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Easy to gain weight during the holidays: be mindful

Posted on 28 December 2021 by Prairie Post

By Rachel Brown, AHS

Holiday season is here. Often you start seeing messages in the media around how to avoid weight gain over the holiday season, or starting your new year’s weight loss resolution to get fit.

These messages are printed on many “health” magazines at this time of year and January editions are often packed with articles promoting new weight loss diets. Not only will these diets not help accomplish your goals, they will leave you blaming yourself for this “failure.”

It’s vital to remind yourself that you haven’t failed and you are not to blame. These diets were never designed for the individual to succeed, rather they were designed to make companies money. Fad diets and trendy weight loss products regularly come and go, but the relationship we have with our body and with food stay with us forever.

Many individuals have experienced and/or are entrenched in diet culture. Diet culture is dangerous because it teaches people to listen to outside food rules when fueling their body. Food rules are problematic, often leading to feelings of stress, shame, anxiety, and unhappiness as well as disordered eating behaviours. Food should not hold morality, nor should there be guilt in what you eat. 

Take this time to be graceful and kind to yourself and others during this holiday season and into the New Year. This may be the first time some of us are seeing friends or family members in a long while, so remember, commenting on other peoples’ appearances is never appropriate nor helpful. In fact, a seemingly harmless comment could be more harmful than we realize.

Should someone in your life come to the social gathering this holiday season looking different than last time you saw them, please keep your comments to yourself. Focus on your own healthy relationship with food and refrain from discussing what other people are eating.  Similar to how everyone has different shoe sizes, so too does everyone have different body sizes. All bodies deserve respect and dignity. 

Enjoy the holiday foods this season without inviting guilt and shame to the gathering. I wish you a festive holiday season, filled with nourishing and satisfying food. 

Rachel Brown is a Registered Dietitian with Alberta Health Services, Nutrition Services. She can be reached by e-mail, publichealthnutrition.southzone@ahs.ca.

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