How to Enjoy Holiday Eating, Without Fear

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Happy Wednesday everyone! Hope you’re all having a great week so far πŸ™‚

Anyone else get a short week this week for Veterans Day?! It’s not a paid company holiday for us but my boss is letting me take it off and I have some major fun planned to boot! Details to come later πŸ˜‰

With the holiday season gearing up – can you believe Thanksgiving will be here in about 2 weeks?! It brings to me a topic I’ve wanted to talk about that I feel effect many women, either with or without a past of disordered eating. You see it splayed all over the magazines “How to not gain weight this holiday season!” “Ways to keep your waistline in check during the holiday’s!” “How to navigate holiday parties the healthy way!” It all boils down to one thing – how do we maintain our healthy lifestyles while enjoying the indulgent foods this holiday season? It’s a struggle I still deal with and wanted to talk about with you all.

During my eating disordered days and when I was underweight there were a lot of negatives that came with it – lack of energy, lack of confidence, thinning hair, dry skin, nutrient deficiencies, feelings of deprivation and binge eating, etc. But there was one thing that, dare I say it, I did like about it – I could enjoy indulgences without any guilt since I knew in the back of my mind I needed those calories and could afford them. Crazy how the mind works, huh? I’m embarrassed to say it but I’ll be honest here in saying that’s what I liked about being underweight and why I stayed that way for so long. I feared being at a healthy weight because I feared not being able to indulge and do so in a moderate way – and then once at a healthy weight, I feared whether or not I could trust my body in staying there, or would the weight just keep climbing? But to live in fear with my weight and food is no way to live, neither is being underweight.

Through the years of overcoming my disordered eating and gaining to a healthy weight, I learned to trust my body and feel that right now it’s right where it wants to be. And though I’ve overcome a lot of fears through those years, there’s one I still battle with. How to (guilt free) enjoy holiday eating? I know to some it may seem so simple to answer – just enjoy the darn food, it’s the holiday’s, wheeee! Yeah wish it were that easy – with a mind like mine that’s just not the case. It’s still in the back of my mind of how I’m “mindfully” and “intuitively” going to enjoy these foods without fear all while enjoying what matters most during the holiday’s – being with family. And for these next couple months that’s going to be my main goal – to be present and enjoy every second with those I love so much. In the grand scheme of things does it really matter if I gain a couple (or 5!) pounds because I enjoyed delicious holiday foods with family and friends? I think not. Though I do want to remain healthy and exercise this holiday season because that’s what makes me happy (and trust me, you don’t want to see a cranky Shayla) – I also really want to enjoy eating my way through this holiday season, without fear.

I’ve grown and learned so much through this community – it helped me during my darkest days. So now I’d like even more help from you all…

I’d love to know from all you wonderful ladies how do you enjoy holiday eating, without fear/guilt? Do you struggle with it or does it come easy for you? What are your tips for maintaining your healthy lifestyle during this holiday season? Do you let yourself become more lax during the holiday season and board the healthy train come New Year’s?


Today I was especially loving my outfit and wanted to share with you all. I was gifted these adorable polka dot tights a couple years ago from my family and I’m just now wearing them!! What took me so long?

Sweater dress – Forever 21; Tights – Hue (Macy’s); Boots- Via Spiga

Do you like polka dots?! Whether they’re in season or not, I love them! πŸ™‚

And yesterday was a sad day for my tried and true workout companion, who pushes me through a tough workout and gets those endorphins flowin’…Mr. iPod here is done. Gone to iPod heaven. It’s a sad day.

What kind of iPod do you have? And suggestions on what I should get?!

Well everyone, I hope you all have a wonderful day and I’ll see you all back here tomorrow! πŸ™‚


12 thoughts on “How to Enjoy Holiday Eating, Without Fear

    Kjirsten- Balanced Healthy Life said:
    November 9, 2011 at 12:12 pm

    I think sticking as close to your normal weekly eating/exerise habits as you can is crucial during the holidays. I look at the holidays as a few days were my food choices wont be the best and then a few days were treats/holiday goodies are going to be consumed. Knowing that I’m going to indulge in treats makes to stick with my healthy eating habits and exercise routine on the days I know I have nothing fun and festive planned. Also, at holiday parties and Thanksgiving and Christmas themselves, I like having healthy options so I know I can snack on clean items such as veggies, fruits, lean meats and nuts. I’ll try and eat the healthy goods first and then if I’m still hungry I’ll eat some treats. The holidays don’t work if you deprive yourself but you also don’t want to give up a healthy lifestyle for a couple months so you can eat your heart out. Ya know? You need to find that good balance.

      Shayla @ The Good Life responded:
      November 9, 2011 at 12:23 pm

      Thanks girl for these great tips! πŸ™‚

      Yes!! That healthy balance is so key and one I’m hoping I can do this holiday season. I really don’t want to revert back to my old habits of depriving, then indulging. It’s all about balance! I like your tip of having the healthy goods first thing on Xmas and Thanksgiving – set a good tone for the day…although even if I’m not that hungry I’ll still indulge in those treats – eek! πŸ˜‰

    Amy said:
    November 9, 2011 at 12:25 pm

    I struggle bad during the holidays. The last 14 years I’ve been underweight and this is the first year i’m even close to where I need to be and I’m really scared with going out of town. I normally carry some of my own stuff so I have familar stuff with me as my in laws are from the south and I’m not one to eat all the fried turkey and stuff.
    its still really scary though and I feel so out of place carrying my own food but its either that or i end up not eating all day.

      Shayla @ The Good Life responded:
      November 9, 2011 at 12:38 pm

      I know how you feel Amy…with me going to NY next week I at first was worried about the food but my in-laws are the absolute best and are keeping foods I like in the house for me – it was that or I was going to ship a box of my foods over, lol! In the end, you have to do what makes you happy and like you said, you gotta eat so I think bringing your food will be fine. They all love you and accept you and remember to enjoy the holiday’s with them…if you need to talk about it I’m always here for you πŸ™‚

    Shanna, like Banana said:
    November 9, 2011 at 12:25 pm

    Ooooeeeeee girl, you look GREAT in that outfit! Love it times infinity πŸ˜‰ I’m a huge fan of polka-dots and also love the tights/sweater dress /boot combo. Huge fashion WIN πŸ™‚ And yes Faboosh is written all over this ensemble!!!

    As for the eating, I’ve definitely experienced what you have…2 Christmases ago, I was about 108lbs when I headed to my in-laws, which is frankly way too low for me (I’m better off at 116lbs). Initially I kept depriving and then I just let the flood gates open wide and ate what I wanted. I can’t say if this decision was good or bad, but it was a turning point to getting back to ‘normal’ eating.

    For me, as long as I am still getting some exercise in over the holidays, I feel pretty okay with indulging a bit (a lot) more. I call it surface weight πŸ˜‰ There has never been holiday weight gain that I couldn’t lose fairly easily.

    This year will definitely be different though based on when Sawyer chooses to make an appearance πŸ˜›

      Shayla @ The Good Life responded:
      November 9, 2011 at 12:46 pm

      Awwww thank you lovely!!! You put the hugest smile on my face – you’re the fashionista so getting a fashion win from you is huge – weeeee! πŸ™‚

      Your experience is exactly what would happen to me…I’d deprive and then let the flood gates open and indulge on everything. Like you said, it wasn’t healthy and wasn’t a way for me to live.

      I like that, surface weight πŸ˜‰ And like you said, exercise is key to indulge and weight I’ve gained from holiday eating goes away pretty easily (mostly water weight!) so I have to remember that, thanks girl πŸ™‚

      Hmmm perhaps the holiday goodies will help Sawyer make his appearance so that December due date happens πŸ˜‰

    Ashley @ My Food 'N' Fitness Diaries said:
    November 9, 2011 at 12:53 pm

    I have so much to say about this post, I don’t even know where to start! As you read my post on this similar topic last week, I can COMPLETELY relate to you. The part where you said you had a fear of being at a healthy weight because then you couldn’t indulge like you could when you were underweight – wow, I felt like those same exact words were coming out from me. I love your positive thinking and your goals throughout the holiday season. YOU can do it. WE can do it! πŸ™‚

    Also, I LOVE your tights – so so cute!

      Shayla @ The Good Life responded:
      November 10, 2011 at 10:42 am

      Thanks girly! Todd even liked them too – when he came home he’s all “you’re tights are so cute – they’re polka dots!” I thought that was pretty cute coming from him πŸ˜‰

      Girl we can so do it!! I love your positive spirit too. We have so much in common with this and your post about holiday food anxieties really resonated with me and inspired me to write this. This year I know we have it in us to be healthy, respect our bodies, and maintain our healthy lifestyles while enjoying indulgent food and celebrating this holiday season – we can do it! πŸ™‚

    loftyappetite said:
    November 9, 2011 at 1:44 pm

    I definitely think the media is too obsessed with this holiday overeating. It’s not that much different than all the barbecues we go to in the summer, is it? to me it isn’t, so i always get annoyed and view it as a gym marketing ploy πŸ˜‰ I strongly believe in eating healthy during the week, and indulging on the weekends. without going nuts in any extreme, of course! obviously there will be treats at work too, but just all in moderation. and if you overindulge, it’s okay because it’s the holiday season! January through March is so boring and treatless, so enjoy because you can spend your days working out during those sad months. πŸ™‚
    also, my ipod broke yesterday too!! Tho my iPod is 5 years old! I’m pretty sure their plan is to make them so everyone replaces them every year, but I have the very original video iPod and it’s taken me this far! Luckily I have the internal iPhone iPod as backup, but I was sad… my battery won’t stay charged longer than 15 minutes!

      Shayla @ The Good Life responded:
      November 10, 2011 at 10:47 am

      You make such a great point Mila – I think it’s a definite marketing ploy and you’re right in that it’s not much different from the celebratory bbq’s we create during the summertime. And I love your point that Jan-Mar are so boring and treat-less so it’s the perfect time to reign in the healthy habits after an indulgent holiday – so true! And I agree in that life is too short not to enjoy these treats during the holiday season – it’s meant to be enjoyed and celebrated! Thank you for these great reminders Mila πŸ™‚

      I had that iPod for quite a long time too – it even survived a trip in the washing machine! So I guess it lived a good life πŸ˜‰

    Andrea @ Andrea out loud! said:
    November 11, 2011 at 5:56 am

    LOVE the tights Shayla, looking amazing as always! πŸ™‚
    And I love the post about this as always. I am the worst with holidays because I sorta call nothing off limits – well just on the day. I try to take it easy at parties and stuff like that but on thanksgiving day you better believe I eat A LOT! haha

      Shayla @ The Good Life responded:
      November 15, 2011 at 3:53 pm

      Andrea thank you so much!!

      I agree in that it’s hard not to go all out on the day of the actual holiday – but at the same time I feel like we deserve it for how good we are for the remaining days of the year! πŸ˜‰

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