By Guest Blogger Alona Orofino
The Holidays are often rough when it comes to body image issues. Because our culture at large is weight-centric, it infiltrates our family units. So, as we gather with our friends and family for the Holidays, it’s common to hear lots of body talk.
If you are from a family that values body size and looks in general, you probably already heard some things over Thanksgiving. And it’s fair to say that you’ll hear more as the Holiday season continues.
You, your kid(s), or others in your family may have been on the receiving end of comments about their body size or how their body has changed in recent years. It’s commonplace and, regardless of the intention, these comments often cause guilt, shame, anxiety, and even have an effect on eating habits.
I’ve personally had these comments affect the way I feel about myself in the past. Or I have let them dictate how much or what food I eat in front of people. These comments or merely the anticipation of these comments has been the reason that I’ve binged behind closed doors or chose to severely restrict calories so that I would be as thin as possible for the Holidays. All these behaviors were unhealthy.
Five Reminders About Body Image and the Holidays
Below are five things that I remind myself and my clients of around body image during the Holidays.
1. Eat normal
Continue to eat normally throughout the entire season. That includes eating breakfast, lunch, and dinner every day. Any restriction during the Holidays can lead to overeating either at a party, a family gathering, or late at night when everyone else is asleep. Plus, overeating will only exacerbate the feelings of being uncomfortable in your body. Therefore, eating regularly is key to continuing to prevent the scarcity mindset that will potentially trigger disordered eating patterns.
2. Dress comfortably
No matter how cute you may look in that form fitting dress or that body suit, they often are not the right things to wear if you are feeling self-conscious. Find comfortable, looser fitting clothing to wear for your Holiday events. The tighter your clothes, the more likely you are to fixate on your body.
3. You control the narrative
You can walk away, change the subject, or even tell that person that you don’t want to talk about yours or anyone else’s body size. Choose the method that works best for you then. You can always have a talk with someone prior to it happening so that you can potentially prevent it. Or at least let them know where you stand so that they are less offended when you walk away.
4. Know your real worth
You don’t have to let anyone dictate the way you feel about yourself. Comments may be inevitable, but it’s good to remind yourself that you are more than your body size. That your worth is not built around your looks. And that there is so much value to you as a person, a mom, a partner, etc.
5. It’s not always personal
Plus, it may just be that person projecting their own insecurities onto you. Not every comment is as personal as it feels. And because of the cultural norm, so much of our beliefs around body size and worth are simply baked in. So as hard as it might be, remember that when you are on the receiving end of your Great Aunt Gertrude’s comments on your weight gain.
I hope this helps as we head further into the Holidays. You’ve got this, Mama.
Alona Orofino is a Licensed Nutritionist and Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor with a Masters in Nutrition and Integrative Health. She received her training from the Maryland University of Integrative Health. Alona is a mom to two boys, Alessio and Emilio.