...

Why You Should Never Comment On Someone's Weight Or Eating Habits At Thanksgiving




 

In theory, Thanksgiving is great: incredible food, a long weekend and time spent with people you love. But for those who live with eating disorders or food or body image issues, the holiday can actually be pretty triggering and fear-inducing.

"There's a lot of stress around food, but also a lot about how you look," said Amee Severson, a registered dietitian at Prosper Nutrition and Wellness in the Seattle area.

We live in a wellness-obsessed culture, and it's common for well-meaning family members to make comments about weight or food choices. The problem is that these comments can be harmful in a number of ways and are never helpful. Below is a breakdown of why and of what you should do if this pops up at the dinner table, according to experts.

A person's weight can't tell you anything about their health

Thanksgiving is a great time to catch up with family and ask about everything going on in their lives, but steer clear of weight and body questions or comments.

"You don't know what's going on with someone just by looking at them," said Rachel Millner, a licensed psychologist who has specialized training and experience working with eating disorders and body image issues. "So many people, regardless of their body size, struggle with food and disordered eating. A good rule of thumb is just never to talk about weight or diet, because it can be triggering."

This goes for commenting on changes in weight, too. Although it was years ago, Severson still remembers the Thanksgiving after her mother passed away. A family member approached her about her weight gain.

"I remember it so clearly, because all I could think was, 'Really? It's more important that I gained weight than that my mom just died?' It felt like they didn't care about me - what was more important was that my body was different," she said.

"Complimenting" someone on their weight loss can be equally damaging and may convey the opposite of your intentions.

"You never really know what's going on behind changes in someone's weight," said Rachael Hartley, a registered dietitian based in Charleston, South Carolina. "I've heard many examples from clients where their weight loss was complimented, and really they were in the midst of a pretty severe eating disorder, or engaging in really disordered eating behaviors to get to that size."

Many people suffer from eating disorders in silence, and comments about weight and dieting can be damaging

Weight shaming is a huge risk factor for eating disorders, according to the National Eating Disorders Association, as is internalizing the idea that thinner is better and you have to limit your eating in order to achieve the perfect weight.

"When you're suffering from an eating disorder or body image issues, it's so difficult to hear, 'Oh, I'm so bad!' from someone who's eating the same thing that you are," Severson said. Someone with an eating disorder is likely to internalize any comment they hear about diet or weight, even if the comment isn't directed at them, she said.

If you are legitimately concerned about drastic changes in someone's weight, Severson recommended waiting until after the big family gathering is over to act on that concern.

"Don't bring up that you think something is wrong with their body, or the way they're eating," she said. "Just let them know that you're there for them. Say, 'I'm wondering if you're OK. And if you're not, I'm here to talk, to listen and to help in whatever way I can.' And then be open to what they tell you, because it might not have anything to do with food or their body."

Also keep in mind that weight and health aren't inherently linked

Often, family members will make weight or food comments out of concern for someone's health, which is misguided for so many reasons.

A 2011 study found that focusing on weight, rather than a healthy lifestyle, leads to poorer health outcomes. What's more, 2015 research showed that weight discrimination against people in larger bodies leads to poorer health outcomes and higher mortality rates.

Being fat - a descriptor that many experts choose because it doesn't have the clinical or pathological implications of "overweight" or "obese" - isn't inherently unhealthy, but fat stigma is and can have dangerous consequences. And this stigma often comes from those closest to us, especially around the holidays.

"Making comments about someone's weight gain, or their being in a bigger body, is just perpetuating weight stigma," Hartley said. Conversely, she added, complimenting weight loss reinforces the idea that weight loss is always a good thing and "the false perception that thinness is better."

The whole, "I'm just looking out for your health!" excuse is probably B.S., anyway.

"Weight comments aren't really about health," Millner added. "They're wrapped up in our diet culture, and in fat phobia and weight stigma."

Talking about weight ― instead of connecting on something deeper ― can make elements of the holiday feel shameful

As a dietitian, Severson finds that people often talk about "good' and "bad" foods and label them as such. She encourages her patients to just enjoy what they're eating instead.

"Think about how stress-relieving a holiday like Thanksgiving would be if you weren't so stressed about food and how your body looks," she said. "Get excited about the awesome pumpkin pie your grandma makes, or how your mom makes the best turkey."

If you find yourself talking or thinking about your weight or someone else's this Thanksgiving, stop yourself. Instead, seize the opportunity to talk about and connect over things that are so much more important. (Here are a list of conversation starters for the dinner table that are actually meaningful.)

"The holidays can be about connection, which is so good for all of us," Millner said. "By focusing on weight, you're weakening that chance for connection, and maybe even breaking it."

If someone comments on your weight, feel free to tell them it's none of their business

No matter what your thoughts on weight and health, commenting on somebody else's body is an invasion of their privacy. Period.

"I think it's important to remember that someone should not be commenting on your weight," Hartley said, adding that someone's loaded, negative comment about your body likely is "more about their relationship to their body and their fat phobia than it is about you."

The same goes for talking to someone about their health, which Severson said is "very personal" and "means different things to different people." While of course it's OK to genuinely check in on how someone is doing, it's an entirely different thing if someone is making a stigmatized remark under the guise of concern.

"To make assumptions about a person's health is wrong no matter what, but doing so based on weight doesn't even make sense," Severson said. "You don't know anything just based on the way someone looks."

If you're struggling with an eating disorder, call the National Eating Disorder Association hotline at 1-800-931-2237.

COMMENTS

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Cancel reply

Comments

  • window
    (2019-04-08 12:49:12Z)

    we should not comment on weight because it can hurt us.

    REPLY
    • Delhi Escorts @window
      (2021-05-15 03:27:56Z)

      This is just the information I am finding everywhere. Thanks for your blog, I just subscribe to your blog. This is nice.

      REPLY
  • commercial hvac company
    (2019-07-09 12:46:07Z)

    I never ever before subjected any kind of type of fascinating brief article like your incredibly really own. It" s really certainly worth for me. As I would absolutely see it, if all website admins, together with blog owners, made the amazing.

    REPLY
  • Villas for rent in Cyprus
    (2019-09-19 08:28:30Z)

    Before you struck the launch button of your most present blog site website gets to, you had a much better service warranty that it is good enough for them on the internet readers-assuming that you have in reality established a following of on the internet site visitors. Acquiring a solid adhering to for your blog internet site net website.

    REPLY
  • best vehicle auto dealer
    (2019-09-23 11:54:51Z)

    A great deal required fussing investing the power to explore this signing up with to Google Sniper, I, in actuality, really feel beneficial worrying it, also, to enjoy devouring an enormous amount a ton extra on this particular motif. We need to concentrate on the details of condition that useful, as you add-on limit, do you see any kind of sort of fears with revitalizing your site along with included info?

    REPLY
  • seo services hyperjerk
    (2019-09-25 10:11:47Z)

    An excellent blog constantly comes-up with brand-new as well as amazing information and also while reading I have actually really felt that this blog actually has all those quality that certify a blog to be a one.

    REPLY
  • medical spa coolsculpting
    (2019-09-30 13:05:10Z)

    I establish this is regularly an important and also fascinating short article, as necessary, I accept thusly it's incredibly valuable and also besides modern-day. I could wish to debt of appreciation remains for the activities you have made in making this survey.

    REPLY
  • personal bankruptcy lawyer
    (2019-10-01 13:08:43Z)

    I put your blog internet site internet web site on google along with that recommendation a few of your exceptionally in fact incredibly exceptionally very early messages. Remain to keep the extraordinary run. I just created your RSS feed to my MSN Info As Well As Facts Along With Info In Addition To Moreover Details Internet Site Visitor. Searching for beforehand to considering consisted of from you in the future!

    REPLY
  • professional family lawyer
    (2019-10-25 14:36:57Z)

    Much required for your amazing distributing! I, truly, prestigious assessing it, you will entirely be an incredible writer. I will certainly most completely guarantee that I bookmark your blog site along with additionally will return in the future.

    REPLY
  • Best Medical Spa
    (2019-12-17 06:35:34Z)

    I have essentially as of late started out out a weblog net web website online internet site, the nuances you use in this internet website have helped me dramatically. an entire lot obliged for each solitary among some time further to tough. "if you will, in reality, most actually understand the top nice further to furthermore strength of will, a welcome corporation of wood." via using hal Borland. I used to be simply really sincerely worth this message. I have been searching approximately anywhere for this!.

    REPLY
  • บาคาร่า
    (2020-12-01 01:37:25Z)

    It's good to have a website like this. I can read all the opinions of others as well as i gained information to each and everyone here on your site. Just keep on going dude.

    REPLY
  • บาคาร่า
    (2020-12-01 01:38:49Z)

    It's good to have a website like this. I can read all the opinions of others as well as i gained information to each and everyone here on your site. Just keep on going dude.

    REPLY
  • Bhai Bahn sex story
    (2021-06-04 04:10:44Z)

    Much obliged for setting aside the effort to examine this, I feel firmly about it and love learning more on this subject. In the event that conceivable, as you acquire ability, would you mind refreshing your blog with additional data? It is very useful for me.

    REPLY
  • Bhai Bahn ki sex kahani
    (2021-06-04 04:11:34Z)

    A debt of gratitude is in order for the blog stacked with such a lot of data. Halting by your blog assisted me with getting what I was searching for.

    REPLY
  • Escorts in Delhi
    (2021-06-12 03:18:22Z)

    I wanted to thank you for this excellent read!! I definitely loved every little bit of it. I have you bookmarked your site to check out the new stuff you post.

    REPLY

Top News: Europe