Welcome to How to Love Your Body, on today’s episode we are talking about how to address fatphobic family members.
We actually get this question a lot which makes sense because most people have been ingrained with diet culture. So once you are trying to do the work to get out of diet culture and learn Intuitive Eating and UnDieting - it may be really challenging to be around family members who are still constantly talking about either their weight / your weight , what diet they are on or commenting on the food choices you make. It’s a lot and can be really upsetting since you are working so hard on not exposing yourself to that.
How can you address fatphobic family members?
-Set Direct Boundaries - “Please don’t make comments about my body or my food.”
-Be so strong in knowing that IE is best for you that whatever they say is like a different language you can’t understand - If someone came up to you and was speaking a language you didn’t understand you would most likely just look a bit confused and be unable to take in what they are saying. You most likely wouldn’t feel affected because there’s no way of knowing what they are saying, you just shrug your shoulders and move on.
- Remind yourself that you can choose who you are around and who you aren’t - If you set boundaries and they continue to comment on your food/ body- then you can choose to have them in your life or not - or at least in what capacity. Maybe you distance yourself, maybe they are cut out completely, maybe it stays as is but you develop an armor that doesn’t take you down every time they start up with the comments.
-How do you handle family members who have a different political or religious viewpoint? This is closely the same. (Sometimes it’s just best to not talk about it - you aren’t going to convert people who don’t want to learn, let them do their thing just like you want them to let you do yours).
-Be a brick wall - You know what isn’t fun? Talking to someone about your diet who never engages with you. If you don’t feed into the conversation and always change the topic as quickly as possible people will know that you are not the person to gush about calories and how “bad” you were this weekend with.
-They are projecting their own beliefs and insecurities - Whatever they say about food/ body / weight / etc - is really just about themselves and their own fears. This does not mean you have to condone what they are saying. This does not mean you have to endure the verbal abuse. It means that you can remind yourself that this is not about you, it’s about them.
You get to protect yourself, you get to set boundaries, you get to use your voice.
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See you next week!