The festive season is all about spending time with family and friends and sharing delicious food together.
Thanks to COVID, we may not have seen some family and friends in months and our eating habits and behaviours may have changed along with our body. Food and body talk can often come up over the Christmas-New Year period which can be hard to navigate.
We all deserve to be able to feel safe and connected at Christmas time and enjoy every bite of our favourite dishes without shame or guilt. When you’re working to improve your relationship with food and your body, one of the best things that you can do is surround yourself with people that are supportive and ideally, who also have a healthy relationship with food and their bodies. However, we can’t control other’s beliefs and views.
Unfortunately, family and friends may feel the need to make a comment on what you are or are not eating or how your body looks or has changed.
But they can’t sense your hunger, fullness or satisfaction levels! Nor should they be discussing your body!
You know yourself best. It is just as important during the festive time of year to remember to listen to YOUR body but it’s important to check in with yourself and honour what YOU need and NOT what everyone else thinks you need
Maybe at one event, your body is craving a salad instead of roasted potatoes because it’s hot outside. Perhaps at another event you have a second helping of seafood because you don’t feel satisfied with your first serving. Or maybe you skip dessert at another celebration because you aren’t in the mood for another slice of Christmas cake.
How can you respond to comments about what you are eating?
- Be honest! Let them know you are eating what you want to eat because you enjoy it.
- Don’t feel like you have to justify your choices, a simple “No, thank you” is enough.
- Speak up if someone’s makes you feel uncomfortable or hurts your feelings
- “When you made that comment about what I was eating, I felt very put on the spot and embarrassed.”
- Let others know what you now prioritise and value and remind them that it is your body and you decide what goes into it.
- Be a good role model and don’t comment on others food choices either.
How can you respond to comments about your body?
- Set boundaries with family and friends
- Educate them! They may not know their comments made you feel uncomfortable or were hurtful. Try something like, “I love spending time with you for the holidays but sometimes I’m hurt by the comments that you make about my body. I’d love to talk about what we can do differently in the future. What do you think about that?”
- Be direct and specific. Like, “I’m learning how to appreciate my body for the way it is now. I would appreciate it if you didn’t comment on my weight.” Or, “I’m learning to let go of diet rules and give myself permission to eat. I really need to be able to eat without fear of judgment.”
- If you need to, be firm and confident! Say, “commenting on my weight is not appropriate, you need to stop” or “you don’t get to make comments about my body, nobody does”
- Make a positive change by suggesting the table to be free of body talk.
Remember, Christmas is about making memories with loved ones and celebrating the end of a (very) tough year. Want to go into the festive season feeling confident about your food choices and learning to listen to what YOUR body needs? Give us a call on 0499 008 451 to book in with one of our Dietitians before the end of the year!