The holidays can be a particularly tricky time to navigate eating and body image. The ramped up break room conversations about the treachery of cookies and looming New Year’s diets* can be enough to make even the loudest body positive voices feel a little anxious.
Today I want to share with you my personal holiday eating “rule,” in case it’s helpful for your self care, too. Although it isn’t always easy, the rule is simple.
Don’t take on other people’s food shame.
We all know the person who talks about how deathly dairy is, while they watch you add creamer to your coffee. You may have someone in your life who looks you in the eye as they criticize what you eat and drink, without your invitation.
They may even leave you out of it entirely, but lament about how “bad” they are for eating X, Y, and Z.
Their food policing is about their preoccupation with food. But as exhausting as it may be for them, their shame is theirs.
Right now you may actually be deep into the important work of healing and shaping a more peaceful relationship with your body.
Regardless of where you are on your journey, you don’t have to take on anyone else’s food shame. Here’s why:
Feeding yourself isn’t a moral issue.
Some foods have more vitamins than others, of course. But eating sugar doesn’t make you a bad person, just like eating salad won’t make you a better person.
Your value as a human being doesn’t hinge on vitamins, calories, or any other metric.
Taking the shame off of food is hugely helpful to our mental and physical self care. When we stop equating food with virtue or guilt, we naturally gravitate toward more balance in the way we eat. It becomes easier to hear hunger; enjoy food’s tastes and textures; and tune into how we feel before, during, and after.