It’s mid-January and unfortunately, the new year diet culture messages haven’t dissipated.If this is your first year (or second or fourth) new year that you’re not signing up for a diet program or gym membership, it can be easy to feel like you’re doing something wrong. Especially with the barrage of advertisements for various diets this time of year, it can feel weird and maybe a little discouraging to be opting out. I wanted to give you a couple quick reminders if you’re feeling totally overwhelmed or defeated by all the diet-focused messaging this time of year.
I’ve been talking a lot about self-care this week with my clients- I don’t know whether it’s the time of year or what, but it seems like a lot of people I’m talking to this week are feeling particularly anxious. And it’s this time of year- holidays, finals, parties, wrapping up the year - that can feel really challenging to make time for yourself and engage in that good ol’ self-care. I’m not talking about spa days and fancy bath products from Lush - I mean the kind of self-care that makes your life more manageable (and enjoyable) and allows you to better connect to yourself and others. When’s the last time you took some time for yourself? If you can’t remember, if it was more than 24 hours ago, or if it’s something that feels really uncomfortable for you - those are all signs that maybe it’s something you need to create some space for in your life.
Two things I want to acknowledge: first, the title of this post is a play on the 25 days of Christmas because it seemed timely but the post itself is as secular as they come. Second, most of the things on this list require some degree of privilege whether that’s time or money or ability or food access. But I tried to make a list that felt accessible to all bodies in some way. I certainly can’t tell you how to best take care of yourself- but these are some things that help me personally as well as some of my clients.
Can you believe that it’s already more than halfway through November? It feels like this year is flying by and there hasn’t been much room to slow and down and breath. Thanksgiving is in less than a week (what?!) and while I am excited to go home and spend time with my family, I am also acutely aware that this can be a really challenging time if you’re struggling in your relationship with food. I’ve been talking with a lot of my clients recently about the upcoming holiday and wanted to share some of my thoughts about navigating food on the holidays.
Last week, I went to a yoga class for the first time in awhile (8 months? 10 months?) Yoga is something I wish I did more regularly and at one time I did, but now I’m super selective about the classes/teachers I’ll go to (No weight loss/fitness talk! No yoga practices being co-opted by diet culture! Do not talk to me about bikini season! Do not force me to do crunches and pretend that it’s some ancient practice!)
My relationship with exercise has been somewhat complicated over the years. There was a time in my life where I absolutely abused exercise in all its forms. Yoga at that time served only to burn more calories and I forced myself to go to the heated “power” classes, pretending that it helped with my mental health but not really fooling anyone. Yoga was basically an hour of forcing my body to do things that it didn’t want to do while it begged for sivasana so it could finally get a few minutes of forced rest.
It was not great.