Body Image During the Holidays

Once November comes around, it is one holiday after another, starting with Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Kwanza, and Christmas, etc. What is the one thing that all holidays have in common? Food. And LOTS of it. For someone battling with a negative body image, these cheerful and happy holidays can become sad, depressing and unappealing.  Food is the central gathering part of all the holidays. Turkey, stuffing, gravy, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, and pumpkin pie are all served at Thanksgiving and are all foods that do contain a decent amount of fat. It is also the time when you are reunited with family members who may not have filters when it comes to comments. You might hear things like “you’ve lost so much weight!” or “Why did you cut your hair?” Try to refrain from asking these questions as it can truly inflict emotional pain on someone who may be dealing with negative body image issues. Talk to people about their recent job offer or how school is going. Refrain from talking about appearances as it puts the focus directly on that issue.

How can you avoid negative body images over the holiday season? Indiana University provides us with some tips:

1)     Around the holidays, the media goes nuts with fat diets that will help you lose those holiday pounds. Ignore these silly ads. Your body may change over the holidays, and it is inevitable. The change you experience over break does not mean that it will stay with you forever.

2)     Focus on strengths. Focus on how well you did in school this semester, or the amazing family that you get to spend the holidays with. Take the focus off of yourself.

3)     Change the subject if the topic of food or weight comes up. Also, if you start thinking negatively about your body, change the topic in your mind. Think about something positive about yourself.

4)     Remember that there are no good or bad foods. Eat for satisfaction, health and hunger. Eat when you are hungry, and stop eating when you are full.

5)     Exercise without pressure. Enjoy the time with your family. Don’t feel pressured to go to the gym for hours. Instead, join in a game of football on Thanksgiving with your family. It will keep exercise light and fun!

6)     Do not look at the scale. Don’t look at it. Give yourself a break!

7)     Do not fall victim to fad diets over the holidays. Stay healthy and nourish your body in mind, body and spirit. Fad diets will not provide a quick fix but rather can do your body harm.

Stay happy, healthy and have a wonderful holiday season. The holidays are a time to sit back, relax and enjoy life with those you love.