have the self-worth to turn someone down if they're not on board with that. We should remember how we got to where we are today and not take it for granted. Self-care, self-worth, and self-reflection. Those are three simple tools to enrich your life as well as your sex life.

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