This time of year is filled with parties and festivities and fabulous food, all of which should be enjoyed. However, because our society is obsessed with weight, conversations can often involve some of these phrases:
"I have to stop eating"
"Diet starts January 1st"
"I'll be big as a house by New Year"
"I can't stop eating the box of Roses"
"If I don't stop eating I won't fit into (insert item of clothing)"
"You look great, did you lose weight?"
"You probably shouldn't have another mince pie if you want to stay slim"
These conversations can make it difficult to stay body positive and keep intuitive eating, but it is important for you to stand up for yourself and your body.
These types of conversations are annoying at best and harmful at worst.
What do I mean?
Well, none of these comments are actually helpful or interesting=annoying!
Can they actually be harmful? Of course!
If someone says these comments to me, my immediate thought is "they think I'm overweight/that I should lose weight". After lots of practice, I'm able to bat off these comments, but sometimes it isn't easy- particularly around the holidays when emotions are high and when it comes from a close family member or friend!
These types of comments can really damage confidence and body image, and can lead to extreme measures, from skipping meals to dieting and upping gym sessions. And that can be really harmful to mental and physical health.
How to deal with diet/weight talk:
If you find yourself making these comments:
STOP and ask yourself am I providing helpful or interesting information? If no, stop saying it.
Ask yourself why you feel the need to make a comment about yours or someone else's weight. Do you lack self confidence yourself? Or do you have weight bias?
Examine your own thoughts and beliefs about weight- are they true? Are they helpful? Are they healthy? (Read all about weight bias and stigma here)
If someone comments on your food intake or tries to force feed you:
"I am working on intuitive eating and trusting myself, rather than others and I would appreciate it if you could respect that".
"I am still feeling hungry, so I think eating some more is important".
"I have really enjoyed the meal, but I am full now and couldn't eat another bite".
"No I couldn't eat more, thank you. Maybe I can take some home for later".
"I don't tell others how to eat, and would appreciate it if the same courtesywas extended to me".
If someone comments on your weight/body:
Don't be afraid to tell them it isn't OK.
"I do not appreciate comments about my body and would rather you kept them to yourself".
"My body is not something you need to worry about".
"I would rather you kept comments about dieting and weight to yourself".
"I am comfortable in my body, and hope you will learn to comfortable in your own".
"Did you know that weight often has very little to do with health? If you are interested in researching it, I can recommend a great non-diet nutritionist!".
If someone tells you about their diet:
"I am no longer dieting, and would rather not hear about your diet".
"I understand that you feel the need to diet, but I have decided dieting is not the best thing for me and my health".
"I have researched dieting and from what I have read, dieting doesn't seem very healthy. Instead, I am focusing less on weight and more on how I feel".
You don't have to use any of these phrases word for word- but please think of them when someone makes a comment that makes you feel uncomfortable. Tell them. Tell them how you feel. Tell them it isn't acceptable (because it isn't!!). If you feel up to it, tell them why it isn't acceptable.
If you aren't feeling confident with this yet, just say "I don't feel comfortable talking about this and would rather talk about something else", or bat off the conversation with an "it's Christmas, let's talk about something more fun!".
YOU DO NOT HAVE TO PUT UP WITH PEOPLE'S UNSOLICITED COMMENTS ON YOUR BODY, WEIGHT OR DIET.
Also remember that:
Only you truly know your body and its needs.
An extra mince pie won't kill you.
People often comment on other bodies due to insecurity about their own- so it may not actually be about you (although it feels like it!).
Setting boundaries is healthy- telling people when they make you feel uncomfortable and shutting down comments that make you feel like crap is necessary.
If you struggle with diet talk and body/weight/food comments over the holidays, remember to plan some breaks from family and focus on self care. A 10 minute walk, a bath, a nap. You are allowed to have a time-out!
Have a very merry Christmas, filled with fun and food and family.
Lots of love,
Little O x