The Holidays can be SO difficult for someone that struggles with their relationship with food or their body. Family members commenting about their bodies or their choices does not help. Today, I’m sharing 4 comments you should avoid around the Holiday table.
I’m back! We’re at the end of our 3 month Europe trip and I’m getting ready for an exciting year ahead. Get ready for more blog posts in the next year! I’m also happy to say that I’ll have access to my new office as of January! Come and see me in the New Year if you’re in the Kelowna area.
Today though, I wanted to share my thoughts on an important subject this time of year: Food and body shaming from friends and family over the holidays. I originally shared these thoughts on Unsweetened Caroline, but I felt passionate about sharing the message, so I thought I’d share some thoughts here as well. You can find more details here, or you can keep reading this post.
And with that, let’s get into it!
Body and Food Shaming Around the Holidays
There are many reasons why you may get food and body shaming around the holidays. Maybe you didn’t experience this with your family or maybe you did.
For some of us, this is the only time of the year that we see our family. For that reason, normal changes in appearance may become more obvious. Our bodies can change a lot in the course of a year and that’s completely normal!
People may also genuinely be concerned about you and think it’s appropriate to share their thoughts when they see you around the Holidays. Some may be reflecting their own insecurities at you. No matter the reason, it’s never a good idea to comment on other’s bodies or food choices.
That being said, here are some comments you should avoid around the Holiday table (or ever)…
Comments to Avoid Around the Holiday Table:
Don’t Comment on Someone’s Weight Loss
You may think you’re giving them a compliment, but you’re not. Most likely, the person will be thinking “did I need to lose weight? Was I too heavy?”. And not to mention the others around you hearing this. They may be thinking “I need to look like her/him, why didn’t they compliment me?”.
You don’t know everyone’s history with food. Maybe they’ve developed an eating disorder. Maybe they suffer from anxiety that’s been affecting their appetite or maybe they’re suffering from grief or depression. It can be triggering and insensitive. Not to mention, it feeds the notion that thinner is better.
Don’t Comment On Someone’s Weight Gain
This is likely more obvious, but you should never comment on other’s weight gain. If you think you’re doing them a favor, you’re NOT.
First, they probably know that they gained weight and they’re probably self conscious about it. Second, you commenting on it is not going to make them change that. If there’s anything, it’s going to trigger negative thoughts and behaviors. It will not help and motivate them to lose weight.
Don’t Comment on People’s Food Choices or Portion Sizes
Let others eat what they want! Trust that they’re doing what’s best for them. The holidays are a time to enjoy good food in good company. People are likely going to eat more and enjoy treats. That’s okay! Don’t make them feel bad about it. You probably don’t know how they eat the rest of the year or what’s best for them. Not everyone has the same appetite, preferences or habits as you.
Don’t Try to Justify Your Own Food Choices
You don’t need to justify your choices to those around you. Just eat the food and avoid comments like “I exercised this morning”, “this is my cheat day”, “I shouldn’t be eating this”, “I’ll start eating better in January”, “I’ll have to go for a walk to burn this off”, “Calories don’t count on Christmas day”. Just don’t make yourself or others feel bad about what they’re eating. You don’t need an excuse to enjoy good food.
Just don’t comment on people’s appearance. Weight loss, weight gain, age, anything! We’re not defined by our appearance. Instead, try complimenting other’s on their accomplishments. Discuss their goals. Find something else to talk about.
All that to say, please think twice before you comment on other’s food choices or their body. It’s not helpful and can be very harmful. The Holidays are full of good food and no one should feel bad about themselves and their food choices. Let’s all enjoy the holidays without judgment!
And with that, I wish you all a happy Holiday season!