With Thanksgiving less than a week away, let’s talk about what you shouldn’t say to your friends and family this holiday.
In my experience, most people in this day and age have experienced or witnessed some sort of disordered eating. Disordered eating is when someone has symptoms or behaviors related to eating disorders but at different levels of severity and frequency that may still pose risk towards physical and mental health. Disordered eating can include restrictive eating/diets, binging, and inconsistent eating habits. People of all ages can relate to difficulties with disordered eating so you need to be courteous of them the same way they need to be courteous of you. Small comments that you or your family make can be extremely triggering and uncomfortable for some people and everyone should try to avoid them.
Things not to say at Thanksgiving:
“Have you gained/lost weight? You look FANTASTIC!” This might come off as a compliment but I promise you its not. Just because you tell someone they look good does not mean they feel good. You also don’t want to say the wrong thing by asking if someone lost weight while they are trying to gain and vice versa. Someone looking fantastic should not be dependent on how their body looks!
“Grab another piece of pie, you look like you need it.” Once again, don’t talk about people’s bodies. One common misconception is that “skinny people aren’t insecure about their bodies”. Everyone can feel insecure or uncomfortable about their bodies and eating by extension. Don’t make someone feel insecure about their size!
“Are you sure you want seconds?” Why are you even commenting on what people are eating? This is why people feel insecure about eating or hide their eating because comments like this make one feel insecure and like they have to hide that they may still be hungry.
“How is your weight loss journey going?” It’s common to talk about changes in your life and personal journeys with the people you care about. When you get together with those you love on holidays, you may not have seen each other in a while and you may want to ask but this is so not appropriate. If someone wants to talk about their weight loss journey, let them bring it up to you and be a good listener.
“Whoa, whoa, slow down and chew your food.” Like we talked about earlier, why are we talking about how people eat? Don’t make comments that could make someone insecure about how they eat. This can be so damaging to someone’s eating habits.
Some of these statements are obvious that you shouldn’t say and others you may not have even thought twice about. Please think about what you are saying to others on and around the holidays and how it may affect the people around you. If your family struggles with making these comments, it’s okay to have a conversation beforehand to express how you feel about how certain comments may make you uncomfortable and set boundaries on conversation topics.
I hope you all have a happy and safe Thanksgiving!