Do we want mental and physical health for 2023? Yes, please! Here is a review of hints for fitness and sanity over the winter holidays.
Get Ready for the Christmas Calorie Blitz
Eliminate the mindset that says, “So what if I go a little nuts over the holidays? January 1, I’m back in the gym. No, that’s a Sunday. Okay, January 2, the gym, for sure.” Then along comes January 3 or 4, and somehow you haven’t made it yet. So you decide to make a clean start the following week — on Monday the 9. See how this works? Or rather, doesn’t work? It’s almost as if today is the only day we ever really have.
How do we show children we love them without ruining their health? How do parents withstand the pressures to abandon all caution and splurge out on treats? How do we restrain kids from accepting every offer of a free cookie or candy cane without coming across like ogres?
Holiday Eating Trauma — A Field Ripe for Harvest
It isn’t only that there is food. There is a lot of it, magically appearing everywhere, even at unexpected places like the bank. At work, people bring in goodies to share. Fancy stuff arrives in the mail. At home and wherever you visit, chances are the edible offerings are more calorie-laden than usual. Depending on what school the kids attend, it is possible that they are being plied with treats.
Some family norms break down, as parents simply surrender to the atmosphere of indulgence. The estimable Dr. Billi Gordon, an expert on obesity and compulsive eating, described this time of year as “a recurring nightmare.”
Holidays and Childhood Obesity
Obese children face ferocious hazards during the holidays. Relatives who are rarely encountered will seldom refrain from remarking on how much bigger a child has grown since last time. Guess what, grownups? Even positive comments are not welcome. Just zip it. Better yet, have another piece of pie. Go ahead, put on a few pounds, and see how it feels to have people making your size a topic of conversation. Just leave the kid alone.
In Search of Holiday Sanity
For some reason, many grownups feel free to bust loose on holidays and break all the rules. If they were the only persons who suffered the consequences of this abandon, that would be bad enough. But the kids are watching. They are observing and absorbing, and tucking away the excuses they hear for future reference.
What exactly do we want them to see and hear? Could we, as mature, responsible holiday celebrants, maybe do better? Must we really overdo it in every possible dimension, or can we act a little more responsibly for the sake of our families? And, incidentally, for our own sake?
Your responses and feedback are welcome!
Image by Whitney/CC BY 2.0