How to Embrace Body Neutrality During Thanksgiving
Before diving into it, I want to start this off by saying the work you put in - be it at the gym, at home, on the roads, wherever - will not be impacted by enjoying a holiday. That said, Thanksgiving can be a hard time of the year, especially if you've spent a big portion of the past year working toward your fitness goals. It's a food focused holiday, and a lot comes with that. There's foods you aren't used to eating and you're out of your normal schedule. You might have less time to self, which means less time to workout or practice self care, along with stress that comes with holidays. These things can be triggering and lead to excessive and over-exercising.
Body neutrality is different than body positivity. Body positivity says you should always love your body. On the other hand, "body neutrality promotes acceptance of your body as it is, encouraging you to recognize its abilities and nonphysical characteristics over your appearance. This movement aims to decentralize the body as an object by challenging the myth that the way you look drives your worth" (healthline.com).
Do you remember back when you were a kid and you would just eat because it tasted good? Do you remember when you'd just play outside because you enjoyed it? Or how about just choosing an outfit that you liked simply because you liked it? There were no thoughts as to what your body looked like, how many calories you'd burn, or what other's might think. While it's impossible not to bring your life experiences into your every day thoughts, practicing body neutrality helps bring you back to this space.
I used to be that person who thought that body positivity was my way out of the grip that diet culture had on me. Throughout the years, I learned that accepting my body and where it's rather than trying to force positive thoughts onto myself was much more impactful. So, here I am sharing some techniques with you!
1. Avoid shows and social media accounts that make you feel negative about yourself
It's no secret that time on social media can be a negative experience. It can lead to comparison, which in turn, can lead to feeling down on yourself. My advice is to just avoid it! You're in control of who you follow and if they're content is on your feed. If it doesn't serve you, unfollow or mute them!
2. Eat the food you want to eat.
Thanksgiving is one day. Well, maybe a few if you have a big family, lots of friends, or work events. Enjoy it!
3. Exercise in a way that makes you feel good without over-doing it.
You don't need to exercise to eat or enjoy holiday food, period. Equating exercise as a form of punishment in regards to what you've eaten is a good way to create a bad relationship with working out.
4. Celebrate a non-appearance or scale related fitness win!
You know there's more you can celebrate when it comes to working out than just your weight or size. Did you squat a little heavier?! Can you do more push-ups on your toes than you could before? Did you run your longest run yet?! Celebrate the little things!
5. Write down one thing that makes you proud of yourself every day leading up to the holiday.
This one kind of goes along with celebrating fitness wins. If you can't think of something you're proud of yourself for ask a friend or relative! Even though you're only writing one thing down a day, practicing journaling and gratitude can help improve your psychological health.
6. Drop body talk from conversations.
While it seems normal, it can have negative impacts. There's lots of other things to talk about nowadays than someone's body, like how we're all on our toes waiting for Britney to talk to Oprah and Jamie Spears to go to jail.
Hopefully these tips help! Have a safe and happy Thanksgiving!