While most holidays have some central eating component, Thanksgiving really takes the cake (or pie?). I mean, on what other holiday do we have dishes that we associate with a single day of the year? I’m talking to you, mashed potatoes, gravy, turkey, cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie. It can make it seem like those foods don’t exist the rest of the year and that the day itself is really just about food and eating – rather than the things and people we’re giving thanks for. But of course, food is a big part of the day and celebration and it impacts all of our attitudes and behavior around the day. And let’s face it, that can be tough.
Regardless of your relationship with food, with yourself or with your family, Thanksgiving can bring up some STUFF. On a normal day, it’s common to hear negative comments about what we’ve eaten, how we see ourselves or that kind-of-joking, kind-of-serious self-depricating talk. It’s the kind that we are so conditioned to join in on with a “me too, I hate xyz” or “you are not! I AM xyz.” You know the kind? Any kind of food and body talk you might hear on an ordinary day is amplified across dinner tables and pumpkin-adorned living rooms, making it hard for anyone to focus on enjoying the people or food.
While we can’t immediately change how other people talk about themselves, the food on the table or their relationship with food and exercise, we can work on how we respond and how we talk to ourselves. So to help with that, we’ve linked some of our reminders and responses for situations you may face this holiday season:
First, “Wear what you love. Something comfortable and makes you feel beautiful.” –@hgoodrich
When confronted with that annoying diet talk you can say “That guilt is alllll yours. You can’t hand it off to me.” – MarciRD
Conversations about food restriction, food guilt, good & bad foods and needing to micromanage our body size are as common at Thanksgiving gatherings as pumpkin pie. Here’s to surviving those unhelpful conversations and finding satisfaction and fullness this Thanksgiving. – @ImmaEatThat (check out Kylie’s amazing illustrations on her instagram and website!)
“Give yourself permission to eat without any judgement” & “Focus on what the holiday is really about: the people” – @alissarumseyRD
In response to a comment warning about holiday weight gain, (A) “I actually try to avoid triggering topics like weight gain in order to focus on my overall health and happiness, which I find in things like reading and music. What about you?” (B) “Oh perhaps we shouldn’t worry about that but enjoy the company and focus on our health and happiness!” –NEDA
Have a support system at the meal who you can rely on in giving yourself unconditional permission to eat without attunement. If you don’t have allies physically at the table, bookmark some body positive or HAES friendly social media posts before the meal starts. – @myhealthyishkitchen
We hope these tips help you lower the stakes, be a little kinder to yourself, and most importantly enjoy the people and moments of the holidays!
Wishing you a Thanksgiving and holiday season (well)FULL of health and happiness!
Brenna & The Wellful