The holiday season can bring a lot of anxiety to those experiencing body dissatisfaction, disordered eating, or eating disorders. Holiday gatherings and get-togethers often bring many unwanted comments about how we look, what we are eating, how much we are eating, and other inappropriate body and food comments. These can leave many uncomfortable or hurt, and for some can impact their recovery with an eating disorder.
Here are some tips on how to respond to body and food related comments this holiday season: Change the Subject Once you have the chance, change the subject to something different to redirect from the food or body talk. Bring up a funny story or ask what they've been watching on Netflix recently. Plan in Advance If you are anticipating a gathering with food and body talk, think of some questions, redirections, or have a safe family member or friend to find if conversation is going in the direction you don't want it to. Excusing yourself from the conversation is an option. Having a plan helps you feel in control and makes it easier to put into practice should the moment occur. Tell it like it is Being direct can be done gently and in a non-confrontational way. However, it can still be uncomfortable. If other approaches haven't worked, it may be time to be more direct. Setting boundaries is important for relationships - it is okay to ask someone not to talk about your body, weight, or food. You can try something like this: "I don't like it when you comment on my body/weight/food. Please stop." "My body is the least interesting thing about me, please do not make comments about it anymore". I trust my body to tell me when I am hungry and full.
As always, take care of yourself. If you feel you are in an environment that is not supportive, harmful, or triggering, give yourself permission to leave. The holiday season should be a time to surround yourself with support and love, not discomfort and dysregulation.
Practice self-care, connect with a trusted loved one, or do whatever your body needs to feel better.
~ Kealy, Clinical Therapist
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