Dark-haired girl wearing holiday sweater surrounded by bushes, trees, overgrown grass

Navigating Diet Culture Around the Holidays

it’s officially the holiday season…

The holiday season is my favorite time of the year, but unfortunately, it’s also one of the biggest times that diet culture seems to prevail.

Whether it stems from New Years resolutions or all the yummy holiday foods, diet culture pressures can be overwhelming and difficult to deal with.  

Hopefully, the tips I’m about to share with you will help you while you’re navigating diet culture around the holidays.

recognize diet talk

Diet culture is sneaky, and you may not always recognize diet talk when you hear it.  

Anything being said that insinuates food having a moral value (“good foods” vs “bad foods”), bodies growing being a negative thing, or the need to “work off” the food you just ate are all examples of common diet talk.  It’s important to be able to recognize when diet talk is occurring in order to take action.  

If diet talk is occurring, try the action steps listed below.

set boundaries

Make it known that you won’t put up with any comments that make you uncomfortable!!  This can be difficult, but if you don’t let people know that those comments aren’t appreciated, they probably aren’t going to stop.

If someone comments on your body, food choices, or anything else that might trigger you and your past history with diet culture, try saying something like, “I’d really like you to stop making comments about…” or “I don’t appreciate you saying those things about…”

If you’re comfortable, you could also explain to this person why they should refrain from making those sorts of comments toward anyone.  Maybe even take the chance to educate them – if that’s something you are both open to.

It might take a few tries to get someone to stop making unwelcome comments for good, but if they just aren’t respecting your boundaries (or at least trying to), I would recommend keeping your distance and just doing what’s best for you.

avoid diet talk (& other triggers)

One of my go-to’s (because I am not a confrontational person) is to avoid any and all diet talk.  

Basically, if I’m in a situation where any form of diet talk is brought up, I either tune it out or distance myself and find something else to do.  If you’re at a holiday family gathering, maybe find someone else to talk to, turn on a festive movie, or play a game.  Just find something to do that doesn’t involve diet culture.

talk with someone you trust

This is probably the one thing that changed my relationship with food and my body the most.  I talked with someone I trusted – Nick.

If you’re not ready to share your full story, that’s okay; I wasn’t ready for probably a year or so.  But talking to someone about your thoughts around food or your body, how certain comments make you feel, and the things that trigger you can make a huge difference.

You don’t have to tell them everything, but just knowing that you have that support system can make a world of difference.

Having that person to confide in is so helpful and so important, and I hope that each and every one of you has someone that you can trust and talk to about all the tough stuff.  And if you don’t feel free to reach out to me. (:

be kind to yourself

With all these diet culture messages circulating around the holidays, it can be hard to not get wrapped up in them and start to feel bad about yourself.  

That’s why it’s SO important to be kind to yourself – not just over the holidays, all the time!!  It’s not easy, I know, but it’s 110% worth it.  

Instead of saying something negative about yourself, shift your mindset and list off a number of things you love about yourself.

Instead of beating yourself up for overeating or sleeping in or taking a rest day, remind yourself that those are all normal things to do – especially over the holidays!  Overeating does not make you a bad person, and sleeping in or taking a rest day doesn’t make you lazy!  

Try to enjoy these special moments of celebration and holiday spirit with your friends, family, and yourself.  

Dress up in that cute outfit, eat those yummy treats, and don’t worry what anyone else is thinking of you… just go have a good time; you deserve it. (:

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