There are a lot of interesting things to talk about come holiday season, like whose idea it was to cover pretzels in peppermint chocolate (genius) or why Starbucks refuses to hold onto those adorable red cups year-round. Yet, somehow, holiday weight gain often seems to be a go-to topic of conversation, especially amongst women and feminine people. Now, don't get me wrong: Y'all have a right to talk about whatever strikes your heart's fancy. However, I believe we spend far too much of our lives correlating our worth to our weight. It's likely the reason that every time I find myself in a group of ladies, diet talk starts to feel like this inescapable and all-consuming force.
What is diet talk? Well, The Militant Baker's Jes M. Baker puts it like this on her blog:
We women bond over hating our bodies. We joke about how we've only had coffee today, how we're stressed so we're going to need that chocolate. We praise ourselves for being "good" or verbally punish for being "bad;" giving our food the power to determine our morality. We congratulate each other when we have a successful day of deprivation.
Diet talk is the thing that makes us feel self-hating when we eat a cupcake, and self-congratulatory when we eat a celery stick. It's the reason we applaud weight loss, but think talking about weight gain is pretty taboo (let alone talking positively about weight gain). And come holiday season, it's probably why we're petrified of eating the turkey leg and drinking the egg nog. What I'm proposing is that this holiday season, we take the focus away from holiday weight gain and onto the joy that is a good pumpkin pie. Here are 21 reasons to take the plunge.
1. The Holidays Are Supposed To Be A Joyous Time
No matter what holidays you celebrate (or don't), this time of year is supposed to be a wonderland. From ice skating to cinnamon coffees to the Christmas special of Doctor Who (OK, those are usually pretty crap), now is not the time to be miserable.
2. Weight Gain Isn't Such A Scary Thing
Sometimes, our negative feelings about weight gain aren't "our" feelings at all. Rather, they're social sentiments implanted in our brains that can make it impossible for us to know whether we even prefer how we feel at a lower weight, or whether we're simply following the so-called rules of the world.
Let me tell you this, though: Gaining weight kind of changed my life. I'm not saying such will be the case for everyone, but when I figured out that the slender body I was striving for was never one that made me feel at home in my body, I was able to embrace weight gain as something positive — something more me.
3. "Fat" Isn't Such A Scary Thing, Either
Contrary to popular belief, fat isn't such a bad thing. It's not ugly or automatically unhealthy or cause for self-deprecation. It's just a characteristic. In fact, it's a characteristic you kind of need to stay alive. In the words of activist Virgie Tovar, lose hate, not weight.
4. Heck, Maybe You'll Feel Warmer
There's a lot of mixed information floating around the world about whether or not fat actually keeps you warm. I'm usually tempted to think that it does. Plus, I definitely feel less cold overall at 250 pounds than I did at 150. Sure, I'm still going to freeze if you throw me into a snowstorm for too long, but maybe I'll freeze a little less quickly.
5. Seriously, The Start Of Winter Calls For Cushioning
Along those lines, you're really going to want that extra insulation to keep you comfortable until the sun comes out again. As we all know, that sun can take its sweet time prepping for a comeback.
6. Also, You're Pretty Lucky To Have Food
Seriously, if you have access to enough food to potentially gain weight, then you're a lucky human. It's as simple as that. So rather than feeling guilty over consuming it (chances are it'll go to waste otherwise, right?), just enjoy it. Acknowledge your privilege, be thankful for it, and get to having some quality time with those sweet potatoes.
7. If Anything, Weight Gain Is Just An Excuse To Buy New Clothes
So you went up a size... Who cares? Take your holiday muffin top to your favorite store (or, you know, type in the name of your favorite store into Google), and get yourself some bigger pants.
8. If You Really Want To, You'll Probably Be Able To Lose It
What goes up can come down. While I don't think it's worth your brain power to worry about holiday weight gain, some people obviously do prefer the way they feel at a lower weight. Should you want to lose weight after the holidays, I'm sure you can. My only advice? Consider leaving diets behind (they're proven not to work) and adopt some body positive mantras for your workout routine. From my experiences, when exercise is allowed to be about wellbeing and not solely about weight, it's far more enjoyable.
9. No One Is Likely To Notice Anyway
I'm willing to bet that, most of the time, we notice changes in our bodies way more than anyone else does. It makes sense, right? You're the one spending the most time in your body. And you probably see yourself naked the most. So even though diet talk is a common thing, it's usually pretty rooted in the self. Most people won't notice when you put on a few pounds. But if they do — and they react negatively — it might be time to reconsider your relationship with said person.
10. There'll Probably Be Kids Around Who Don't Need To Hear It
You know how everyone says kids are like sponges because they absorb everything they hear? I'm pretty sure that's true, which means the negative things you say aloud about weight will likely seep into the ears of the kiddos in your vicinity. IMO, it's pretty important that kids learn not to fat shame. It's pretty important that they learn to be body positive, and treat themselves (and others) with the care and love they deserve. The less you talk about weight gain like this totally terrible thing worthy of your tears and anger and resentment, the less likely the kids around you will pick up on the negativity and self-loathing.
11. Self-Sabotaging Is Never A Good Idea
By "self-sabotaging," I basically just mean consciously taking actions you know are going to make you miserable. When you deprive yourself of delicious food and worry about calorie counting at the dinner table, you're probably not going to be enjoying your evening to the fullest. If you can decide to worry about holiday weight gain, however, you can decide to not worry about it.
12. When Else Do You See This Much Delicious Food In One Place?
It really is a miracle, no? Like even more miraculous than ham on its own, because you'll probably get ham and potatoes and cherries and pie all in one place. And it's all just damn amazing.
13. Why Wouldn't You Take Advantage Of The Feasting?
The holidays tend to lend themselves to one gigantic feast after another. Between relatives and friends and parties at your parents' houses and work-related affairs, tons of folks use the holiday season as an excuse to throw a shindig, usually equipped with loads of deliciousness. This is a once-in-a-year thing, guys. Don't let it pass you by without taking full advantage.
14. 'Tis The Season For Cuddling, No?
What better time to snuggle up and retreat under the blankets for days at a time than winter? Seriously, cuddling with someone you like or love or have some steamy evening plans with can be made all the cozier with the addition of some extra pudge. I promise.
15. Channeling Mr. & Mrs. Claus Ain't Such A Bad Thing
Mr. And Mrs. Claus Salt & Pepper Shaker, $12, etsy.com
Granted, no one really knows what Mr. and Mrs. Claus look like. Some non-believers don't even think they exist! But from my experiences, the Claus's are usually depicted as being jolly and round individuals with porky tummies and rosy cheeks. If that sounds cute, it's because it is.
16. You'll Make A Statement In Candycane-like Stripes
Pretty Secrets Micro Fleece Onesie, $19.99, simplybe.com
The holidays seem pretty synonymous with stripes. From candy canes to striped pajamas to stockings on the fireplace, loads of holiday paraphernalia is decked out in horizontal stripes. Coincidentally, horizontal stripes are one of these things plus size people (or anyone with a bit of pudge) are supposed to avoid. But you can be a rule breaker! Just wear the adorable holiday-themed patterns no matter how much weight you gain. You'll look cute, and you'll be saying eff you to unnecessary beauty standards to boot.
16. You Probably Only Want To Wear Snuggly Clothes Anyway
So, leggings and cuddly sweaters are basically all we really want to wear in the winter anyway. While it'd be kind of nice if everyone in the world could feel confident rocking tighter-fitting clothes when heavier, that's really not the world we live in (yet!). If you do happen to be worried about your body right now (not that you should, because it's pretty rad as is), you can always opt for the comfort that is the holiday sweater. I mean, no one really wants to get dressed to the nines in the dead of January, amirite?
17. It's Worth Repeating: There Is Too Much Good Food To Pass Up
So please, don't do it. You'll be thinking about the turkey or candy apples for days if you deny yourself.
18. It's Also The Same As Weight Gain Any Other Time Of Year
Just believe me when I say that weight gain is nothing to be ashamed about. Sometimes our bodies do it naturally; sometimes our lifestyles change; sometimes we might just want to put on some pounds. No matter what the reason, it's no one else's business if you do gain weight. And it's certainly not cause for shame. Your worth is not your waist size.
19. Why Worry When You Could Be Singing?
It doesn't have to be singing per se, although holiday jingles are some of the catchiest things ever. What I mean is that there's so much else to experience this time of year! Like cuddling next to a fireplace. Or experimenting with as many different alcohol-filled chocolates as you can. Or seeing how your city decorates its streets. There's a ton of cool stuff you can be doing that has nothing to do with calorie counting.
20. VBOs Look Cute In Holiday Colors
Have you ever seen a cute muffin top draped in holiday hues? Glorious. Your tummy will appreciate the bright colors and cheerful affection.
21. There Are Just More Interesting Things To Think About
If you've reached the bottom of this list, then you're hopefully thinking that this point has sort of been the point. The human brain is a magical thing, and the holidays a special time. They're a time to see the people you love, shop at the stores you adore, take in all the sparkle, watch all the movies, and, yes, eat all the food.
Nine times out of 10, I guarantee that eating the meals you crave and allowing yourself to live in a moment are more conducive to happiness than restricting yourself, blaming yourself, or feeling guilty about something you never had to feel guilty about in the first place. Who knows? If you do gain weight — but start realizing that doing so isn't this absolutely scary thing — you might even... like it. And if you don't, it's totally in your power to do something about it.
But in that moment when the choice is between a slice of cherry pie and total bliss or no slice of cherry pie and a lot of regret, you might want to opt for the former.
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