By Anne T. Donahue
I am writing this a few days before Christmas, eating my breakfast lasagna (regular lasagna, just at 10 44 a.m.), and mentally planning which type of limited-edition Hershey’s Kiss I’m going to enjoy afterwards. This is a big deal for me, because for the first time in about two years, I weighed myself and reader: nope!
I’m serious: unless you’re about to be put under general anesthetic for surgery and the doctor needs to make sure they’re giving you the right dose, do not weigh yourself. Why? Why would any of us do that? Who gives a shit? And this isn’t just me, a person with zero credentials about anything going on about something I hate: when I told my doctor I’d stepped on the scale (because I wanted to know how much the cats weighed which is a piece for another day), she said “Why?! No!” and I said “I know!” and then we both agreed that weight is such a fucked-up marker of health and happiness, so just . . . stop it.
After all, what’s the point? What’s the point of depriving ourselves from sustenance and delicious treats and the general feeling of existing in the world as humans who’d like to move through life without some bullshit worry about gaining this much or losing that much or “well is it worth the calories?” Pals, it’s worth it. Do you want it? Then it’s worth it. I will not have the holidays blanket me in guilt for eating cookies. I will not spend precious syllables saying, “I’ll be good tomorrow!” as if eating something lovely is a crime of which we must all be punished. Should we all eat a little arugula sometimes? Sure! If you want to. But odds are, you know what your body wants more than someone telling you how to keep “fit” over the holidays (absolutely go fuck yourself) so you’re going to feed yourself accordingly. I’m very tired of having how-to guides for holiday spreads followed up by ways in which to start the new year on a diet that actually “lasts.” Nope!
A lot has happened to all of us over the last three years. Illness is hanging in the air, people we love have died, we’ve all finally realized that stretchy pants are a beautiful gift because comfort is fucking fantastic. Being alive can feel very difficult a lot of the time. And that means the last thing any of us need to taint the holidays with is some fabricated fear that there is a right way to eat or a wrong way to eat or that weight of any number is an indicator of anything other than how much anesthesia you should be given in a surgical situation. If you are here, trying your best, you are a success. If you are here, barely trying because you’re just that exhausted, you are also a success. (If you are not here, and a ghost, hello and please say hi to my dad and thank him for finding me that great parking spot yesterday.) Sources of joy right now are few and far between. Food is a goddamn right, and finding food that makes you especially happy is something joyous that doesn’t necessitate justification. Please eat it. Eat it and enjoy it and savour the minutes of experiencing something that isn’t incessant worry about how the world is going to hell.
So if you hear anybody mention calories, fat grams, or how much they’ll work out in January, you don’t need to participate in that conversation. You don’t need to feel guilty or bad or offer your own sentiments about how “bad” you’re being. You’re allowed to say, “Whatever works, man!” or “Yeah, that’s not for me!” or even scream, “I love shrimp!” (which is what I plan to do even when food isn’t being talked about even remotely). Fuck calories. Fuck having something we like and enjoy being made to feel like it’s an earned treat for understanding that there’s a right and wrong way to consume food. This holiday season, remember that the only wrong way is to follow-up every bite with a narrative that takes away from the splendour of eating those peanut butter squares with marshmallows in them. Life is so short. Our timeline is so dark. We all have perpetual TMJ pain. Eat what you want, eat it and feel fantastic, eat it and toss that scale out of the window. You’re here, we’re eating, and I love that for us.
Need a little more Anne? Read more from Anne T. Donahue right here!