Recognizing and Avoiding Toxic Food Culture During The Holidays
Start writing a post
Health and Wellness

Recognizing and Avoiding Toxic Food Culture During The Holidays

Eating "healthy" doesn't mean eating nothing.

Recognizing and Avoiding Toxic Food Culture During The Holidays

A friend of mine once told me that he and his cousins weighed themselves before and after Thanksgiving dinner, and whoever weighed more after the meal won a cash prize. On the other side of the food-behavior spectrum, I’ve known friends and relatives to abstain from everything but plain turkey, turning their nose up at those who fill their plates with delicious Thanksgiving goodness as though they were the winners of a nonexistent self-control competition.

Before I knew more about disordered eating and the toxic all-or-nothing food culture in the United States, these behaviors seemed normal to me. I associated bingeing with going hard and having fun, and restriction with admirable control of one’s mind and body. These perceptions are unfortunately common, but they are wrong. There is a real danger in perceiving food habits in black-and-white: bingeing or restricting, both are equally bad for your physical and mental health.

Last holiday season, I found myself consumed with anxiety over the prospect of unexpected treats at work and full plates of food with family. I fueled all my energy into resisting the temptation to indulge in anything more than an occasional Christmas chocolate. I made it to New Year’s Day without gaining weight, and I felt absolutely victorious. Complaints of holiday weight gain from my peers grew exponentially, and I couldn’t relate. But was my holiday season fun? No. It was miserable. Restriction is miserable. I watched longingly as my friends laughed and talked as they snacked on homemade cookies, while I sat in the corner trying to use the force to launch the sweets out the window.

You are allowed to indulge, not only on holidays but whenever you want. There are no “good” or “bad” foods, just foods that are better in moderation. There’s no shame in eating more “junk” during this season than you would the rest of the year, but that doesn’t mean you need to eat all the things or nothing at all.

So, how do you go about identifying and avoiding toxic food culture? While this is different for everyone, I have found the best tactic is to allow yourself to live in the grey. Maybe one night you feel like having one more cocktail than usual with your friends. Allow yourself to say, “screw the calories,” and enjoy yourself! On the other hand, if everyone at the office Christmas party is stuffing themselves with treats to the point of overfullness, understand that you don’t have to participate. Listen to your hunger and fullness cues, and separate yourself from any pressure you might feel to conform or say, “fuck it.”

I get it: we all mess up our nutrition intake from time to time, but that doesn’t mean you throw healthy choices out the window and start again tomorrow. Imagine if you had 1,140 dollars, a dollar for every minute in your day. If you lost 10 of them, would you just throw the rest of the cash away? No! The same goes for food habits. While it is important to separate yourself from binging and restricting behaviors, give yourself grace. In the end, two Santa-shaped cookies aren’t going to kill you.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
Being Invisible The Best Super Power

The best superpower ever? Being invisible of course. Imagine just being able to go from seen to unseen on a dime. Who wouldn't want to have the opportunity to be invisible? Superman and Batman have nothing on being invisible with their superhero abilities. Here are some things that you could do while being invisible, because being invisible can benefit your social life too.

Keep Reading...Show less
houses under green sky
Photo by Alev Takil on Unsplash

Small towns certainly have their pros and cons. Many people who grow up in small towns find themselves counting the days until they get to escape their roots and plant new ones in bigger, "better" places. And that's fine. I'd be lying if I said I hadn't thought those same thoughts before too. We all have, but they say it's important to remember where you came from. When I think about where I come from, I can't help having an overwhelming feeling of gratitude for my roots. Being from a small town has taught me so many important lessons that I will carry with me for the rest of my life.

Keep Reading...Show less
​a woman sitting at a table having a coffee

I can't say "thank you" enough to express how grateful I am for you coming into my life. You have made such a huge impact on my life. I would not be the person I am today without you and I know that you will keep inspiring me to become an even better version of myself.

Keep Reading...Show less
Student Life

Waitlisted for a College Class? Here's What to Do!

Dealing with the inevitable realities of college life.

college students waiting in a long line in the hallway

Course registration at college can be a big hassle and is almost never talked about. Classes you want to take fill up before you get a chance to register. You might change your mind about a class you want to take and must struggle to find another class to fit in the same time period. You also have to make sure no classes clash by time. Like I said, it's a big hassle.

This semester, I was waitlisted for two classes. Most people in this situation, especially first years, freak out because they don't know what to do. Here is what you should do when this happens.

Keep Reading...Show less
a man and a woman sitting on the beach in front of the sunset

Whether you met your new love interest online, through mutual friends, or another way entirely, you'll definitely want to know what you're getting into. I mean, really, what's the point in entering a relationship with someone if you don't know whether or not you're compatible on a very basic level?

Consider these 21 questions to ask in the talking stage when getting to know that new guy or girl you just started talking to:

Keep Reading...Show less

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Facebook Comments