My holiday was so wonderful! Such great family and such good food.
Then Friday hit and I was informed that I needed to cleanse, detox, and essentially repent for the previous 24 hours of my life.
I feel assaulted and insulted by the plethora of diet & detox “advice” filling my inbox, my Facebook wall, and even the yoga studio, where I was informed that Saturday’s class was all about “burn the turkey, restore the core”.
Since when did that beautiful home cooked meal I shared with family go from nourishing and delicious to toxic and guilt-ridden?
I understand, holidays are notorious for an abundance of food and festive atmosphere (ie flowing booze) and it can be challenging to not overeat while getting carried away with all that spirit but let’s look at that for a moment.
In the U.S we’ve created a dirty cycle; huge amounts of food to celebrate occasions and holidays and the general motto that overindulging is your duty as a good dinner guest. When the dishes are cleared we look at each other, groan, and start our plan of redemption for all the “damage” we just did.
The camaraderie of commiserating over overindulgence does nothing but perpetuate the notion that food is foremost a source of regret.
The real toxin here is the notion that one piece of pie somehow equals x minutes of exercise and two pieces of pie, well, that equals x minutes of self-loathing and the need to drink nothing but green juice and magic lemonade for the rest of time, or at least until the next celebration.
One of the most toxic things you can do to your body is to have guilt, stress, and regret over what you put in your body.
If you ate and drank more or richer foods than usual or changed your exercise routine over the holiday last week than the best thing you can do for yourself is to move on. Remember the pie with great fondness then move on. Get back to your usual daily life, rather than swinging so far the other direction in some panicked attempt to erase the memory of all that glorious sustenance.
And, if things aren’t, ahem, moving along quite as quickly as you’d like (digestion can get sluggish with travel, alcohol, and change in diet and routine) then by all means drink a green juice, eat a salad, and exercise but do it because it’s good for you and feels good to you.
But please, for the love of chocolate and all other sacred creations, do not exercise as penance. Do not let guilt or regret drive you to the treadmill.
When people ask me about how my holiday was I have chosen to say how wonderful it was to spend time with family, how lovely it was to drink champagne on the beach and play in the waves on Thursday afternoon, and how sweet and goofy it was to teach my aunts, uncles, cousins, and parents an exercise class. I came home from Florida filled with love and good memories, not toxins and I truly hope you feel the same way about your Thanksgiving.