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Taylor Dilk

Happy Monday my beautiful people!

I wanted to talk about something near and dear to my heart. It’s something that used to CONTROL my holidays….

That something is… the GUILT I would feel for consuming delicious calorie dense holiday foods. 

If you read this and immediately felt a rush of anxiety, please keep reading, this is for you.

I grew up in a very health and workout-centric household. My parents used to bodybuild, my mom was a Broncos cheerleader, and my dad trained with pro ball players. Needless to say, the health-nut lifestyle was in my blood. It wasn’t until my junior year of high school that I really started to take the “healthy” lifestyle seriously, but it all unfolded a little TOO seriously.

I started to become extremely bodily appearance focused. I had just moved to a new high school and I wanted everyone to see me as a fit but tiny and delicate girl. This led to the point of being incredibly strict with my diet and exercise, especially during the holidays.

 

Here’s how it went:

1. I would always make sure I do a cardio AND lifting session before every single food-focused event.

2. I would have a protein shake directly before every food-focused event to make myself “feel less hungry” before I got to the event (read that “trick” in a “health” magazine lol, silly).

3. I would only “have a bite” of my FAVORITE holiday foods.
4. I would feel SO guilty about indulging, that I would immediately restrict the next day.

5. Cardio was my bff the next day.

6. I would avoid any opportunities to see my friends because I thought they would invite me a party that involved food and that then I’d be sent through this exact cycle again.
  • I felt absolutely miserable and mentally drained.
  • I missed out on relationships with loved ones and felt like good times were being had without me (because I was thinking about JUST the food, not the people or interactions or SPECIAL time of year!).
  • I felt isolated.
  • I felt like I had to control the situation, and because of this, I didn’t feel like I could be my best, happy self around my family and friends.
  • I developed extreme anxious feelings whenever going to any function.
  • I felt judged (by myself but also others around me).
  • I felt entirely empty after every function because I was not fully present with my loved ones.
  • I look back and I REGRET it!

So I had to ask myself this: at the end of the day, when I’m laying my head down on the pillow... will I feel truly HAPPY if I let the focus of how I look on the outside define how I interact with family and friends and food? Is it REALLY only all about how I look on the outside? My answer which once was, “yes, for sure” began to transform to “you are not your body; your outer shell does not define you”. And this phrase is something I’d repeat to myself whenever I felt hints of the “restricting because of food guilt” mindset creep up. Combine that with some deep breaths and I began to feel present again. 

All that to say, I hope you can allow yourself enjoyment over the holidays. I know it can be so difficult to not let what you consume, consume you. It’s something we have to be aware and critical of every day - but I promise you, if you slowly work at it with a positive mindset, you WILL feel fulfillment through it all. As always, it’s about finding balance and a sweet spot that is attainable and sustainable for YOU! 

Yes, of course you can workout hard during the holidays - it can be such a great release amidst the holiday stressors. But remember to enjoy yourself too! And of course, if you don’t want to workout, that’s completely 100% great as well - the gym will always be there! It’s important to remind ourselves that time with loved ones will bring so much long-term joy and balance to our lives.

I couldn’t help but share my past experiences with you because at times, I wish that I had someone telling me these things back in the day. I am the happiest, most balanced I have EVER been in my life, and I hope this outline of my experience has provided some value to you. LIVE YOUR LIFE full of balance, joy, and happiness. THAT is what we need to focus on, because when we are 90 looking back on our lives, these key moments with loved ones are the memories we want dancing around our brains. Love you and happy holidays!

Have such a beautiful week! Xo 

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