There’s tons of pressure to have the perfect body, whether it’s swimsuit season or the holidays. As folks gear up for company holiday parties, family gatherings, and get-togethers with friends, there’s a tremendous amount of pressure – both internal and external – to be perfect. To look perfect. For our bodies to slip under cocktail dresses and dress pants just so.
Self-care is about giving yourself permission to set limits and giving yourself space to simply be. This season, we say ditch the expectations and refuse the Spanx. Here are several body positive tips to get you through the holidays.
1. Say Goodbye To Your Scale
Your body is going to fluctuate. One of the easiest things to do to give yourself a break is to just say goodbye to your scale while celebrations are afoot. Why ruin the fun by punishing yourself and feeling lousy? Reintroduce the scale, if you must, back in mid-January when your life begins to return back to normal.
2. Allow Yourself To Snack
You’re going to be happier and healthier if you don’t skip meals or starve yourself between them. This includes preventing blood sugar dips that lead to depression, anxiety, and anger. Keep your body fueled and you won’t feel the need to overeat, though you damn sure can do it if you want to!
3. Use Neutral Language When Talking About Food
Stop saying things are “good” or “bad,” and stop feeling “guilty” about dietary decisions. Feel guilty about saying bad shit about other people and their choices, but don’t assign human values to inanimate objects.
Body positive blogger Bevin Branlandingham suggests these easy-to-memorize phrases for counteracting food-negative attitudes from others during the holidays:
“Hey, I try to be neutral about food because I think all bodies are good bodies.”
“Hey, I’m worried about commenting about the value of food and body insecurity in front of these little ears nearby. I’d love to help them love bodies of all sizes so they don’t end up with food or body issues.”
“Cultivating a culture of food enjoyment is really important to me. I would love to enjoy this delicious food instead of assigning value to it!”
Try them at your next family gathering or meal with a friend who is still hung up on these ideas.
4. Compliment Your Friends and Family More
Author of Bawdy Love: 10 Steps To Profoundly Loving Your Body Lauren Marie Fleming suggests that we should talk to loved ones about their worth. Let them know how much they mean to you and talk about their strengths. Let them know what you find beautiful and unique about each of them. Make your compliments about attributes other than one’s physical appearance.
When they feel empowered, they’re less likely to speak negatively about themselves and others. Use your strength to help fortify them, and watch the effect as it blossoms outwards beyond you and your circle.
5. Give Room for Folks To Be Body Negative
Even with #4 in mind, not everyone can be body positive. Hell, feeling body neutral is the best that many folks can do, and they should be supported, as well. It’s important to realize that we can’t always change the mind of people and that internalized hate is their cross to bear, not yours.
6. Have A Support Network
Curate a handful of friends, family members, acquaintances, or colleagues that you can talk to when the pressure is on. Whether it is a friend who you can text when you’re feeling judged or down on yourself, a family member with whom you can commiserate when the health nut family member tries to talk you into jogging with them, or a coworker that you can talk to when an officemate won’t STFU about their new diet, it helps to have folks to talk to about these things.
You can also curate your support network by following body positive and fat liberationist experts on the web. Folks like Sonya Renee Taylor of The Body Is Not An Apology, Virgie Tovar, and Jes Baker of The Militant Baker are excellent places to start. Follow their blogs and buy their books to feed your mind and soul during this tough season.