How to avoid body shame at Christmas

Body shame at Christmas

When you’re struggling with the way you feel about your body, Christmas can be a trigger for body shame.

Whether it’s the comment from your Aunty about your weight, or fear of losing control around festive food, Christmas doesn’t always feel fun.

BUT, there are ways to avoid body shame at Christmas AND enjoy the holiday season.

So in this post, I’m sharing four ways to deal with body shame at Christmas.

AND, after the year we’ve had, we all deserve to relax and enjoy the festive season without worrying about body shame!

Watch or read below:

If you struggle with the way you feel about your body, Christmas doesn’t necessarily feel fun or magical.

When you’re surrounded by family and lots of yummy food over a prolonged period, Christmas can easily become a trigger for body shame

Now the last thing I want for you this Christmas is to struggle with body shame or guilt around food.

So, I’ve got four ways to avoid body shame at Christmas:

Stop moralising about food

Think of the language that is used to talk about food around Christmas time.  We talk about being ‘good’ or ‘being naughty’ and getting ‘back on the wagon’ after Christmas.

This language implies that enjoying certain foods is wrong, and that you’re ‘wrong’ or ‘bad’ for eating them.

But this is diet culture at work because foods are not inherently good or bad, they have no morals.

Christmas is a time for feasting, and there is no harm in indulging.  You aren’t bad for eating more at this time of year.

In fact, Christmas bingeing is more likely precisely because January is associated with restriction and getting ‘back on the wagon’.

Faced with the prospect of eating only a limited range of foods, it’s no wonder many people eat the foods they enjoy while they can!

In contrast, if you allowed yourself to eat all types of foods throughout the year, you’d be more relaxed around food and less likely to binge at Christmas and restrict in January.

Prepare responses to food/body comments

If you’ve got well meaning (or otherwise) relatives that feel it’s okay to say whatever they want about your body or what you eat, prepare some responses to deal with these unwanted comments.

Here’s some ideas…

Relative: “Are you going to eat that?”

You: “Yes, I am thank you!”

Relative: “That’s high in sugar, so I wouldn’t eat it.”

You: I’ve realised that cutting out whole food groups makes me feel a bit crazy around those foods.  I feel best when I eat a variety of foods, including sugar.”

Relative: “I’m trying to be good this Christmas.”

You: “Eating for me isn’t a moral issue.  What I eat over Christmas is a small proportion of what I consume over a year.  It’s not a big deal to me, which means I can enjoy festive food.”

Relative: “Have you lost weight?”

You: “I’m assuming you mean that as a compliment, so thank you; but I’d rather you complimented me on my talents, achievements or personality instead of my appearance, and I’ll do the same.”

Have a self-care plan

If you know that being around certain family members is going to push your body shame buttons over Christmas, have a self-care plan in place.

Decide what you’ll need to help you navigate family time.  So perhaps you need to journal daily, meditate, or listen to music to help keep you calm and grounded.

Also, have an ‘exit’ strategy for when it all gets to be too much – plan to go for a walk or drive or call a friend who can help you escape from the family dynamic if only for a short period of time.

Keep asking WHY?

Whenever you experience body shame at Christmas or guilt around food, stop to ask yourself WHY?  What’s triggering the shame and guilt?

At the root cause of all body shame and guilt is a culture fixated on thinness.  Fat phobia is rife in society.

Your body doesn’t need to change, society does.  Being fat isn’t the worst thing you can be, and the pursuit of thinness shouldn’t be your life’s ambition.

This shame does not have its roots within you, so don’t let it steal your enjoyment of the festive season.

I’d love to know if these tips were useful to you in navigating body shame at Christmas.  Please leave a comment below.

This year has certainly been crazy, but I hope that you are able to enjoy some quality time with the ones that you love over the holidays.  Merry Christmas!

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