This Thanksgiving and December Holiday meal times will be strange, plain and simple. For many of us with families out of town, our celebrations will be small.

Still, some of my clients have expressed concern about those obnoxious food and body comments that always seem to arise at family get-togethers.
Did you gain those quarantine 15 too?” “You look so thin? What have you been doing?” and on, and on!
Read the article below as I share a few tips on boundaries so that you can enjoy your Thanksgiving and enjoy time with your family.

Thanksgiving in a Pandemic: Hold Your Boundaries to Prevent Food and Body Image Talk

So how DO we manage these holidays with our self-esteem intact? Particularly when we might be struggling with recovery from disordered eating or an eating disorder?
Here are some suggestions, depending on where you are in your stage of recovery from an eating disorder, disordered eating or chronic dieting!
1. If you have a meal plan or meal guidelines, do your best to follow them. Remember that meals plans act as safety nets when you feel lost with food.
2. If you are giving up diets, remind yourself that all foods fit and there are NO RULES. There are no good or bad foods. Remember, this is only one meal, in one day. There is no need to compensate for a meal with any behaviors. Plan how you want your plate to look!
3. Have a friend or family member act as a support person. They can assist you with meal ideas, support you in completing your meal plan, and even help you respond to insensitive comments, if necessary.
enjoy this thanksgiving with no diet
4. In the event that a friend or family member asks an insensitive question about your food or body, or can’t stop the chatter about their latest and greatest diet, remember that you have many ways to handle this:

  • You can respond directly and say you don’t talk about food and diets anymore. You have more important things to concern yourself with and politely change the subject.
  • Consider having a list of go-to topics if you need to change the subject: “Let’s talk about what we are grateful for this year.”
  • You ALWAYS have the option of protecting your recovery by simply removing yourself from the situation if you feel overwhelmed or caught off guard. You can excuse yourself from the table (even virtually) – take a deep breath, take a walk, or even text a friend who supports you.

5. Do not restrict beforehand or compensate afterwards. Remind yourself that the holiday is just one day and that you do not need to compensate for the meal with over-exercise or undereating. Our bodies have mechanisms in place to balance out our food intake.
No matter how your Thanksgiving holiday turns out, please try and have some compassion. This year has been unlike any we have experienced! You are not alone in your struggle. There is no need to feel “good” or “bad” about eating any foods or being in your body.

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