I always love this time of year– gathering with loved ones, festive traditions, and lots of delicious food. Every year I look forward to treasured family recipes, like my grandmother’s boiled custard, my dad’s beef tenderloin, and my cousins’ roasted greens.
However, this time of year can also be a difficult one for body image, as we can feel the expectations to ‘look good’ for special events or can hear unsolicited comments from loved ones about bodies, portion sizes, or food preferences. In the coming weeks and months, countless diet and exercise companies will kick into high gear, trying to convince you that you need their products or services in order to become a new, better you. All of this messaging can lead to greater pressure to lose weight in ways that may be unhealthy or unsustainable.
I’m all for bodily autonomy, and I believe that everyone should be able to choose for themselves how they’d like to approach the holiday season and New Year, whether or not that involves a new exercise regimen or not. However, as I’ve had time to examine my own internalized views about health and wellness culture, I’ve found these readings have provided interesting perspectives that have challenged my pre-existing notions about what it means to be “healthy.” If any of these sentiments resonate with you, you may find some interesting reads on this list as well.
No matter what, I hope you’ll be kind to yourself in the next few weeks and into the New Year. These last few years have been a lot– we’re all doing the best we can!