~ How to punch diet culture in the face this festive season ~

Ngl I think that is a most catchy title. If it got your attention: hey! I hope you get something out of this post. Keep on reading for my best tips at the moment.

There is no denying that most people accept values pushed onto us by diet culture as their own. Internalising such ideas is obviously not helpful for anyone vulnerable to developing or already struggling with disordered eating behaviours.

Though diet culture is a year-round thing (lucky us!) I know festive season and the flurry of New Year’s resolutions which quickly follow after it, is an extra difficult time.

Here follow some tips first of all for everyone when it comes to watching their language and being more mindful of how they talk about food and eating, and then a section dedicated with tips worth reading for everyone again, but perhaps more directed toward my ED warriors 🌟 Wishing you all the best for Christmas and New Year’s! Please please reach out to me or someone you trust if this content does not sit well with you or is triggering. You can reach me in the comments, via email or my Instagram.

HOW TO BE A DIET CULTURE FIGHTER THIS FESTIVE SEASON;

  • Nobody needs to justify their eating. Ditch the whole idea that we need to earn our food by exercising or “burning” calories off – just no! Consequently, do not complain about how much you have eaten and how you will have to go to the gym to make up for it, or skip meals. Such language is not helpful to yourself, or to anyone already struggling with such thoughts. Please be mindful about this.
  • Do not force others to eat. Do not ladle out massive food portions unless they have been asked for. Being force fed is not helpful in recovery, and may just translate into a tense atmosphere, which nobody would like.
  • Prepare food together if you can. Make it a thing. Help each other out in the kitchen, spend time with the ingredients, take your time and try making it a fun thing.
  • Be supportive. Avoid triggering diet culture-enforcing language, check in with each other and make sure the person with an ED feels comfortable enough and knows you are there for them. Do not make it harder than it already is. Try making Christmas dinner just another meal, ideally an even better meal than usual because you are taking your time and enjoying the food and company.

HOW TO KICK YOUR ED IN THE BUTT THIS XMAS;

  • Tell someone. If you feel like you can, I would love for you to inform a friend or relative about your feelings and worries regarding food and eating during this time of year. Talk about your fears, and hopefully you can come up with some strategies to address them together.
  • Make sure you are able to get some space. If you feel like you need a time-out, just go ahead and take one. Make up an excuse or ideally inform your company ahead of time that you may need to leave the table for a little while if it all gets too much.
  • Savour your food. Christmas foods are delicious and they are special. Try eating mindfully, really tasting it. Have as many servings as you like, but also remember that although the food is special, you could really have it any time of the year and do not feel stressed about enjoying it or eating everything or bingeing.
  • You do NOT need to compensate for your eating during this season or any other time of the year for that matter. All normal eaters overeat regularly, and they are fine. You will be fine too. (cheesy alert but) trust your body. You have been in a bad place, and you know within yourself that such behaviours are ultimately not helpful nor sustainable.

With that being said, some people do not even celebrate Christmas because of an array of reasons. After all, Christmas is just another day of the year. If you are spending it on your own, plan some activities you genuinely get pleasure from. If you are spending it with people, choose a nice bunch. And if you are celebrating it traditionally, maybe with relatives or friends you do not like at all, I am sorry. It is just one day and you can get through it moment by moment. Keep yourself busy, tune in to yourself and if possible, spend more time around those people you do like who send out some good vibes.

SOME OTHER GREAT RESOURCES I RECOMMEND:

Tips from NHS England about how to deal with Christmas and eating disorders (opens in new tab)

If you feel like you do not have anybody to turn to, Beat have helplines and online support.

A really nice booklet put together by SEED which you can work through or have a look at to help you manage struggles.

Humble brag but I do think my post about recovery and clothing size is a fairly useful resource too, check it out here

Take care, and Merry Christmas 🎄

Any other tips, please do share them so we can all have a Christmas season free of those pesky ED thoughts invading our otherwise pretty wonderful brains.

All the love in the world

xo Linda

Me enjoying my first serving of a Christmas dinner put on by one of our friends ❤️

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