11/22/2013 03:26 pm ET Updated Jan 25, 2014

The Holidays Aren't What's Making Us Fat

This time of year, there's a lot of buzz and tips and tricks to not gain weight this holiday season. But the other day, while all bundled up walking my dog (when I seem to do much of my accidental deep thinking), it dawned on me. It's not Thanksgiving or Hanukkah or Kwanzaa or Christmas that are making us unhealthy.

It's not the extra helping of pumpkin pie, the special mug of hot cocoa or that holiday ham with all the trimmings. It's not even the sweet and buttery Christmas cookies dipped in milk or the glass of champagne that we toast with to ring in the New Year. In fact, it's not the holidays' fault at all. It's the darned rest of the year.

Here's what's really making all of us unhealthy: It's those times when we eat like it's a holiday for no apparent reason on a Tuesday night at Ruby Tuesday's. Or when we eat out of boredom, stress or loneliness instead of our true hunger. Or when we swing by the drive-thru and order something like this as the norm, not the greasy, indulgent exception. Or when we, night after night, don't love ourselves enough to step away from the television and move our bodies as they were intended to move.

There's no shame in enjoying yourself this holiday season. There's no such thing as "good" food or "bad" food. When we enjoy "unhealthy" foods during the holidays mindfully and guilt-free -- not in secret or in shameful bites -- it doesn't hurt our diets or explode our waistlines. It's life. And life is really awesome when you live it. At the end of the day (or the year), Grandma's pie isn't the problem. It's the other 11 months of the year.

So this holiday season, I encourage you to only eat what you love and savor every delicious holiday bite. Listen to your body, give it what it needs and wants -- it'll tell you if you really stop and listen. See the holidays as a time to indulge and celebrate everything you have in life, no matter how big or small.