The Holidays Are Coming: Prepare to Be Bombarded by Diet Culture

As we transition from sunbathing in bathing suits to cozying up with movie classics and vanilla lattes in the fall, it’s a good time to prepare yourself for what’s to come. What happened to savoring M&Ms on Halloween, experiencing the glory of buttered mashed potatoes on Thanksgiving, or saving a couple of Santa's cookies for ourselves? Unfortunately, millions of people will be too preoccupied with counting their calories, swearing off carbs, or calculating their macros instead of being present with their friends and family.

That comes to us as no surprise, considering the bombardment of advertisements, social media posts, and diet marketing that floods our media feeds during these months. All promote the same underlying message that during this time, food is the enemy, and we must take extensive precautions in order to avoid the doom and gloom of experiencing post-turkey bloat, or sodium retention (both of which are a part of the grand scheme of immersing oneself in the experience of a holiday). Many of these media messages will tell you that upon seeing piles of grandma’s homemade rice pudding, and cousin Jerry’s honey glazed ham, that you simply can’t trust yourself. It feels like you must only stick to green bean casserole (without the casserole!) in order to not overindulge yourself into the black hole of a never-ending binge. Remember: diet culture feeds off this fear. Despite disguising themselves as notions of  “wellness,” these messages are completely misguided and are fueled by the profit-seeking diet industry and fatphobia. It is this very notion that humans are incapable of controlling themselves around food, which leads to an unhealthy relationship with food and one’s body.  You. Can. Trust. Your. Body. You don’t have to hold onto a set of food rules with a death grip this holiday season in order to make it out the other end with an intact sense of pride, well-being, and confidence. So, this holiday season, do yourself a favor and throw out the diet books, restrictive intentions, and fat-gluten-sugar-carb-chemical-fun free “holiday” foods - and just do your best to simply be mindful, and practice intuitive eating. You know your body best, and you can trust your hunger and fullness cues. You deserve to spend the holidays and all the foods that come with them without guilt, fear, or regret. Instead of counting the calories you just ate: join in on Aunt Sherry’s horrible rendition of “All I Want For Christmas Is You” karaoke.

Instead of steering clear of the mashed potatoes, try to savor every buttery, glorious bite until you are satiated. Instead of doing all the math that goes with “perfectly” balancing your protein, carbs, and fats, ask your mother how she’s been and thank her for her out-of-this-world stuffing! Holidays are not supposed to be a test of our commitment to our health or willpower. They are about being present with those we love, enjoying an array of foods that we are blessed to have, and celebrating life; those are among the healthiest things you can do. So, Diet Culture, do us all a favor this 2020 holiday season, and f*ck off.