The holidays are over. While many of us had a great holiday, others merely survived theirs. For those working on recovery from an eating disorder, spending time around friends and family can be a minefield of triggers. A parent will wax philosophic on the goodness or badness of a specific food. A friend will ask for diet tips, not realizing that the body they’re emulating belongs to someone trying to work up the motivation to recover. And now that it’s the New Year, social media feeds are full of people preparing for diets or cleanses or hitting the gym hard to “make up” for the holidays. (You can read my thoughts on New Years Resolutions HERE)
While I encourage my clients to speak up when someone says something food- or body-shaming, sometimes it happens so often that it’s difficult to keep discussing. Or they’re not with a person they feel comfortable calling out. Or they’re not ready to include others on their road to recovery. For whatever reason, sometimes you need a guide.
I created my guide to a food & body positive household to help people open a conversation. Whether you’re battling food & body issues yourself, supporting someone you love, or just trying to get your family off to a body positive start, this can provide a good base for your own family’s guide.
You may think you don’t know anyone who needs this. Chances are, you do and you just don’t know it. If I had a nickel for every time I overheard conversations on buses, in stores, on the street, of people discussing calories, or diets, or exercise plans, I’d be a rich woman. There was a time when overhearing these things would have sent me right back into the grips of my eating disorder. You never know who’s listening. It may even be keeping you stuck in your own disordered behaviors.
Creating A Food and Body Positive Household (jpg)
Download the PDF Here: Body Positive Household
Download it, print it out, post it on the fridge, or slip it under the door of someone who may need to read it.
As I said in the guide, you will make mistakes. I make mistakes. We were all raised in a world where food and diet talk is the center of many conversations. Similarly, none of us knows exactly what will trigger another person, but the important thing is to make them feel like you’re trying. Be gentle with yourself if you make a mistake. Be gentle with others if they do, too. Some of my clients find it easier to have a code word they can use to encourage a friend or family member to change the subject. If you make it as silly as possible (think “dipthong”, “mollycoddle”, or “Holy TARDIS of Gallifrey!!”), it’ll help ease the tension of the moment.
What things would you add to your family’s Food & Body Positive Household guide? Add them in! Keep the conversation going. Let’s create a world where shaming is a thing of the past.