Avoid Ruining the Holidays for Fat Friends and Family This Year- A How-To Guide – Dances With Fat

I spend a lot of time helping obese people deal with the nonsense of obesity that comes our way daily, and which often escalates into holidays (whether we celebrate them or not.) I always want to be clear that these things are not our fault, even though they have become Our problem and that the problem isn’t fat people, it’s shameful. So today I wanted to take a second to talk directly to the intentional, casual, and potentially diverse – however well-meaning – about how they can stop the problem before it even starts over the holidays, and all year long! The lack of in-person gatherings may reduce this nonsense, but I’ve already heard from people who struggle with this at zoom events.

Of course the people who need to read this might not be the ones likely to see my blog, so feel free to share this if you’re so inclined!

Don’t give a “healthy” gift to lose weight

It does not give a gym membership, a diet club membership, a “healthy meal” delivery, etc. unless specifically requested by the person. Including, and especially if you just assume that they don’t really do or have these things because of your stereotype about fat people, or as a negative-aggressive hint that you think they might “need” the gift. Alternatively, if you want to give a gift, consider choosing something based on the person’s actual likes and interests rather than stereotypes and fat shaming. Or maybe a nice gift certificate.

Don’t be the food police

Don’t monitor, comment, or preoccupy yourself in any way with the food choices of fat people (or anyone of any size) at parties, holiday dinners, or ever. If we need the Food Police, we’ll call Pie-1-1. If you feel you may have to deal with the food police of family and friends, here are some tips. If you want some ideas to help when you witness this kind of food shaming, check here.

Don’t give a shameful card

Lots of obese people get cards with a version of “We love you and we want you to lose weight because we want you to be close for a long time.” If you honestly can’t figure out why “Happy Vacation! Please don’t die of obesity because mourning is going to be a big concern for us” isn’t an appropriate message for a vacation card, so please just take my word for it. This is a bad idea. Also, keep in mind that giving cards may not be right for you. A person who presents him with such a small Hallmark moment may be able to successfully defend himself in court with “Your honor, they needed to kill”

This happened to my partner a few years ago and she chose to cut ties with relatives completely, and they seem to resent her. Bad behavior can have unwanted consequences for everyone, so don’t put your fat friends and family in this situation.

Don’t get involved in diet talk or negative body talk

This suggestion is not only to help obese guests, but also for guests of any size who might be dealing with eating disorders, or guests interested in dialogue that isn’t boring as hell. Find something else to talk about other than why you eat or don’t eat what you eat or don’t eat. Skip the 5-minute soliloquy about what you feel you should do to punish yourself for eating a pie, ask someone at the party to tell you about themselves instead, go watch TV, play on your phone, whatever.

Do not comment on body size changes

Nothing says “happy holidays” like knowing your relatives are watching your body. You might think it’s a compliment to ask if someone has lost weight but this question is very loading – perhaps they lost weight due to illness, grief, medication, an eating disorder, or something else unwanted or unintentional. Maybe they’re uncomfortable turning their body size into a topic of discussion (maybe because it’s so inappropriate…) Maybe they haven’t lost weight, and no matter how well-meaning you are, they consider it shy or passive-aggressive. (Or maybe you meant to be shy or passive-aggressive, in which case you’re late, wouldn’t you be dear please, and ditch that shit.) If you’d like some suggestions for wading through the tough world of weight loss compliments (like what to do when someone tells you Once you’ve lost weight and then looks at you with anticipation), you’ll find it here.

Do not perform any kind of weight loss intervention

This should be a big pile obviously in a clear box with a clear bow, but every year some people who want to be seen as “brave” write an article about how the holidays are the perfect time to disgrace your relatives “for their own good.” First of all. To start, people’s weight and health (two different things) are none of your business unless they ask you to make them your business. Even if you don’t believe it, the holidays are definitely not the time to do this. And if you feel like you have to do this on the holidays because it’s the only time you see this person, think about how you relate to their life and whether you have any work to do at all. Then do not. Just don’t. not do. No. Believe me when I tell you, you are not a fat whisperer.

By the way, if you want a cartoon explaining that people shouldn’t do these things (in the song!) I made one and you can find it here!

Upcoming online workshop:

Create a healthy, weight-neutral body journey

The weight loss industry works hard to confuse weight loss with the concept of health, so even when we realize that diets don’t work and we’re out of the diet game, it can be hard to separate our past diet culture from our desire for it. Support our body to move forward. Health is an amorphous, multifactorial concept that is not an obligation or measure of merit or entirely within our control. To understand it, in this workshop we will discuss how we can access our entire personal health journey on our own terms and leave the diet culture behind forever.

Full details and registration: https://danceswithfat.org/monthly-online-workshops/
* This workshop is free for DancesWithFat members – login information is on the members page
Become a member here!

Did you miss one of the monthly workshops? You can still get the video here!

Workshop: Dealing with the New Year’s Diet BS

I am honored to join Marcy of Plus Bus, Marina of Peridot Robbs, Deb Malkin – Physical Pain Coach, and Tigress Osborne, President of NAAFA.org and iOfTheTigress.com to speak at this event created by Crystal Beaugon “to educate and more than likely entertain us at FAT COMMUNITY Watch Party on January 8th”. It’s only $5 and you can join directly or get the video the next day. Like Crystal says, “Let’s energize and lift each other up with that awful diet that comes to us every January.” Hope to see you there!

Register here: https://fatcommunity.square.site/

Like this blog? If you appreciate the work I do, you can support my ability to do more of it with a one-time tip or by becoming a member. (Members get special deals on fat positives, a monthly email that keeps them updated on the work their membership supports, and the ability to ask questions that I answer in a monthly members-only Q&A video!)

Book me! I’d like to talk to your organization (and I can do it remotely!) I talk to healthcare audiences, colleges, companies, and the general public on topics including weight science, weight stigma, and the health model at every size. You can get more info here or just email me at ragen at danceswithfat dot org

Posted by Ragin Chastain

Hi, I’m Ragan Chastain. Speaker, writer, dancer, choreographer, marathoner, soon-to-be iron distance athlete, activist, fat person. View all posts by Ragini Chastain

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