With the holidays swiftly approaching, I started to think about all the different things I was looking forward to this year (I'm a chronic daydreamer, you see) and after I went through a vast list of many delicious, indulgent, comforting things, I realized that they mostly involved: dressing up, enjoying the festiveness (I'm a fan of stringing lights everywhere), being around the people that I love, having some drinks, and eating. As a young girl, Christmas was my favorite time of the year. I was a Christmas junkie, if you will. I loved listening to holiday music; I watched as many Christmas specials and movies as I could (I still have to watch Elf or I freak out); I ate all the special foods my nana used to only make on the 25th; and I delighted in the giving (and getting) of gifts. It really was the most wonderful time of the year — they weren't kidding — and I rode that Christmas good-feelings high as long and as hard as I could.
From what I noticed, everyone around me did the same thing. My parents, family, friends, siblings, and neighbors all followed suit — everyone dressed up, drank, ate, and took advantage of the celebration. So for me, that's what was normal. That's what you did. I never, ever thought about my weight or worried about how much I would gain from pampering myself during the holidays.
That is, of course, until I turned on the television recently. There I was, watching my favorite morning television show The View , enjoying four intelligent, talented women discussing hot topics — when one of their discussions took a turn for the worse. Suddenly, the conversation jumped from breaking news to "people being worried about gaining weight over the holidays" — and lo and behold, a special guest who "is going to give you tips on how to eat during the holidays to avoid that dreaded holiday weight gain!"
Wait, what? Were they seriously going to feature this? Yes, yes they were. And the "special" guest proceeded to go through examples of different holiday foods, telling me unnecessary and absurd things like "there are 444 calories in four bacon-wrapped dates," and "Do not have a date in bacon unless it's Lady Gaga," (this guy was "gaga" for sure) while simultaneously trying to sell his weight-loss/diet book. I quite literally LOLed and thought for a moment that everyone must be able to see right through this guy, too — right? Here's this dude, preying on the fear and guilt of the masses who are all worried about their weight (and not only around the holidays, but the entire rest of the year, too) to sell his book and make money. But your money is dirty, Mr. Grinch. You are one of the many, these days, responsible for ruining Christmas. I mean, the "dreaded holiday weight gain"? Really, people — do we really gain so much weight over the holidays that it must be deemed a huge issue that requires preparation?
We know that hundreds of years ago, people would gather with their families and friends around the fires in the halls and homes of their loved ones, celebrating a holiday or special occasion. This gathering would be a big deal — something that everyone looked forward to all year — and when the time came to celebrate, everyone would have the same desires in mind: to dress up, dance, drink, and eat. It was natural for one to indulge and "bulk up" in preparation for the long winter. And it was symbolic — of human connection, celebration, experience, and happiness. I can bet that, back then, no one gave a second thought to feeling guilt or fear or worry over the weight that they would gain from enjoying their holiday. They just lived, and enjoyed.
I began to think about when we lost the holiday attitude of indulging, enjoying, celebrating, and living, and started worrying about weight gain. When did this mad obsession get so intense? Is it not enough that society worries about "gaining weight" and "being fat" the entire rest of the year? We need to take a break, people.
Now, I'm fully aware that humans like to be "health-conscious" these days, and there's nothing wrong with that. How we eat and how we monitor our own health is our own business, after all. However, with all things considered, I really don't believe one can actually indulge so much over the holidays that it would seriously effect one's overall health. Honestly, people are only concerned about gaining weight for superficial reasons, because heaven forbid you have a little more tummy than usual. And it's really, really sad to watch. If I stressed and worried out of guilt and fear over what I ate around the holidays and proceeded to refrain from the delicious experience of eating holiday foods (like those effing bacon-wrapped dates, dammit!) my inner self would be confused, upset, and disappointed in me.
It is at this point that I want to give you all a little piece of advice to remember that will hopefully keep you sane and grounded this holiday season (and even make it possible for you to enjoy it, too) and that is to listen to your clothes. I understand some of you might be a little confused by this notion, so please allow me to explain. For a lot of us, the self-love we have for our bodies is fed by looking good — when we look good, we feel good. And our clothes are the tools we use to look good; thus they're also the tools we use to feel good. I know, this is really deep stuff. But it is when you really think about it.
Listen, your clothes are what you live in; they have a multitude of functions, but the important reason we wear them is to feel good as we show off our identity and personality. And guess what — we can do that at any weight. You can be a size 0 or a size 26 and still feel good, love yourself, and love the way you look. And when you slip on that special, dazzling holiday outfit and you're feeling fierce, you can drink and eat to your heart's content over the holidays with peace of mind. When the celebrations are all over, that outfit is still going to fit. All your clothes are still going to fit you, actually. And if it happens that you gain a little weight, who cares? Chances are it won't be enough to actually notice, and if you're one of those people who does happen to notice the few pounds and freak, then you have ample time to lose it (motivated by the guilt-ridden promise of the New Year's resolution).
But not this year! Your clothes are going to be your wise voice of reason this year. Forget all you've been told to believe about "worrying about your weight" being the right thing to do this holiday. It's not. The weight-loss and diet industries tend to be the ones who fund most of the "obesity studies" out there, and for once we will not take the bait. They will not take the holidays away from us. Nope: Instead, we are going to turn our trust and attention to the fashion industry, which encompasses all ages, shapes, and sizes, and tells us all that we are happy, fly, and fabulous! Our ensembles will keep us grounded in reality. They will remind us of person that we are, the body we know in and out, and the body we (and only we) live in every day of our lives. That body is your body forever, no matter what weight you are. And instead of worrying about the inches of your waistline, you really should be more concerned with collecting happy experiences and enjoying as much out of life as you can.
It's really simple and easy, you guys. Dress yourself in something comfortable, something you love, something you feel your most fabulous, stunning self in — and then let how you feel on the outside be how you feel on the inside. Girl, you are dressed up something fierce and ready to party! You're ready to celebrate and drink the mead of the gods (or the nogg of the egg), you're ready to dance and let loose, and you're ready to eat and enjoy all that delicious food completely guilt-free. Why? Because you're living that life! Your life. The only one you have. And after it's all said and done, your clothes will still be there for you, ready to give you that confidence and power to take on the next day. And the day after that. And so on and so forth.
We have to stop living in the fear and guilt of "tomorrow" and live in the here and now of today. We have to enjoy the special moments in life as they come, while we still can. Personally, instead of worrying about gaining weight this holiday, I'm going to put on a gorgeous outfit, enjoy some drinks, eat some food, and look and feel fabulous while doing it, sans guilt. I know that if I happen to gain weight, I'm still going to look and feel amazing. Because it's not what size you are that matters, but rather the happy, enjoyable moments that you experience.
Don't lose focus on what's actually important in life, you guys. If you happen to gain any weight over the holidays, look at it as a positive thing — as evidence that you have lived, and had an amazing time doing it. So to all of you this holiday season, I ask you to please listen to your clothes; they'll tell you exactly what to. Your fashion is there for you, just like your body is there for you. Your clothes are an extension of yourself, so do yourself a favor and respect the wisdom they have to offer. There is so much more to gain in life that has nothing to do with numbers on the scale. Don't diet and worry and fear, no! Go forth and celebrate! Drink, eat, and be merry!