Every year it makes the rounds on Facebook in groups, fitness pages, Instagram, etc. You know, that one poster that tells you how many push-ups or burpees or miles your candy, Thanksgiving dinner, Christmas brunch will “cost” you. I saw one “motivational post” on a Women of CrossFit group once (Remember to not get off track this Thanksgiving, ladies!), and when I commented with my opinion (No men’s group would ever post shit like that), people ganged up on me to tell me to lay off.
It’s ok. I get mad when I’m hungry, too.
I get that the holidays are the hardest time of the year to control what you eat if you have weight loss goals and are working hard toward them throughout the year. I get that it’s hard to “get back on track” if you allow yourself one day of “off limits” food. I get that I am lucky that I don’t currently struggle with weight. But these calorie posts and, “Watch what you eat, ladies!” comments kill me. Our culture is SO focused on this sort of perspective. It’s toxic! To our minds and to our bodies! It’s what leads to kids thinking they’re fat. I thought I was fat in middle school because I heard this sort of talk from people I went to school with who heard it from adults! That’s where it starts.
Calorie counting should not be a middle-school math activity.
If you’re doing it right most of the other days of the year, a day of indulgence will not kill you. You will not gain 100 pound, 50 pounds, 15 pounds, or really any pounds in the long-term from eating candy this Halloween night. You will not immediately die of a heart attack if you enjoy turkey and stuffing and mashed potatoes (white, starchy goodness) and gravy on Thanksgiving. And, for heaven’s sake, eat a pastry on Christmas morning — because that won’t doom you to obesity for life either.
The notion that we need to “burn off” our indulgences and treats that we are enjoying during a holiday enforces our already distorted relationships with food. This is why people drink “Diet Coke” and STILL THINK IT’S BETTER FOR YOU THAN REGULAR. Eat margarine (how many ingredients?!) and think that real butter (2 ingredients) is evil. Choose Oreos (they’re vegan!) over homemade treats.
We need to stop focusing on CALORIE COUNT. That’s not what matters in life. So eat your freaking candy tonight, and don’t worry about the burpees. Life will go on.