“I have never been so full in my life.” “This is my cheat day.” “I need to just workout to burn everything off that I have eaten today.” I hear things like this daily, both in college and at home. These words are usually spoken by women, as there is such a high standard yet a small window of what looks acceptable to others.

As I am sitting at home the day after Thanksgiving, I can’t help but reflect on why we feel the need to justify indulging. Thanksgiving should be about spending time with loved ones and thinking about what we are thankful for, and yet we are so busy feeling bad for ourselves about what we ate or how we can reverse the so-called “effects” of the delicious meal.

All over social media, we see celebrities and workout gurus alike posting healthy versions of the foods that we love; replacing flour with gluten-free flour and sugar with Stevia. I can only wonder how those desserts foods actually taste—probably not as great as they make them look with heavy Instagram filters. I am guilty of telling myself that I must also only eat these healthy versions of my favorite foods, but this year I am trying to think of Thanksgiving in a new way.

I love the food on this holiday, I love cooking with my family, and I am so grateful that I can enjoy a meal with them. So this year, I have been reminding myself to not feel guilty about eating pie, stuffing, and all my favorite comfort foods.

I know that one meal will not make me “unfit,” just like skipping one workout will not make a huge difference in my life. And if intense workouts that attempt to burn hundreds of calories make you feel tired and anxious, go on a walk to enjoy the winter weather or take a relaxing yoga class instead.

If there is one thing to remember, it is that the holidays are times for love; loving yourself, allow your tired college body to rest, and treating yourself. Because after all, none of that requires a smaller waistline.


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