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. ✅𝘾𝙝𝙖𝙣𝙜𝙚 𝙩𝙝𝙚 𝙨𝙪𝙗𝙟𝙚𝙘𝙩.
Ask what TV shows everyone has been watching or if anyone has upcoming travel plans.
2. ✅𝘾𝙤𝙣𝙛𝙧𝙤𝙣𝙩 𝙩𝙝𝙚 𝙙𝙞𝙚𝙩 𝙩𝙖𝙡𝙠.
Share what you’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 — everyone’s anti-diet journey starts from a place of unlearning. Remember how difficult was for you to realize dieting wasn’t good for you. Try to give others that same level of compassion and understanding.
3. ✅𝙏𝙧𝙮 𝙩𝙤 𝙛𝙞𝙣𝙙 𝙖𝙩 𝙡𝙚𝙖𝙨𝙩 𝙤𝙣𝙚 𝙥𝙚𝙧𝙨𝙤𝙣 𝙬𝙝𝙤 𝙘𝙖𝙣 𝙨𝙪𝙥𝙥𝙤𝙧𝙩 𝙮𝙤𝙪 𝙞𝙛 𝙩𝙧𝙞𝙜𝙜𝙚𝙧𝙞𝙣𝙜 𝙨𝙞𝙩𝙪𝙖𝙩𝙞𝙤𝙣𝙨 𝙖𝙧𝙞𝙨𝙚.
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 isn’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. ✅𝙊𝙛𝙩𝙚𝙣 𝙩𝙞𝙢𝙚𝙨, 𝙩𝙝𝙚 𝙘𝙤𝙢𝙢𝙚𝙣𝙩𝙨 𝙥𝙚𝙤𝙥𝙡𝙚 𝙢𝙖𝙠𝙚 𝙨𝙩𝙚𝙢𝙨 𝙛𝙧𝙤𝙢 𝙩𝙝𝙚𝙞𝙧 𝙤𝙬𝙣 𝙞𝙣𝙨𝙚𝙘𝙪𝙧𝙞𝙩𝙞𝙚𝙨.
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. ✅𝙋𝙧𝙖𝙘𝙩𝙞𝙘𝙚 𝙨𝙚𝙡𝙛-𝙘𝙤𝙢𝙥𝙖𝙨𝙨𝙞𝙤𝙣.
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 you’re a part of?
Drop your suggestions in the comments below to help all of us collectively dismantle diet culture.