Life Lessons from Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer

“I have just got to get to the gym, I ate SO MUCH yesterday.”

That’s what I heard from one of my friends on Black Friday.  I’m willing to bet a lot of people heard something like that, or said something like that, over Thanksgiving weekend.  Maybe you took a little less than you wanted because you were thinking that it’s just so much food.  Maybe you realized you went overboard on deserts and started wondering how to work all those extra calories off.  Maybe your jeans felt a little bit tighter the next day.

You know what?  It’s okay.  It is 100% okay to have a day where your jeans feel just a little bit snug.  And it’s okay to have one day a year where you take an extra slice of pie or an extra scoop of mashed potatoes.

This is the pep talk I DIDN’T give back when I published Size 0 or Social Zero–Putting the Body Image Battle In Context…because at the time, I didn’t think we needed one more pep talk. But while that post was about the conversations we have with other people, this one, my friends, is about the conversations we have with ourselves.

The holidays are a rough time of year for a lot of people, for a lot of reasons.  For starters, the holiday season is ALL about being with friends, family, loved ones…so if you find yourself separated from your people, or single, or whatever, the feelings of sadness you might otherwise feel about, say, being away from home get amplified by the dozens of cheerful family movies and images that are assaulting you as you go.  There are an alarming number of suicides between Thanksgiving and New Years’ every year because of this.  But if you’re single, or you’re a way from home, or you’re in a fight with your family, that’s all okay.  Not everything is going to be perfect all of the time.

Put it in perspective: look at the fried, wonderful, why-are-we-eating-this spectacle known as latkes

But another reason for this is the food.  It’s everywhere.  Holy crap but between the all-out eat-a-thon that is Thanksgiving to the cookies and pies and other treats that go with Christmas (not Christian?  Me neither!  But don’t get me started on the health hazard known as Channukah food…) to the holiday parties where this all seems extra-present…it’s hard to resist.

So my question is…why are you?

Seriously, is one cookie going to be a problem from a health perspective?  Are two?  No.  Of COURSE not.  I’m not saying

Know what that is? Delicious.

go eat two dozen sugar cookies right now because there are nutritionists and health professionals out there who would be rightfully horrified by such a suggestion.  (Also, that is a lot of sugar cookies.)  But go ahead, have one.  Have another. Try a slice of pie, it doesn’t have to be HUGE but take a piece.  It’s the holidays, they’re meant to be enjoyed.

For that matter, LIFE is meant to be enjoyed.  The truth is, you’re NEVER going to be happy if you’re constantly doing battle with your body.  And if you’re always worried about counting calories and working off what you ate, you’re never going to be able to relax and take in what’s really going on.

I know we live in a society where being skinny is a big deal.  I know that “swimsuit season” is going to show up sooner or later.  You’re going to have to admit that your pants are one size or another at some point.  My question is, who cares if you wear a size 1 or a size 5, a size 2 or a size 8?

Do you really think that’s all there is to beauty?

Well, of course not.  Even the editors of Cosmo feel the need to give you things like makeup tips.  But you see my point.

Truth is, beauty is way more about confidence than it is about having a tiny waist.  So if the people in your life are tearing you down about your weight?  Find some new friends, ones who love you for you.  Or at least talk to the ones you have about making peace with your bodies-~-you might be surprised at how well the conversation may go.  And if YOU are the one tearing you down over weight, just remember something: unless your life goal is to be able to impersonate a toothpick, it’s okay to be whatever jean size you really are.

He may be different, but someone still loves him!

Everyone is different, and there is NO one perfect body type…and honestly, how boring would it be if we were all built alike?  Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer didn’t save the day by getting a nose job, folks.  And the more we try to fit in with a societal standard that has nothing to do with the women trying to meet it, the more we let ourselves, our sisters, and our friends waste time wondering about their waist size when there are SO many more fun things we could all be doing (like checking out the books, songs and articles on our new “Forget Self-Help, Try Self-Love” page!) So just be you.  Walk tall, be proud, and for heaven’s sake, don’t pretend you haven’t noticed that one of your friends has pulled out the secret family recipe for smores bars and try one!

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~ by Randi Saunders on December 2, 2011.

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