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Navigating Diet Talk around the Holidays

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The holiday season can be wonderful time for celebration and togetherness. However, it may also be a season of anxiety when it comes to navigating conversations among friends and family. With the increase focus on food and meal times, there may also be an increase of discussions about diets, weight loss, and body image, making it difficult for those in recovery to maintain a healthy relationship with food and their bodies. In this blog post, we’ll explore some strategies for responding to diet talk during the holidays while prioritizing your well-being and recovery.

1. Establish Boundaries

Setting boundaries is important when dealing with diet talk. You have the right to protect your mental and emotional well-being. Before the holiday gatherings or events, consider speaking to those close to you about your needs and boundaries. Let them know that you’d appreciate their support in avoiding conversations related to diets and weight loss.

  • In the Moment: If you feel like a boundary is being crossed, or an unwanted conversation has started, one of the simplest ways to hold a boundary is to remove yourself from the conversation. Take a moment to step away, head to the kitchen to refill your water glass, or excuse yourself to the restroom.
  • A boundary can be canceling plans: If you know that a certain event, gathering, or dinner is going to be particularly stressful. A reminder than you CAN choose not to go or participate. You can make your own well-being a priority during this holiday season.

2. Seek Support

If you’re comfortable doing so, confide in a trusted friend or family member who can provide support during gatherings. Having someone who understands your journey can help you feel less alone and more resilient in the face of unwanted conversations. Ask them to help change the subject if diet talk comes up, or you can both step away and start your own conversation.

3. Plan Responses in Advance

Anticipate the kind of diet talk you may encounter during the holidays and prepare responses in advance. Having a set of go-to phrases or comebacks can help you navigate these situations with confidence and reduce anxiety.

Here are a few scenarios of how you could respond depending on your comfort level. You can practice some of these responses so that you feel more prepared or empowered to shift the conversation or express your boundaries.

Scenario 1:

“It looks like you’ve gained a little bit of weight.”

Gentle: I’m not sure, I don’t track that. (Shift topic) How was your ski trip last month?

Bold: Actually, I’ve been trying to prioritize my health over my body size. I’m actually healing my relationship with food and my body and that doesn’t include monitoring my weight.

Scenario 2:

“Are you seriously going to have another slice of cake? It’s so high in calories.”

Gentle: Absolutely, it tastes great!

Bold: I don’t count calories or label foods as ‘good’ or ‘bad.’ I believe in listening to what my body wants and enjoying the foods that I love.

OR I am proud of the work that I have been doing to make peace with all foods and that I get to enjoy this meal!”

Scenario 3:

“I ate way too much this past week, I’m starting a diet tomorrow. Want to do it with me?”

Gentle: No thanks, I’m not interested.

Bold: No thanks, I am not interested in dieting anymore. I am in recovery from an eating disorder and working on healing my own relationship with food right now.

4. Practice Self-Compassion

Eating disorders often come with a great deal of self-criticism and negative self-talk. During the holidays, it’s essential to practice self-compassion. Remind yourself that it’s okay not to be perfect and that your worth isn’t determined by your appearance or food choices. Be compassionate with yourself and prioritize self-care.


Remember that your well-being is a personal journey, and it’s perfectly okay to set boundaries and express your values when it comes to food and body image. Enjoy the festivities and focus on the things that truly matter during this special season.

If your looking for more insight on navigating Diet Talk around the Holidays, check out these great articles!