The holidays can be difficult for anyone, and especially difficult for someone dealing with an eating disorder. Christmas is a different experience for everyone, but when I began suffering from bulimia, it became hard for me in a whole new way.
Even since I’ve recovered from bulimia, Christmas still still brings up a lot of emotions for me. The food, family, drinking, and feelings of loneliness can all trigger eating disorder behaviors.
Oh, the comments…
For me the hardest thing about Christmas is the comments some of my grandparents make about my weight. And I’m sure I’m not the only one with family members who think its okay to make remarks about your weight. It used to be that I was too thin and I needed to put on weight. But now, they think I need to lose it.
My grandma has told me, “This is going to sound horrible – but you’ve gotten very fat!” As if prefacing that comment with, “It’s going to sound horrible” makes it all better. Another grandparent just asks me if I’m exercising, every time I see him. Okay, I get the hint!
So whether it’s a grandparent, parent, auntie or uncle, here are my tips on dealing with hurtful comments over the holidays.
3 Tips for dealing with weight comments over the holidays
1. Have an ally
Tell a family member or friend that you trust about how hard it is to hear comments about your weight and appearance. It helps to vent to someone and have an ally during these (potentially traumatic) family occasions.
2. Don’t make excuses for them
Don’t make excuses for your family member’s rude comments.
I used to tell myself, “They’re old, they don’t realize it’s mean” or “They mean well.” But it doesn’t matter who it is or their intention. It’s rude and it’s hurtful. Don’t blame yourself for feeling hurt.
Acknowledge how the comments makes you feel. Validate your emotions. Even if you decide to keep it to yourself, think about how you feel and try to process it. Having a journal to write in could be helpful.
And if you feel like comfortable, tell the person how their comment makes you feel. Hopefully, they’ll listen.
3. Remember: it’s a party, not prison
Remember that as hard as it can be sometimes, the holidays eventually do end.
However, if the situation is too detrimental for you, then leave ASAP! Put yourself first! It’s perfectly fine to excuse yourself from a holiday party early if you feel like it’s compromising your recovery or you simply aren’t having fun.
Stay the course, warrior
Recovering is all about learning and beginning to love your self again. Do your best to not let the holidays change that.
Be proud of where you are in your journey, no matter what comments are made at the dinner table.