Maintaining a Body Positive Outlook During the Holidays
No Body Shame Article – Whitney Way Thore
Maintaining a body-positive outlook rooted in self-love is a challenge every day of the year and can often intensify during the holidays. Along with the main course, our families often serve up generous helpings of shame, guilt, and body-policing. However, there are a few things we can do to combat the pressures of the holiday season.
Celebrating the holidays often means gatherings with your extended family. More people gathered around your table means more opinions – about the turkey, your cousin’s new boyfriend, and, yes, opinions about your body. I have trained myself to remain neutral in my response to both compliments and criticisms about my body. I take the time to explain to my close friends and family why I prefer for them not to comment on my body. To others who are not as close, I may decide not to explain myself, and put no stock in their comments.
During a season that is so busy, it’s important to take time for myself and stick to some kind of routine. If I have a particular workout schedule or class I’m taking, I do my best to honor it even when a flurry of dinners, parties, and social obligations arise. This also goes for self-care routines like taking my medicine, meditating, and scheduling in meaningful interaction with friends and family.
The last (and hardest!) thing I try to implement is to have compassion for myself. For many of us who have eating disorder backgrounds or who have experienced body-shaming, sitting down at tables full of delicious food (and sometimes judging eyes) can be difficult. I can’t count how many holiday dinners have ended with me hunched over a toilet, obsessing over how many calories I consumed or trying to shake off the sting of someone remarking about how much I ate. This kind of pressure can feel paralyzing and will suck the joy out of what is supposed to be a fun time. So be gentle with yourself.
As stressful as the holidays can be, they can also be a great opportunity to exercise assertiveness, self-care, and compassion. You really can have your pumpkin pie and eat it, too!
Whitney Way Thore