Surviving Diet Culture Over the Holidays

This time of year is meant to be joyful—and when you're not fighting food and your body, it often is. 

When you’re in a peaceful relationship with food, you can enjoy all the great options at holiday parties. 

You can fully appreciate and savor all the special things you get to eat that are only available this time of year. 

Your experience of pleasure isn’t marred by thoughts of how you’ll “make up for” what you ate, because you trust your body to find balance in its own way, in its own time. 

When you feel satisfied and done eating, you can focus on other things. 

The food doesn’t keep calling to you all night, sending you into an inner battle and jolting you out of every conversation. 

You have the mental space to think and talk about a million other, more important issues than food and your body. 

You get to connect with your loved ones over the things that really matter. 

And sure, sometimes you get annoyed by diet talk from friends and family—but you can easily tune it out.

You know that whatever diet or “lifestyle change” they’re talking about, it’s not for you. 

Sometimes you even take the opportunity to plant seeds for them about why diets don’t work, and to share what you’ve learned about how to truly find peace with food and your body. 

Other times, you just change the subject to something that actually interests you—because you’re *beyond* bored with diet culture. 

When the onslaught of “new year, new you” media starts coming at you, you take a deep breath (or 20) and reconnect with the truth that you are enough, exactly as you are. 

This is what the holiday season can be like once you’ve gotten through the hard part of recovery from diet culture. 

This is what it can be like for you, too.

You may not be there yet—you may still be in the hard part of recovery, or even in the part where you’re still actively dieting—but just know that a more relaxed relationship with food is available to you. 

Peace with food is available to you. 

Of course, life can create barriers blocking your access to peace. 

Barriers like difficult circumstances, discrimination, and fatphobia, which can make you feel like you need dieting and disordered eating to help you cope. 

Learning other coping skills is key to shifting out of this pattern, but that can take time—so it’s important to be compassionate with yourself along the way. 

You had every reason to think dieting was going to help you, even though that wasn’t true. 

Diet culture has been lying to you since birth, telling you that the way to get what you want out of life is to shrink your body. 

It’s been telling you these things every day, on billboards and in movies, in school, at the doctor’s office, and at home. 

Diet culture is everywhere, in so many different manifestations.

It’s sneaky like that.

In an environment like this, of course you believed that dieting and disordered eating were the path forward.

But now you know there’s another path you could take, one that honors your true needs and desires. 

Now it’s time to figure out what those are. 

That’s what this week's episode of Food Psych is all about—how we find a new way of relating to food and our bodies that respects and honors us as whole human beings. 

My guest is Lucy Aphramor, a fellow anti-diet dietitian and the co-author (with Linda Bacon) of Body Respect. She has an approach to health and well-being that prioritizes social justice, compassion, and learning to meet your needs and follow your desires without shame or self-judgment.

We talked about her philosophy of body respect, why recovery isn't a linear process, how to keep yourself emotionally safe during the holidays, and lots more. Tune in to hear it right here, and be sure to subscribe on your favorite podcast app so you never miss an episode!

This will be probably my last blog post of 2017, so I wanted to take a moment to wish you joy and peace this holiday season. 

I'm so grateful that you're a part of my community—your support is a huge part of what keeps me inspired to create new content and keep fighting the good fight against diet culture, so thank you for reading, listening, and engaging with me this past year, and I can't wait to connect more in 2018 <3 

Here's to surviving diet culture, over the holidays and every day, 

If you're ready to start 2018 off on a diet-free note, come join my Intuitive Eating Fundamentals online course so that you can give up dieting for good—and free your mind to focus on the things that really matter. You can also give it as a gift to someone you love, now through January 1!

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