A guest post from model, influencer, and body-positive activist, Sarah Hamel-Smith @thecurvytrini
“Are you sure you want to eat all that food?” My uncle said to me while I was happily filling up my plate with delicious Christmas food on the way to the table.
I felt a knot in my stomach and no longer wanted to eat. I was still a child but I understood the connotation. Women are supposed to be thin, and in order to be thin you can’t eat too much.
“Look at you, you’ve gotten so fat!” – Older Cousin Matthew
“You better lose that weight or you will never get a boyfriend!” – Aunt June
The holiday season with all its magic can also be a very stressful and triggering time. As a plus-sized woman, hurtful comments about my body from family or old friends that I haven’t seen in a long time have always put a damper on the experience.
This used to be a major source of anxiety for me. In my younger days, I would go to parties with my family and try to make myself as small and inconspicuous as possible. I would put the tiniest amount of food on my plate and feel like everyone was watching and judging what the fat girl ate.
Diet culture dominated the dinner table. There was a lot of “this is delicious but I feel so guilty for eating badly”, “I feel so fat and ugly” and “I need to diet to work off all these calories” floating around as I sat there in silence, the biggest of the bunch in my XXL pants that were too small, slowly eating my tiny dinner.
At the end of the day, we cannot control what other people think or say. But we can control our own actions and responses to these triggers.
These are six methods I’ve identified for surviving and thriving the holiday season:
1. Gift yourself
When we look good, we feel good. Start the season off by planning your outfits and treating yourself to some beautiful clothing like these pieces from The Holiday Collection from Belle and Broome. Feeling gorgeous and stylish really helps boost self-confidence.
2. Eat the food, drink the wine
So often, we hold ourselves back from experiencing all the food and wonderful things we spend hours creating because of diet culture. This year, allow yourself to revel in these beautiful sensory experiences guilt-free. Savor each bite of the delicious food and have that glass of wine or eggnog. Life is meant to be enjoyed!
3. Take time to rest
Our bodies are so wise. If you find yourself feeling overwhelmed snappy and tired, schedule a day of nothing. Excuse yourself from the party and go to sleep early. Deadlines, expectations and family obligations will still be there tomorrow. We are no use to anyone when we are broken and burned out.
4. Learn to say no
There are so many invitations and requests that come pouring in during this festive season. When someone makes a demand it is easy to over-commit and say yes without thinking. Give yourself time to think. Say, “I would love to but I need to check my schedule and get back to you!” Also remember, no is a full sentence. Saying no to things you don’t really want to be a part of allows you to give your full energy to the things that you like! Which brings us to the next point---
5. Create new traditions
Oftentimes if we are being honest we don’t even like the people we force ourselves to spend the holidays with. The great thing about being an adult is that you are in control of your life. You may choose to endure the occasional dinner with rude/ creepy Uncle (insert name here) to make your mom happy, but for the rest of the time do things and be around people you actually like. Create new holiday traditions with friends and family that you actually enjoy!
6. Don’t overextend yourself financially
How many times have you spent the holidays running around like a lunatic, buying gifts you can’t afford and then left with a massive credit card bill in January that you are paying off all year? It doesn’t have to be this way. Create some lovely home-made Christmas treats or organize a naughty Santa gift exchange. There are many ways you can make your loved ones feel special without putting yourself in debt. Holidays don’t have to break the bank.
This holiday season, allow for a shift in your thinking. Connect with the highest truth, that you are good and worthy just exactly the way you are and you will be untouchable.
The world will always have people who say mean things but when we know who we are and put ourselves and our happiness first, what they say won’t mean a thing.
This year, do it differently. Rock those beautiful clothes from Belle and Broome and let yourself shine!