How I keep my figure during the holidays

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December 19, 2013 by Caroline Mincks

The holiday season is full of temptations, and like so many mamas concerned with their figure, I always work hard to say no to extra helping of –

Okay, I can’t even type that with a straight face.

The truth is, I have spent so many Decembers going through a cycle of resolving to control myself, indulging, loathing myself for it, punishing myself for it, then resolving to control myself next time, indulging, loathing myself for it, punishing myself for it – you see where I’m going with this?

I became aware of the “thin = pretty” mentality in middle school. You know, mere months before I developed curves, because that’s fair. With puberty in hyperdrive and terrible eating habits, I headed down a frustrating road of gaining weight quickly, trying to find a quick fix, failing, and eating to comfort myself. I was never overweight, but I was certainly bigger than I was comfortable with. Not to mention that those aforementioned curves were only getting curvier and getting me a lot of the wrong kind of attention.

So I covered up at a time in my life when I should have been shedding my cocoon. I hunched over when I should have been standing up straight. I shamed myself over something I couldn’t totally control. It wasn’t fair, and it wasn’t right.

I was in college when I finally got a handle on my eating habits and made some huge changes. I started exercising more (which wasn’t as feasible of an option before my breast reduction), I ate right, and I bought some cute clothes for once. I felt good. When I got married, I weighed 113 pounds.

Now I weigh a good deal more than that and I look a little like something my son would craft out of Play-Doh. I’m soft, I’m lumpy, and everything jiggles. Everything. Stuff that really shouldn’t jiggle still does. I eat pretty well – holiday indulgences aside – and I get plenty of exercise, but I’m not practicing the strict self-control that I used to. I’m not jogging every morning and coming back to do 30 minutes of strength training and I don’t remember the last time I had a green smoothie. But I’m healthy, and more importantly, I’m happy.

Sure, there are some things I’d like to change, but they’re just details. I probably could have a six-pack and get back to that wedding day weight if I really wanted to – and maybe someday I will – but right now, I’m going to eat my Christmas cookies, take my walks with Ethan, have dance parties in the kitchen, and end my day with hot chocolate.

Now that Ethan is getting older, he will start to observe how I react to certain situations. I don’t want him or any hypothetical future children to think treats are a bad thing or something to feel guilty over. I want them to understand moderation and self-control, I want them to know the value of eating healthy food and getting plenty of exercise. But I also want them to know that they can have a treat and not punish themselves afterwards. I also want them to know that there are many ways to define healthy and that one day will not break them.

Don’t get me wrong. This is not me saying “real women have curves”, because real women come in all shapes and sizes and look beautiful in their own ways. When I mentioned the “thin = pretty” mentality, I was talking about that unattainable (for the average girl), unhealthy look that we see on the runways. This is also not me trying to say that my way is the right way and laughing at the women who do make a big effort to stay in control through the holidays. If it makes you happy, then that’s what matters. All I’m saying is that, for once, I’m giving myself a break.

So, this year, I’m not dieting. I’m probably not going to resolve to lose 15 pounds in the new year. I’ll revert back to better eating habits once I run out of buckeyes, but until then, I’m going to enjoy them and enjoy the fun of the season. I have the rest of the year to do crunches.

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