Saturday, 19 December 2015

A Short Guide To A Body Positive Christmas

The holidays are here! For a lot of people that means joy and merriment and wonderful traditions wrapped up in a shiny golden bow with a mince pie on top. However, for those of us who spend all year at war with our bodies, other things can come to mind - heightened expectations, huge amounts of pressure, difficult family situations, anxiety inducing social events, unflattering pictures, fear foods and weight gain all tied up in a much more suffocating knot. So I thought I'd write some quick tips for all my ED warriors and body posi babes who will be struggling this time of year. 


Food

1) Refuse to listen to anyone having a conversation about how naughty that dessert was. How guilty they feel after having seconds. How much they'll have to work off all those indulgences come New Years. Walk away. Those conversations are damaging and they reinforce the idea that how many calories we eat is a reflection of our moral character. It isn't. You deserve to eat whatever you want without diet industry induced shame leaving a bad taste in your mouth.

2) It is completely natural and normal to gain a few lbs when you are surrounded by so much festive deliciousness. And that's okay! None of the amazing things about who you are as a person depend on whether your jeans are a bit tight (or a lot tight!) at the end of the season. You are so much more than a dress size or a number on a scale, so don't reduce yourself to the fluctuations of your waistline.

3) After Christmas the yearly war will be declared. People will vow to 'battle the bulge' and 'fight the flab', and a million harmful resolutions will be made by people who believe that being thin is the same thing as being happy. Again, it isn't. You have the power to train yourself to see all of it for what it truly is - a heartless attack on our self esteem by multi-billion dollar diet companies that profit from our self hatred. And New Years is when all those rich old white dudes walk out of their skyscrapers with enormous bonuses made from the tears of people crying over their bathroom scales. Remember - your purpose in life is not to lose weight, you do not exist in order to emulate some impossible image of perfection you've been sold, you're actually perfect exactly as you are.


Family

1) We learn a lot of our self image from how our families talk about bodies, ours, other people's and their own. And for a lot of people that means mealtime becomes a  fight through poisonous comments, 'harmless' suggestions and unsolicited 'concerns' about our bodies between every bite. And none of us deserve that. Just like before, you are never obligated to spend time around people who bring you down. If you feel like it would help, then try to bring a bit of body positivity to the dinner table. Explain how hurtful any kind of body based comment can be, that you're working on feeling better about yourself and would appreciate if they would respect that by reigning in the negativity. If they are a lost cause, walk away. You do not owe your presence to people who are determined to shrink you, even if they are family. You are a uncontainable, multi-dimensional, magical human being, and you deserve better.

2) A couple of years ago my mum got me, my brother and sister a set of beautifully cheesy Christmas jumpers, which we all wore with pride. Until I saw the pictures from that day and immediately regretted everything I'd eaten, everything I'd said, every time I'd left the house and forced other people to see how disgusting I looked. We all have those photos. But through anyone else's eyes all that photo shows is a girl in a cute Christmas jumper smiling with her family. We get so caught up in how we look in those photos that we forget the point of them all together - to capture a memory! And the only reason we pick ourselves apart is because we're looking at the photo through a filter of every photoshopped flawless beauty we've convinced ourselves is the norm. Your Christmas photos are not supposed to look like they belong in the pages of a glossy, high edited magazine shoot. They are for you, a reminder of irreplaceable memories. So don't let them slip through your fingers because you're too busy self-objectifying to embrace the moment.

Festivities 

Whatever parties or events you go to, remember that you're not there to look good for other people. You're there to LIVE, and like I said up there ^^, to make memories. Don't waste your precious time thinking about how you look through other people's eyes, come back to the here and now - that music, that taste, that conversation, that pleasure of living in the moment. You are not an ornament for other people to pass judgement on, and your body is so much more than its outer shell. So get out there and use your body to live! And of course, wear whatever the hell you want - bodycon over a full Christmas belly is always a good idea.

Happy holidays my loves, you've got this!