I loved this quote from Fillyjonk at Shapely Prose:
The only obligation you have as far as “watching what you eat” this holiday season is your responsibility to your own health and comfort. […]
Eat food you think is nice — don’t eat to say “fuck you, I’m not dieting.” Avoid food you don’t want to eat — don’t abstain to say “look, fat people aren’t gluttons.” It’s tempting at family occasions to try to send messages with what you choose to eat and not eat, but you end up punishing yourself to make a point that probably won’t even get heard.
At first I didn’t like the phrase “punishing myself”, because, hey, it’s just food. The problem is that, at best, it adds anxiety to what should be a celebration. At worst it can re-start an eating disorder – which can be deadly.
So how do you handle family holidays where where all the women are talking about diets and suggesting how you, personally, can and should lose weight? Fillyjonk suggests that if you want to have it out, use your words. I have used my words in the past. I have also not used words. Some things I have done:
- I brought copies of BBW Magazine for my mom, aunts and cousins to look at. (This was in the mid-90s.) Fashion spreads of size 22/24 women in dressy clothing? They were hooked. After that most left the subject of my body alone, except for my mother.
- With my mother, I eventually reached the point where I told her that I would not discuss my weight with her at all. This was after years of disagreements and me suggesting that we “agree to disagree” and her not letting it go. When she brought it up at holiday events, I would excuse myself and leave the room. If she followed me, I would again excuse myself and leave that room. I didn’t spring this on her at a holiday, btw; I’d told her I didn’t see any reason for us to discuss my weight, and had been ending phone calls whenever she brought up the topic.
- I have spent holidays with friends and my “chosen family”. You know, the people who actually like me the way I am now. :)