Red flag. I’m calling it: the fitness community is fat shaming the fun out of Thanksgiving.
While I’m sure this isn’t a new phenomenon, the crimes against crescent rolls and cranberry sauce have gotten too great to overlook this year, and I decided it was time to say something about it. The Fit Crasher is part of that same fitness community. And I want to voice my opinion on a toxic trend I’ve seen creeping into my inbox, blog roll, and social media feed.
Not a day goes by that I don’t see a tweet, blog post, or email ominously foretelling the tragedy of Thanksgiving dinner. From the level of frenzy out there you might think it was scientifically possible to gain weight just by thinking about the holiday. Seriously. Throw out those pumpkin spice candles people, a whiff will cost you at least three back-to-back spin classes.
Check out a few of my recent favorite headlines from around the internet:
Early Festive Spirit Causes an Average 5lb Weight Gain by New Year
How To Have a Healthy Thanksgiving That Doesn’t Suck
How much exercise would it take to burn off Thanksgiving dinner?
Do THIS plan & eat whatever you want on Thanksgiving without gaining weight.
We are in the Danger Zone of food-focused holidays w/ Halloween, Thanksgiving & Christmas.
As soon as I stopped laughing at the ridiculousness of it all, I realized that there was a disturbing trend underlying many of these “helpful” holiday themes. Do you see it too? Does anyone else read loud and clear: The only way you’ll enjoy the holidays this year is if you’re skinny. So don’t eat that. Definitely don’t drink that. Don’t even think of going back for seconds. And good lord child, get yourself to a gym before you even think of eating your next meal.
This has got to stop.
I appreciate that the holidays are traditionally seen as a time of caloric overindulgence. I do. As I’ve gotten older I also appreciate the push toward a more mindful approach to what goes on my plate and into my glass. I now realize eating half of mom’s famous pie–while delicious–is probably not going to make my stomach feel good the next day. One (okay, or two) slices will do.
But focusing on Thanksgiving as a time for fear and body shame is wrong. So I beg you fitness community, stop feeding the content beast. Stop making people second-guess themselves at the dinner table, wondering if what they put on their plate will *gasp* make them blow up like a big fat balloon the next day. Stop making people feel like eating is “sinning,” for which the only atonement is hours-upon-hours of obsessively trying to over-correct at the gym. I beg you, stop it and move on to a topic that uplifts instead of squashes. That makes people feel positive about their bodies and their choices, instead of shaming them into the fat corner because they actually enjoy Nanna’s cheese souflee.
Thanksgiving should be about giving thanks. Letting down your guard to enjoy time in your own skin. Celebrating life, family, and the abundance you were blessed with. Spending time with loved ones. Slowing down and appreciating a rare moment of togetherness away from the frenzy of daily life. Of conversations in the kitchen and flag football in the backyard. Of watching hours of reruns on the couch and cozying up by the fire with an excellent glass of wine and a cookie or two. Not about feeling guilty or fat. Ugly or overindulgent. A helpless case.
Your worth is counted in so much more than calories. Your fitness efforts so much more than a few repentant hours. Your wellness journey so much more than one day of eating.
So go ahead, I dare you, enjoy your Thanksgiving. Eat the pie. Enjoy the wine. If you over do it – guess what – we all do too. It happens, and we all bounce back in our own way. But I beg of you, if you take away nothing else, take away this: happiness, health, and wellness are not the same as skinny.