For as long as I can remember, Christmas has always been my favorite time of the year.
The presents are great, you get to spend time with distant relatives and there's that all-important time off from work.
But really, the food is the absolute winner of all good things when it comes to the holidays.
The ridiculously sized portions, the limited edition candy only available for the month of December and the cupboards overflowing with food are things you only see during the holidays.
It's supposed to be a time of joy and love, but it's also a time to indulge in naughty treats that you can happily excuse with two little words: It's Christmas!
Well, that's how it should be, anyway. But when your healthy diet is something that's incredibly important to you, holiday cravings can actually be really daunting.
I will never forget last Christmas.
It wasn't because of the memorable gifts I was given, the fun I had with my family or the extravagant Christmas dinner, but because of how afraid I was of the holidays for the first time in my life.
Back then, I had absolutely no concept of "balance." All I desired was a diet that was strictly clean, with treats being the ultimate fear.
Understandably, my usual excitement for the holidays quickly wavered.
Instead, all I could think about was the immense pressure that was about to come from my family, the sweet gifts they supposedly knew I loved, the extra slice of my favorite dessert being "kindly" put on my plate and temptation I didn't want in front of me everywhere I looked.
It seems ridiculous. Who wouldn't want all of that during the holidays?
Well, when you have developed a negative view of food, it's something you really can't help, no matter how much you try.
Looking back, I hate that Christmas was far from what it should have been.
I should have showed gratitude and dived straight into my favorite box of chocolates that my mom had thoughtfully bought me.
I should have eaten every last bit of the dinner that my nana had spent hours slaving away on.
I should have had open arms toward the abundance of food that those less fortunate could have only dreamed of having.
But, I couldn't. I was too wrapped up in an obsession over my diet to see.
And so, this year, I have made a vow for things to be different.
Who ate the last chocolate in the selection box? Guilty!
Anyone want some leftover potatoes? Pass them my way!
Is anyone else so full that they will have to remain on the sofa in the same position for the next two days? That will be me.
The holidays take up a couple of weeks in the year. Will that undo all of your hard work and progress? Absolutely not.
Will you be so bloated that you think it has? Definitely, but that's OK.
You don't have to be perfect all the time, and trying to be will only result in special moments being taken away from you.
Time spent with loved ones is precious, and nothing should get in the way of you enjoying that. You are lucky to have the food that is front of you, and you will still be just as perfect with a belly full of your favorite treats.
Holidays are titled as a "holiday" for a reason. They are a break from reality, a time to enjoy things that you don't get to for the rest of the year.
You have as much time as you want to focus on being healthy, but you only have a short period when you can be as indulgent as you like (as least with an excuse anyway).
Life's too short, and the holidays are too precious not to reap the benefits.
Don't worry; your greens will be awaiting you alongside your new January fitness regime.