Years ago in the the depths of covid, I posted an Instagram ad of my free livestream workout that would occur over Thanksgiving weekend. At the end of the ad I wrote

“Join me Saturday – and earn that Turkey dinner”.

Even as I clicked on “submit”, a flash of concern, a warning signal, flickered somewhere in my brain. Surely this won’t offend anyone, right?

I never did regret writing it, but there was plenty of backlash. People were disappointed over perceived connotations, over the hidden meanings.

“don’t punish people for eating”
“ don’t judge body size!”
“(comments like this) create an unhealthy relationship between self worth and weight”.
“must we earn food?”

Really, all saying the same thing – stop making people feel bad.

I was astonished by the level of annoyance I’d caused (all the more shocking because I had after all, added a cute happy face emoji after the phrase in question).

Reflecting on this, what has really struck me is the simple realization that this too is individual. That we really have to find our own personal plan around food and exercise. What inner dialogue puts as at ease and supports a healthy relationship with both, considering our goals, belief systems and personal history.

All I can really comment on is what of the many expert suggestions, I personally find successful. These are my top 5.

  1. Develop an intentional inner dialogue. 
    • find a satisfying balance of health and indulgence
    • part of being an adult is acknowledging realities so don’t pretend away consequences.
    • “We do what we have to do, so we can do what we want to do”. (favourite quote by James Farmer).
    • the holidays don’t just “happen to you”
  2. Shorten the Season of Excess
    • Keep good habits going as long as possible so that a week of holiday excess doesn’t extend to a month where it’s no longer holiday indulgence but newly formed bad habits.
  3. Don’t stop moving.
              The key is to find movement that you don’t hate. Mini stretchy workouts can be very useful.
  4. Priotitize indulgences.     
  5. Focus on the after effect.
             Keep the mindset on how you feel after the walk, after the Pilates class.

To me the guidelines aren’t a punishment but a path to relaxed indulgence. It allows me to really savour the moments of excess, guilt free.

Truly, it’s my way of fully enjoying the holidays. At this very moment it’s allowing me to luxuriate as I sit cozy on a couch, under an electric blanket, eating my 6th shortbread, on my 3rd cup of coffee, as the wind howls outside. Deeply satisfying indeed.


Laura Helsel Gauthier
Director, Pilates Process
Franklin Method Certified Teacher
Teacher, Presenter, Writer