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Healthy Conversations about Food During the Holidays

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Written by Jessy Pucker LMSW

Dec 20, 2021

As the holidays inch closer, it is important to discuss conversations about food. The holidays often center around big family meals. These moments of togetherness can be tainted by triggering comments surrounding food and weight. Thanksgiving to New Years is marketed as a time of indulgence. This messaging can be triggering to those who struggle with negative body image and eating disorders.

According to the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders (ANAD), 9% of Americans will struggle with an eating disorder at some point in their lives. For context, that is about 28.8 million people. These diseases can be hard to talk about and are often isolating for those experiencing them.

Healthy Conversations Tips:

  1. Try to avoid the mindset of ‘earning’ food. For example, “I know I am going to eat a lot tonight so I should do a hard workout during the day”. This can contribute to a culture of deserving food, rather than eating for sustenance and pleasure.
  2. Commenting on other people’s weight changes can be triggering; whether it is about losing or gaining weight. If you want to comment on someone’s appearance, try complimenting them about something more general, like, “you are glowing!” or “you look happy”.
  3. Protect your peace of mind. If someone starts to talk about dieting or losing weight, it is ok to remove yourself from the conversation or ask them not to talk about that. It is important to focus on keeping yourself happy and healthy.
  4. Avoid commenting on other people’s plates. For those already struggling with disordered eating, making a plate and eating in public can already be a challenge.
  5. Find a safety buddy. Ask a friend or family member who knows about your relationship to food to check-in on you and intervene throughout the evening. It is ok to ask for help!
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