How to Silence Diet Talk During the Holidays
The commercials have started as they do every year before Thanksgiving, getting heavier in the month of December, and shouting in our faces during the month of January. Diet ads, diet fads, diet talks, workout regimens for “the holiday meals” and diet resolutions. Oh, how we are bombarded. We see it in magazines, on TV, on social media, on signs posted all around the shopping areas and in our emails. We hear it from our local radio stations, our friends, family, strangers, clients and coworkers.
How many of you are surrounded by all of this as well? My guess is we are all surrounded by it.
We see the bold print of “diet talk,” and we hear the loudness of what seems to pressure people into thinking about dieting. All of that “loudness” may not affect everyone, but yet it seems to plant a seed in the minds of many; it seems to water the seeds that have already been planted over the years in others, and all of it has become “normal.”
Normal because when I hear or see anything to do with dieting during the holidays and New Year's I think, “There it is again.” Or I feel annoyed and turn the volume down. Or I just see it and ignore it. Or I think to myself, “Huh, maybe I should try a new 'healthier' way of eating.” Or even, “I have noticed my body changing during this holiday time.” When, in reality, it's FALSE, FALSE, FALSE.
Combatting diet talk
I do not need to eat “healthier.” There are not drastic changes. There is NOTHING wrong at all with my eating or my body. There is NOTHING wrong. When you hear the loudness of it all, what do you do? What do you feel? Can you tell yourself “FALSE" every time an ad or something you read comes up?
Something I have developed over the years is what I call “The False Game.” Every time I hear or see anything to do with weight, diets, food and anything that is not helpful or true to my recovery, I think or even say out loud “false.” If I’m in public and there are books, magazines and ads, or even if I'm in my car listening to the radio or at home watching TV and an ad comes on, I just say “false.” For me it gives me my power back. The loudness can be seen and heard but I have something to say back.
What kind of things have you found that help you or your loved ones with the loudness of holiday season diet talk?
If I feel concerned, I will NOT take any advertising advice or negative thoughts into consideration. I will go to my outpatient team and talk with them. Because the loudness of the diet culture during the holiday season is NOTHING but negativity and lies. I will not give into social media or advertisements or conversations because it’s “normal.” It’s not normal. Being told to worry about your weight, your food and your body during the “holiday season” is not normal. Can others relate?
The reminder of gratitude
I feel that I should be focusing on what I’m grateful for: family, friends, pets, work and the joy of seeing the faces of the kids I nanny light up when they are taking pictures with Santa. What can you or do you focus on during the holiday season? What are reminders you could write down or already have written down?
I will NOT put my thoughts and focus into dieting or my body. I did that for over 10 years, and I want to stay rooted in my recovery which has been nine years. Recovery from an eating disorder is not easy when most of what I see, hear and read is diet related. It goes against everything that my recovery has taught me. But I have found ways to fight back and a support system that’s always around when I need support.
The holiday season is not always easy for everyone. And I want to remind you that you're not alone. If you feel alone, please reach out to loved ones, your team, support groups or friends, even a teacher or a youth minister. Reach out to someone. Because you are NOT alone.
My name is Savannah, and I am a part of the Recovery Ambassador Council at Eating Recovery Center. I am a little over nine years recovered, and the path I have taken to get here has been hard but worth it. I write about my recovery because I want others to know that they are not alone and that it does get better.