Over the past few days, I’ve been asked multiple times what to do if your family, friends or creepy Uncle Tom make comments about your food or body during the holidays. This can be a stressful time of year and I want you to know that you’re not alone.
Your body, health and food are your business. No one else is entitled to police your choices or the way you show up in this world.
So, let’s break down 6 different ways to deal with holiday diet talk…
#1. This is NOT about you.
Whatever they are saying or doing is NOT about you. It’s about them. Only them. When someone makes a judgmental comment or gesture it only gives you information about that person and says nothing about you. Tattoo this on your forearm if you need to.
#2. Change the subject or leave the room.
There are times when it is appropriate to talk about the ridiculousness of diet culture, but standing in Auntie Sally’s kitchen as she asks you about whether you’re doing Weight Watches in January is probably not the best time. Sometimes it’s easiest to remove yourself from the situation (“those mini meatballs you made are hitting my intestines hard…be back in a few minutes”) or change the subject (“OMG, the cat just moonwalked on two legs…did you see it?”).
#3. Make your answer short and sweet.
Perhaps creepy Uncle Tom makes a comment like, “are you really going to eat all those mashed potatoes?” A simple, “Yes, I am” works great. You may also consider, “Hell yeah… as if I’d let these potatoes sacrifice their lives only to end up in the aftermath known as my attempt at turkey sheppard’s pie.” You don’t need to justify your choices to anyone.
Then refer back to point #1.
#4. Tell people what you need from them in advance.
If you know people in your family are going to do this, then consider speaking to them in advance to ask for their support. Say something like, “I know you love me for who I am and I’d really love your support on something. It would mean the world to me if we didn’t talk about weight or food or dieting anymore. I know I used to talk about this stuff all the time, but I realize now that it only ever made me feel worse. I’d love your support. Is that cool?”
If it’s a really bad situation, be more direct and tell them that they are making you feel really ashamed and hurting you and your relationship with them.
You deserve the upmost love and respect from others and sometimes that means asking for what you need or cutting people out of your life.
Writing someone a letter to share your feelings may help too.
#5. Have a support network.
You can have the best body image in the world, but that doesn’t protect you from feeling like an emotional shit-sack if someone is criticizing you. If you are hurting, reach out for support. Leaving that ugly mess inside only creates more anger and shame, which can result in further self-loathing. Let it out!
#6. Make time for yourself.
Get the hell out of dodge if you need to. Take some time for yourself and remember, that you don’t deserve to be treated poorly by anyone.
Here’s a link to my favourite body positive / anti-diet books if you want some helpful reading over the holidays. Treat yo’self!