The holidays are one of the hardest times of the year for most people. But this is especially so when it comes to body image.
This can be really difficult for people of any size who have ever dealt with disordered eating.
There’s an overabundance of food, super obnoxious family. I don’t know if it’s just me, but lots of comments about weight.
There’s also the pressure to look good at all of these events. Even if you’re staying home, seeing all the fancy outfits on TikTok and Instagram can be enough to send you into a spiral.
This is something that I can personally relate to. Growing up, I dealt with an eating disorder. And my entire family was always really overweight. But the problem was everyone always talked about it. It was always a common thing to discuss who gained weight, who had lost weight.
It was all extremely triggering and made it hard to sit down to eat. Trying to eat all this food while everyone’s always talking about weight was very difficult. But then I also struggled because if I didn’t eat that, I felt like I was being rude. There’s so much wrapped up in this, but it was just an extremely uncomfortable and really triggering experience for me.
Looking back on it, there’s definitely a lot of times the holidays did more harm than good. So I want you to know that if you struggle with the holidays, or if you are like me, where you’re a total Christmas nut and you still struggle with it, you’re not alone.
So how do we prepare for this?
Change how you look at your body
Instead of looking at yourself in the mirror and picking yourself apart, start standing in front of the mirror and focus on things you love.
I’m not asking you to love the things that you don’t like. But I am asking you to find something that you love. Whether it’s your eyes, your lips, the way that your hips curve, the way that your stomach does that thing, the way that your shoulders look in a halter top. Whatever it is, find some things to love about your body.
And then focus on them.
This is going to begin to shift your mindset and open your brain up to the concept that it doesn’t have to hate itself.
What I’m a fan of is the fact that my body shows up for me every dang day. Even with chronic illness and chronic pain. Even with all of this stuff going on, it still shows up for me. If it wasn’t for this body, I wouldn’t be able to go to the gym and workout. If it wasn’t for this body, I wouldn’t have my son.
This simple mindset shift will do so much for you not just during the holidays, but in your life.
Don’t engage in any conversations regarding weight
Whether it’s about you or not, don’t engage. Turn around and walk away. You’re allowed to have that boundary. Especially when it comes to your mental health, your boundaries are critical.
You are required to have solid boundaries if you actually want to heal and enjoy the holidays. Boundaries do not mean that you’re shoving anyone out. But it means that you’re taking care of yourself, too.
So don’t engage in any conversations about weight. Period.
We are made for so much more than weight loss or weight gain. By doing this, you’re not only helping yourself to set boundaries, but you’re telling your brain that this isn’t the most important thing to you. This helps your brain to understand that it isn’t something worth having a conversation about.
If someone comes up to you, and they say, “Oh my gosh, look, I’m so excited. I’ve gone down two sizes.” Yes, be excited with them. But if people are gonna just talk about other people as is if they’re worth is tied to their weight, that’s not good for anyone’s mental health. By turning around and walking away, you’re setting the boundary, which shows them that you’re not talking about it.
Be picky about who you spend time with.
If there are people that love to make comments about you or others, don’t waste your energy on them. You are not obligated by any means to go and see anyone. You’re an autonomous adult with the right to stay home and not get involved with toxic people.
I know this is easier said than done. Your mama, your sister, your cousin, your aunt, your whatever probably isn’t gonna like that. But you need to put you first.
If you are continually living life just to make other people feel better, you’re not living much of a life at all. So you are allowed to stay home. If you want to go then that’s totally fine but make sure you have boundaries. But if you don’t even want to deal with the people or you feel like your mental health can handle it right now, there is no shame in staying home.
If you don’t feel comfortable setting boundaries with other people, it’s high time that you learned. This is a learnable skill.
Even if you’re not very good at setting boundaries right now, you will be if you put in the work. It’s this exact reason that I created the Build your Boundaries course. I struggled with setting boundaries for such a long time that once I learned how to do it with confidence, my life changed.
For more details on the course and finally learn how to set and keep boundaries, click here.
Dress for you
I do not care what you think other people think about your clothes. Nine times out of 10 when I talk to women about how they dress, they are dressing for the way they think other people want them to dress.
This makes me sad. Women wear clothes not because they enjoy what they’re wearing but because other people have told them that that’s how they need to dress based on their body shape, based on their beliefs, based on whatever.
The fact of the matter is that when you dress for you, your confidence, and therefore boundary building capabilities will skyrocket. When you put on clothes and you feel like yourself, you feel like you can take over the world.
That transition from wearing what other people want to what you want can be scary.
For example, I am definitely more alternative. I’m super edgy and I really love goth fashion. I very rarely go all out just because I am too lazy to. But when I do go all out, it definitely surprises people. There are times that I will wear blue lipstick, black lipstick, or blue eyebrows.
Even though other people don’t like it, I feel like a bad B* and that I can legitimately take over the world. I’m so confident and I feel so much like myself. But I stuffed that down for a really long time because other people didn’t like it. I was told that if I did that, that people would think things about me.
I don’t care about what other people think about me. Their opinions are none of my business.
If you would not share an awful opinion with someone else, why would you allow someone to give it to you?
Dress for you.
It’s your body and you get to dress it however you want. Own who you are, and embrace the holidays.
Take care of yourself
Enjoy a cookie or two. Have some good food, have a drink. But don’t allow yourself to eat due to being emotional. When I was in these situations, I would tend to overeat because I was so anxious, and I would stuff myself to the point of feeling sick.
Yes, enjoy yourself. But do it without eating due to emotions. I want you to enjoy yourself without feeling that guilt after binge eating.
On the other hand: please eat.
Please eat. I don’t care how skinny your cousin is or how rude it is that your aunt loves to comment on your weight. Food is your fuel and your brain needs sustenance. Your brain needs good food.
Don’t let your negative body image keep you from eating.
The holidays can be absolutely crazy.
But I know that you’re going to get through it. I know that you can do it. Why? Because you chose to wake up today. I know that wasn’t an easy decision. So if you can do that, I know you can get through the holidays.
You’ve got this, boo! I believe in you.