Body Image Thoughts for the Holidays

While the holidays are a time of joy, celebration, family, and food, they can also be a time of stress and exhaustion, especially if you struggle with body image.

Phrases such as...

“That shirt looks nice on you, did you lose weight?”

“Looks like Aunt Susan has put on some weight since last year.”

“Honey, those pants look a little too tight.”

can seem harmless for some, but for those who struggle with body image, these words can start a spiral of ruminating thoughts that transform into...

“I need to lose (more) weight.”

“Aunt Susan must be too big, so I need to make sure I don’t become as big as her.”

“They think that I am too fat.”

Ruminating thoughts like these are often cognitive distortions (exaggerated thoughts), but leave us feeling like they are absolute truth. They can also demand that we take immediate action, especially when combined with what diet culture demands.

One of the hardest, yet most important things to do in recovery is to remember what your body does for you EVERY day. It doesn’t judge or abandon you. It consistently shows up for you every single day and tries its hardest to keep you safe and well.

Consider some of the following ways to move toward maintaining a healthy body image throughout the year, and especially during the holidays:

  • Make a list of a few (5-10) things, not related to body weight, size, or how you look, that you like about yourself.

  • Remember that confidence, openness, and how you carry yourself are signs of true beauty.

  • Wear clothes that make you happy and that you feel comfortable wearing.

  • Take some time for self care -- whether that is going out for your favorite brunch with friends, reading a book, or taking a bubble bath -- do something that makes YOU smile.

  • Reach out to a friend. Hang out. Catch up. Laugh.

  • Lastly, consider a drive and look at the holiday lights or take a walk in the park and notice how the leaves are changing or dream about the snow to come. Be present in the moment.

Here’s to a holiday season that brings you at least one element of joy. May you all feel blessed and choose to own and protect your own recovery journey.

by - Leah Patrick - Radiant Nutrition Intern

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