Katie Postma is a 20 year old blogger currently studying in the city of Liverpool and we spoke to her all about embracing Christmas food and the negativity that is often associated with this time of ‘indulgence’.
After starting her health and journey back in early 2016, she since has had her own difficulties embracing food sustainably and healthily into her lifestyle. In mid-2017 she was diagnosed with orthorexia, an unhealthy fixation with what the individual considers to be healthy eating, and as a result was drastically underweight and lacked confidence in herself and in other aspects of life. In her blog she likes to talk about the issues that she herself has faced, and how she now has a healthier relationship with both herself, food and life itself. She hopes to spread positivity through her platform to those struggling, and also give an insight into her own life and travels, sharing her delicious, simply plant-based recipes along the way as well as her foodie finds from around the world.
Guilt. Why is this a word that is often attached to the Christmas period? Why is it that in certain periods where ‘festive’ foods emerge, suddenly there is such a focus and stress put on about feeling guilty for ‘indulging’ in supposedly ‘bad’ foods?
I just don’t understand how a time that historically represents spending valuable time with friends and family, showing love and spreading joy has suddenly become a time where thoughts are submerged into one’s of extreme guilt and anxiety.
It can be a difficult time for anyone who surrenders to feelings of guilt, and let’s it overwhelm them. I definitely have been in the past, as a consequence being unable to enjoy the festive season and the experiences around me in favour of squeezing in an extra gym session. I’d rather have eaten a salad than a mince pie because it made me feel at rest with my own mind and body. I am not going to sit here and pretend that I, now, don’t get unhelpful and unhealthy thoughts, because that would be untrue. However, the difference is that, now, I try to not surrender to them. I let them come and go, and instead practice the gratitude that I have felt through those foods and experiences and embrace the feelings, acknowledging them but not giving them power. Instead I appreciate the experiences that were made, the laughs that were shared and the memories that will be remembered. When you put these things into perspective, the guilt loses it’s dominance, and you begin to forget about it. Feelings of guilt and anxiety are short-lived when you don’t give the feelings and thoughts power, only give attention to the beautiful thoughts.
What is unhelpful about this so called ‘indulgent’ period is that it is represented so statically, so black and white.
It represents the period as a ‘take it or leave it’ phase, where you must, either indulge to an extreme extent or be ‘really good’ and not let the festive season impede on your so called ‘progress’. All of these representations feed of feelings of body satisfaction, and body image dissatisfaction, and that is what gives it it’s power, which can be really dangerous. This is especially true for women, and I am by no means saying that boys and men are not affected by the festive season, but much of the media content that is released around Christmas diets and fitness is centred around women and girls. This can be especially overwhelming if an individual is suffering with body dysmorphia, an eating disorder (in recovery), or you are simply unhappy with yourself and your body, and feel the pressure of ‘perfection’. All of these unhelpful messaged are heavily communicated within the media, whether it be the TV- screens being over saturated and focussed on all things food, or social media encouraging you to ‘work off’ those Christmas calories. This is all ‘tattle’ that is rooted in promotion and money, and should not be taken too seriously. Unfortunately many people’s brains will not work in that way, hence why the media do it. I know, from personal experience, that this can be utterly triggering and anxiety raising for many. These messages around the festive period, should start to be focusses around what the real, true nature of Christmas is: family, love and gratitude.
If you feel this rush of anxiety around the ‘festive’ period, you must take second to remember what is important to you and your happiness. What has helped me in the past, is disassociating the Christmas months with the ‘festive’ period, and simply accepting that it is just a part of the year. I mean you can have a mince pie in July if you wanted to, you don’t need to be believe what the media tell you, and see the Christmas period as the only time that you are ‘supposedly’ allowed to indulge. Major indulgence often results in major restriction, and that can be very unhealthy for both mind and body. I feel that this now or never mentality can also become very triggering and anxiety festering once January hits, and the media suddenly bombard you with ‘New Year, New You’ messages. No, no, no… you continue doing what makes you feel good, and what makes you happy. Just because you had good food and good times around Christmas does not suddenly mean you have to spend all your money on the next detox trend the minute that clock had hits 12 on New Year’s Eve, and ruin the start of the New Year by spending too much time on the loo. No thank you.
Embracing the Christmas period is one of the most beautiful things you can do.
No rules. No BS. Doing what makes you happy is the most important thing, and you are allowed to do whatever you want. You do not need to be influenced by anyone you see online, or anyone that is around you. Remember social media is a snapshot of a person in a highly-edited moment in their day, it is not a reality. This pressure that is created to be perfect and on top of it at all times, by both influencers and promotional businesses, especially during the festive period should be, in my opinion, be banned. No one should make anyone else feel bad about what they do, or inflict negative intentions or thoughts upon someone. Christmas is simply a time of the year that is in retrospect just another two months of the year. Become comfortable with being you, that is the most helpful and beautiful thing you can treat yourself to this Christmas.