Celebrating the True Heart of Valentine’s Day
Why not take the stress out of Valentine’s Day by dropping the unrealistic expectations and commercial nature of the holiday? Let’s take a step back and remind ourselves about what the holiday is really all about, and find new ways to express our love without adding to our waistline.
What is Valentine’s Day really about?
I’ve scoured historic records and nowhere could I find that Valentine’s Day is about giving your loved one high calorie, high saturated fat candy, buying expensive gifts, or taking your loved one out to a lavish dinner. In fact, it is even difficult to trace the origins of Valentine’s Day. But, let’s say that for as long as we all can remember, we have selected February 14th as a day to declare our affection for someone.
Unfortunately (and you might not want to hear this), we, primarily women, have commercialized the day and made it about who receives the best gift or was treated most romantically. Sort of loses its meaning when you think about it.
Put the real meaning back into February 14th! Celebrating this Valentine’s Day differently can be good for your heart:
• Release the gifting obligation. Less pressure in any area of your life reduces stress – and that’s good for your heart
• Eliminating expectations reduces anxiety – and that’s good for your heart
• Anger because your mate didn’t get you ‘the best gift’ can raise your blood pressure – and that’s bad for your heart. Removing that anger or resentment is good for your heart.
• Giving of yourself makes you happy – and that’s good for your heart
Changing your Valentine’s Day rituals can be good for your waist:
• By avoiding that big box of chocolates, you can save yourself hundreds of excess calories and fat. Just two pieces from a boxed chocolate assortment can contain 200 calories with half or more of the calories coming from fat and the other half from sugar.
• Eating home instead of going to a restaurant can save you more than 2,000 calories and 50 to 100 grams of fat. Excess fat, especially saturated fat, impairs good heart health. A typical restaurant meal is loaded with fat, and the serving size can be twice what you would serve yourself at home.
No candy, no gifts, no lavish dinners – unthinkable? Not really; consider these options:
• Before the big day comes, talk to your significant other about a ‘New Valentine’s Day Ritual’. Each of you writes down two or three ways that would make you feel loved and appreciated aside from gifts. On that special day, both of you pick one from your partner’s list and surprise the other by doing it.
• Instead of eating out, share some kitchen time and cook a low-calorie, *heart- healthy meal together. Reference links at the end of the blog.
• Do something special for your mate. There are hundreds of ways to say “I love you” besides gifts. For instance, think about everyday chores that your loved one does because it is ‘his or her’ job. Take on that job for the day.
• Write a love note. Let your special someone know how much he or she means to you. A written keepsake lasts a lot longer than a heart-shaped box of chocolates.
• Give each other quality time, paying 100% attention to each other, free of distractions such as cell phones and computers.
• Renew your vows of love and commitment.
Summary: Shifting your attitude from “It’s all about me, chocolate, and getting great gifts” to “How can I express love and appreciation” has a wide variety of benefits, from avoiding those extra holiday calories and fat, to acting in ways that make you feel good – and that’s always good for heart health.