How to respond to comments about food or your body
The holiday season is upon us and it can be quite daunting to see family and friends that you haven’t seen in a while, especially when you have been working hard to build a more positive relationship with food, eating and your body.
Since food is often the focal point of the holiday season, it’s not surprising that some comments about weight, food or dieting can come up.
It can be really difficult to not let these comments hurt you, so we’ve compiled this blog to help you respond to comments about food or your body and to keep yourself safe during the holidays.
It is useful to remember that often the people that comment on what/how much someone is eating or on someone’s body are often the ones struggling most with their own relationship with food and body. Some people might genuinely have no idea that their comments are harmful.
Try and prepare for the situation
If you know you are going to a family event where you might feel vulnerable to comments from family or friends, come up with a few strategies in advance.
For example, by having some of the responses ready that we mention below or having your BFFL on speed dial for a therapeutic bathroom vent.
It can also be useful to discuss with your Dietitian, Counsellor or Therapist to build some individualised strategies.
If someone is commenting on your weight or criticising your body and food choices, one of the most powerful responses can be to not respond at all. Look at the person to show that you have heard what they have said but let them sit in their own discomfort.
A family member or friend making hurtful comments says a lot more about them than it does about you. It’s often a reflection of how they feel about themselves.
How to respond to comments about food or your body:
“Everyone is different when it comes to food choices, this is what works best for my body”
“I’m happy with what I have on my plate. If I’m still hungry then I’ll get more food”
“Isn’t it amazing that our bodies can tell us exactly how much we need to eat to feel full?”
“My [food choices/body] are not up for discussion”
“I know you think you are trying to help, but when you say things like that, they are hurtful.”
“While we are talking about food, I had the most amazing meal with [insert friend/family name] at [insert location/restaurant] not long ago, have you seen them lately/have you been there before?”
“I’m glad that works for you. I’m going to go [eat/outside/say hello to X/etc.]”
“Thanks for your concern, let’s just focus on enjoying ourselves now.”
“Someone else’s [food choices/body] is really none of my business. I think they look fantastic. They are so much fun to be around”
If the person making the hurtful comments is someone that you wish to maintain a connection with, it could be worth trying to gently explain to them how their comments have made you feel.
It is up to you whether you feel safe enough to have a private conversation with them about how their comments are impacting you.
It is also important to remind yourself that it is okay to put distance between yourself and the people that don’t support you, even if they are family. This might sound a little bit harsh, but sometimes the best thing you can do is to opt-out if making peace isn’t an option. You don’t have to cut them out of your life, but you can choose when and how you interact with them.
When it comes to someone else talking about their weight or diet to you, you can choose whether or not you wish to engage in conversation.
You can wait for the conversation to change or just leave the room/situation.
If you feel safe enough, you could explain what body positivity is about, and what it means to you. You could also recommend some resources that you have found useful in your own journey.
“Oh, I just finished reading this awesome book about why dieting doesn’t work and what to do instead, would you like to borrow it sometime?
“I found this great [Instagram account/podcast/book/blog] that shares a lot of really great advice about [insert topic]. Did you want me to share it with you?”
You are in control of how you handle or respond to these comments during the holiday season. Be kind to yourself and remind yourself that it is okay to set boundaries to keep yourself safe.
Looking for more support during the holiday season? We have a wonderful blog here that deep-dives into how to move past food guilt & enjoy eating.
We would love to know if you have found this blog useful ❤️
Stay in touch with us on Instagram @glowgrouphealth this holiday season for more body positive holiday content!