Halloween is officially over with bigger, more anticipated holidays quickly approaching! With the holidays also comes all the anxieties of gift-buying, home decorating, dinner party planning, and all the delicious (dun dun dun) FOOD. For years, as someone who has struggled with an unhealthy relationship with food, my heart sank whenever I thought of all the unwholesome food options that I would be confronted with during the holiday season. Growing up in a Hispanic household, I knew the menu looked a lot like roasted pork, tamales, tons of rice, potato salad, flan, cheesecake, and minimal vegetable options. YUMMY, but not exactly the healthiest for you.
Every year, I promised myself I’d remain “healthy” throughout the holidays, so I wouldn’t start off another new year with a weight loss resolution. “Healthy” is such a fluid concept, though. What I perceive as healthy and what you perceive as healthy will more than likely be two distinct perceptions. My past mindset during the holiday season was not healthy at all, even though I thought it was. Focusing on all the carbs, counting every calorie of every bite, and weighing myself after each meal was deprivation and restriction, not health. I was a mess until I realized that all my beliefs about food were simply myths that the “health” industry polluted my mind with. Myths that entrapped me were: I couldn’t eat fruit because too much sugar, carbs were the enemy, protein was the only thing I could eat, veganism is the only answer, while also making sure I wasn’t eating too many fats, or gluten.
Each holiday season, these were only a few of the myths that flooded my mind at the dinner table while everyone else prayed over our meal:
1. Carbs will make you gain weight
MYTH. Carbohydrates are, in fact, a necessary macronutrient. Macronutrients include: carbohydrates, fat, and proteins. Carbs are a perfect, and PREFERRED form of energy for your body. Parts of your central nervous system, even, exclusively rely on carbohydrates. Not only that, but carbohydrates efficiently burn and use fats and proteins. What makes you gain weight? Consuming more calories than you burn. Science, my friends, it’s simply science! Enjoy the carbs!
2. Eating only protein will keep me at optimum health.
MYTH. Higher protein intake is associated with high saturated fat intake and low fiber intake, which can be risk factors for major health complications like heart disease. High protein intake can also lead to possibilities of dehydration and inhibited performance. So, if you are thinking about just eating protein at every meal, trust me when I say, it is not necessary. Protein has amazing benefits, and is definitely a necessary macronutrient, but it should not be the only one consumed.
3. You should NEVER eat after______ (insert evening hour here, ex: 7PM, 8:30PM, etc.)
MYTH. There have been a couple times where I told my family or friends that I wasn’t going to eat after a certain time because I did not want to fall asleep and gain weight. But, once again, another myth to be busted! Timing of your meals has little to nothing to do with weight gain. If you gain weight from eating late, it’s because of excess calorie intake, not the time you ate food. So, to put it simply, if you burn 2500 calories a day, and only consume 1000 of those during the day, but then come home to eat a 1300 calorie meal before bed, will you gain weight? Nope! Because you consumed less calories than your burned in the day! Hooray!! Enjoy that slice of pumpkin pie at 7:01 PM on Thanksgiving Day!
4. Become a slave to exercise after all the food you ate the day before.
MYTH. You cannot out-exercise your diet. That is fact. There is no rule book that says that after you eat a heftier-than-normal meal, that you are to be punished with intense exercise. Although it is always important to get your body moving, there is no need to have the unhealthy mindset of “punishing” yourself for the food you ate. Food is fuel, and if you are going to get your body moving, you must recognize that food is what will give you the energy to do so. You are not a slave to movement. Movement is a gift. It should be a gift and not as a chore.
5. Count every single calorie
MYTH/TRUTH. Don’t get me wrong, it can be extremely useful to make sure you are not going over your calorie limit, but this is not something that you should obsess over. Unless a doctor has you on a very STRICT caloric deficit for the sake of your health, counting every single almond or every drop of eggnog is not necessary. However, making sure you aren’t over-eating to the point of making yourself sick is also important.
Food is not the enemy, my friends! I share these myth busters to ease your mind this holiday season, or thereafter when you embark on your New Year’s Resolutions. Enjoy your holidays and time well-spent with your loved ones rather than stressing about something silly such as food!
My name is Crystal Wojdyla (VOY-DEE-WAH). That’s a little difficult to say, so feel free to just say Wojo (WHOA-JOE)! I am a writer, fitness enthusiast, passionate speaker and dreamer always pointing to the name of Jesus.
Now, to be transparent, nothing in this world makes me happier than a book in hand and a cup of coffee that’s darker than night. I enjoy runs along Lake Michigan, traveling, and making people do burpees. Just kidding. I am, however, in the process of becoming an NASM Certified Personal Trainer, and love all things fitness.
I was born and raised in the city of Chicago; sometimes it’s beautiful, and other days it’s winter! But a Chicago gal, I shall always be. I am blessed to be married to a phenomenal, God-fearing man, who goes by the name of Anthony August. My home church is @peoplechurch in Chicago. We are always looking to connect Jesus to people and people to Jesus.
Above all, nothing screams Crystal more than my love for Jesus. Through all the challenges and changes I have encountered in this lifetime, I know one thing that remains consistent: my passion for articulating God’s heart to His people. I pray one day to speak globally and write countless books to show people the IMPOSSIBLE that God is capable of.
I’m a trailblazer because I speak boldly in my writing the truths that God has revealed to me in my relationship with Him, in hopes of guiding others into their own personal encounter with Him.
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