5 Tips for Navigating Diet Talk During the Holidays

Written By: Fatema Jivanjee-Shakir, LMSW

Many holidays around the world revolve around social gatherings and food. For some, holidays can feel exciting, while for others, particularly those who are healing their relationships with food and their bodies, holidays can feel triggering and anxiety-provoking.

Diet culture is very much still the norm, and you may hear some diet culture-y and fatphobic comments at social gatherings.

When you do, consider the following tips:

1. โœ…๐˜พ๐™๐™–๐™ฃ๐™œ๐™š ๐™ฉ๐™๐™š ๐™จ๐™ช๐™—๐™Ÿ๐™š๐™˜๐™ฉ.

Ask what TV shows everyone has been watching or if anyone has upcoming travel plans.ย 

2. โœ…๐˜พ๐™ค๐™ฃ๐™›๐™ง๐™ค๐™ฃ๐™ฉ ๐™ฉ๐™๐™š ๐™™๐™ž๐™š๐™ฉ ๐™ฉ๐™–๐™ก๐™ .

Share what youโ€™ve learned about how unhelpful diets are. Encourage others to tune into their hunger cues and honor their cravings. Try to approach the conversation non-judgmentally โ€” everyoneโ€™s anti-diet journey starts from a place of unlearning. Remember how difficult was for you to realize dieting wasnโ€™t good for you. Try to give others that same level of compassion and understanding.

3. โœ…๐™๐™ง๐™ฎ ๐™ฉ๐™ค ๐™›๐™ž๐™ฃ๐™™ ๐™–๐™ฉ ๐™ก๐™š๐™–๐™จ๐™ฉ ๐™ค๐™ฃ๐™š ๐™ฅ๐™š๐™ง๐™จ๐™ค๐™ฃ ๐™ฌ๐™๐™ค ๐™˜๐™–๐™ฃ ๐™จ๐™ช๐™ฅ๐™ฅ๐™ค๐™ง๐™ฉ ๐™ฎ๐™ค๐™ช ๐™ž๐™› ๐™ฉ๐™ง๐™ž๐™œ๐™œ๐™š๐™ง๐™ž๐™ฃ๐™œ ๐™จ๐™ž๐™ฉ๐™ช๐™–๐™ฉ๐™ž๐™ค๐™ฃ๐™จ ๐™–๐™ง๐™ž๐™จ๐™š.

Perhaps this person is someone who attends social gatherings with you and is able to offer support, redirect conversation, or challenge diet talk with you. Perhaps that person isnโ€™t physically present, but can text with you throughout the event. Alternatively, it can be helpful to save some of your favorite anti-diet social media posts to look back on when you feel triggered at an event.

4. โœ…๐™Š๐™›๐™ฉ๐™š๐™ฃ ๐™ฉ๐™ž๐™ข๐™š๐™จ, ๐™ฉ๐™๐™š ๐™˜๐™ค๐™ข๐™ข๐™š๐™ฃ๐™ฉ๐™จ ๐™ฅ๐™š๐™ค๐™ฅ๐™ก๐™š ๐™ข๐™–๐™ ๐™š ๐™จ๐™ฉ๐™š๐™ข๐™จ ๐™›๐™ง๐™ค๐™ข ๐™ฉ๐™๐™š๐™ž๐™ง ๐™ค๐™ฌ๐™ฃ ๐™ž๐™ฃ๐™จ๐™š๐™˜๐™ช๐™ง๐™ž๐™ฉ๐™ž๐™š๐™จ.

Remember how hard it was for you to realize that underneath all the dieting there were core issues you needed to work through to move towards making peace with your body.

5. โœ…๐™‹๐™ง๐™–๐™˜๐™ฉ๐™ž๐™˜๐™š ๐™จ๐™š๐™ก๐™›-๐™˜๐™ค๐™ข๐™ฅ๐™–๐™จ๐™จ๐™ž๐™ค๐™ฃ.

Having moments of being triggered or reverting to diet culture behaviors does not undo all of your hard work. Remember, progress, not perfection.

What are some strategies you use to confront diet talk? Are there any strategies that you find uniquely helpful based on the cultural or religious community youโ€™re a part of?

Drop your suggestions in the comments below to help all of us collectively dismantle diet culture.

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