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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To The Parent Who Chose Addiction

Thank you for giving me a stronger bond with our family.

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When I was younger I resented you, I hated every ounce of you, and I used to question why God would give me a parent like you. Not now. Now I see the beauty and the blessings behind having an addict for a parent. If you're reading this, it isn't meant to hurt you, but rather to thank you.

Thank you for choosing your addiction over me.

Throughout my life, you have always chosen the addiction over my programs, my swim meets or even a simple movie night. You joke about it now or act as if I never questioned if you would wake up the next morning from your pill and alcohol-induced sleep, but I thank you for this. I thank you because I gained a relationship with God. The amount of time I spent praying for you strengthened our relationship in ways I could never explain.

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Thank you for giving me a stronger bond with our family.

The amount of hurt and disappointment our family has gone through has brought us closer together. I have a relationship with Nanny and Pop that would never be as strong as it is today if you had been in the picture from day one. That in itself is a blessing.

Thank you for showing me how to love.

From your absence, I have learned how to love unconditionally. I want you to know that even though you weren't here, I love you most of all. No matter the amount of heartbreak, tears, and pain I've felt, you will always be my greatest love.

Thank you for making me strong.

Thank you for leaving and for showing me how to be independent. From you, I have learned that I do not need anyone else to prove to me that I am worthy of being loved. From you, I have learned that life is always hard, but you shouldn't give into the things that make you feel good for a short while, but should search for the real happiness in life.

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I Am 9,170 Miles Away But I Still Choose To Stand In Solidarity With The People Of Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka has its own flaws and imperfections, but what I've learned is that even on our darkest days, no one can take away faith and solidarity.

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April 21, 2019. Easter Sunday.

I was devastated to wake up on Sunday morning to a series of missed calls and texts from friends asking whether my friends and family were affected by the terrorist attacks in Sri Lanka. I was shocked to read all of the news about the bombings in various churches and hotels that I'd visited on my trips to Sri Lanka. I remember wandering around the Cinnamon Grand Hotel in middle school hoping to get a glimpse of internationally famous cricket players like Lasith Malinga and Kumar Sangakkara.

Now, this hotel where I associated happy memories of staying up until 5 a.m. to watch the World Cup and running around with my brother is one of the 6 locations in Sri Lanka that was bombed on Easter.

Sri Lanka is a country that most of my peers have never heard of. It brings a smile to my face when I'm able to talk about the amazing experiences I've had on this island nation. I'm able to talk about how I almost got run over by an elephant during a safari in Yala National Park, how I took surfing lessons at Arugam Bay, and how I climbed all the way up Mount Sigiriya when I was 4 years old. All of these experiences have shown me the beauty of the people, the nature, the animals, and the culture of Sri Lanka. While there is so much to appreciate, there is also so much to acknowledge about its recent history.

In 2009, the 30-year civil war finally came to an end. I remember going to my parents' room when I was nine, and watching live streams of people in the streets celebrating that the war had finally ended. This was a war that caused the majority of my family to flee the country to avoid the violence and destruction. Now, almost ten years after the war ended, there was a coordinated attack on churches and hotels that led to the murder of over 300 innocent citizens and wounded around 500 people.

Sri Lanka isn't perfect, but it's roots and culture have made me who I am today. Even though I wasn't alive during the majority of the war, it has left a lasting impact on my family. My mom had to go by herself to Russia, without any prior Russian language experience, to avoid being in the middle of the war. She now speaks English, Russian, Tamil, and Sinhalese. I had other family members who fled to places like New Zealand, Nigeria, Canada, and Australia.

Because of the war, I have family all over the world who can speak Mandarin, Arabic, Dutch, Malay, French, Russian, and so many more languages. Being Sri Lankan has given me an international perspective on the world around me and has given me the insight to look past cultural differences. Instead of going to shopping malls with my cousins like my friends in the US do, I meander through bazaars in Singapore and Malaysia or go dune-bashing in the United Arab Emirates.

When people look at me, they never think that my last name could be Paul. Shouldn't it be something that is hard to pronounce or something much longer? My last name dates back to 1814 when missionaries from Williams College traveled all the way to villages in the Northern parts of Sri Lanka to share God's love. My great great great grandfather studied in one of the many Christian schools and his faith has been passed down from generation to generation. No matter how dark things got during the war, faith is what kept my family going.

Though Sri Lanka has faced adversity over the years, it continues to grow stronger. Through violence, hurricanes, government corruption, and internal conflicts, Sri Lanka continues to push through. Sri Lanka has its own flaws and imperfections, but what I've learned is that even on our darkest days, no one can take away faith and solidarity.

So today—9,170 miles away—I stand with the people of Sri Lanka.

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