Christmas is fast approaching and for way too many of us, that often means dealing with tone-deaf, passive-aggressive comments from family members, old friends, and relatives you only see once a year. It’s hard and it sucks, especially when you find yourself constantly having to explain to a group of very offline people what fatphobia is and why it’s bad.
That said, there’s really only one person you have to worry about when it comes to the holidays: yourself. For too many queer people, the pressure of dealing with unsupportive family or being stuck in a suffocatingly heterosexual environment can be simply, in the words of Sarah Lynn, “too much, man.” Self-care becomes paramount, and I’m not just talking out of my ass here.
In the Huffington Post this morning, Boston-based nutritionist Emmie Keefe explains that the idea of approaching holiday weight gain as “gluttonous” or something to be punished for afterward is actually quite an unhealthy premise.
“We should never exercise for the sake of burning calories,” Keefe says. “We should exercise for cardiovascular health, for mental health, for emotional health. It gives structure to your day. You can create social relationships through classes together,” she explained. “There are so many reasons to exercise. Burning calories shouldn’t be one of them.”
When we get into the cycle of indulgence followed by punishment, it doesn’t leave much of a middle ground. Thinking about weight gain, too, as a purely negative thing can really take a toll on our mental health. Who says eating a lot of food and vegging out on the couch with friends and family isn’t an important component of mental health? No one. No one says that, because it isn’t true. During the holidays, we need to nourish ourselves, even if it goes against society’s ideas about what kind of eating (and what kind of bodies) are appropriate.
So there you have it: eat, drink, be merry, and don’t look back. Or, in the words of Rocket Community Fitness owner Alyssa Rose, “go have fun and enjoy the bounty, go feel the joy … that’s the primary purpose of your body ― to experience joy.”