Thanksgiving can feel like a scary time! Fat shaming, weight anxiety and food policing are at an all time high as people gather to eat FEASTS (which never made sense to me.. it's like, really? We have a nationally sanctioned holiday dedicated to eating one of the biggest remaining species of birds covered in butter and we're seriously talking about calories right now?! It's all part of the weird diet culture mind games if you ask me, girl). But don't be discouraged!
These are five things I bring to my Thanksgiving Day and I wanted to share them with you:
1. Don't feel guilty that time with your family or friends makes you stressed! It's totally normal for gatherings like Thanksgiving to give us the anxiety. The last thing you need is to add some guilt to that plate full of panic. So just settle into the feeling and remember to...
2. Do some self care afterwards. If you know you need 30 minutes (or more) of alone time to cry it out or watch Real Housewives or breathe slowly and intentionally or whatever self care looks like for you, DO THAT!
3. Make this day about making YOU happy and safe. This is actually the best way to take care of you and the people around you.
4. Think of or write down a list of a few things your body does that you're grateful for: it can be as simple as a function your body does for you all the time that makes your life easier (e.g. peeing or blinking even!)
5. This tip is from Adios Barbie: Redirect! "With the prevalence of diet mentality, it is inevitable that someone brings up weight or nutrition eventually. You can prepare for these moments by practicing 'redirections,' or changing the focus of the conversation. Before I enter a holiday gathering, I like to rehearse a few lines I can use to get out of uncomfortable spots. For example, if my partner’s mother comments on my weight, I am prepared to say, 'You know, I’ve noticed that since I started to focus more on listening to my body than on my weight, I’ve felt a lot healthier and happier,' and then move on to a different subject. If a friend announces he will only be eating turkey because he is on a low-carb diet, I am ready to ask about his plans for New Year’s Eve. Thinking about these 'outs' ahead of time helps me not to freeze up or (worse!) to get sucked into engaging in a body-negative discussion."
Have a #LoseHateNotWeight T-day, girl!
Virgie Tovar, MA is one of the nation's leading experts and lecturers on fat discrimination and body image. She is the founder of Babecamp (a 4 week online course focused on helping people break up with diet culture) and the editor of Hot & Heavy: Fierce Fat Girls on Life, Love and Fashion (Seal Press, 2012). She writes about the intersections of size, identity, sexuality and politics. See more updates on Facebook.