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Staying Body Positive During the Holidays

We’re entering the last full week of classes in perhaps the weirdest and most stressful semester of our college careers! While going home for the next two months might be a relief for some, the holiday season can be stressful for many, including me. Maybe you’re getting ready to face some judgmental family members, you’re nervous about a dramatic change in your routine, or you’re worried about the indulgent foods, desserts, and drinks that inevitably come with holiday celebrations… or maybe it’s a combination of all three and more.

Any feelings you have as we enter the holiday season are completely valid. Here are just a couple tips that have helped me navigate through the holidays with a body positive mindset:

  1. Be an ally to your body by listening to it and setting boundaries. Is your body hungry, or does it just feel pressured to eat because everyone else is eating? What does it want to eat? Does it need to rest? Pay attention to your body and allow it to feel whatever it is feeling, then nourish it when it is asking to be nourished. This can be hard—in my very large Filipino family, it’s common for older members of the family to pester you to eat a full meal whenever you come over. It can be difficult to avoid feeling guilty for not eating food even though you’re not hungry, especially when food is love in so many cultures. Set boundaries for yourself, and know that it’s okay to listen to your body even when experiencing cultural and familial pressures.
  2. Be mindful of how you talk about your body (and how others talk about it). When I came home from college in my first year, I had several family members comment on my weight gain, asking if I had gained the “freshman fifteen.” Though so many of these comments were made in jest, it still had a profound impact on my psyche, to the point that I started talking poorly about my body to my family members before they had the opportunity to do so. Any time you find yourself talking or thinking poorly about yourself, think of a positive affirmation which you can put in its place. And, if you feel comfortable, call out your family members if they make inappropriate comments about your body—it’s not rude to take up space by telling people how you feel.
  3. Know that you deserve love this holiday season. You are worthy and deserving of the love and celebration that comes with the holidays. Remind yourself consistently that you have worked hard—you’ve made it through every hard day to get where you are! Take the time to reflect on the year and all of the amazing things your body has allowed you to do. 

If you’re looking for yet another resource, I also recommend listening to an episode of the Food Heaven Podcast called “Intuitive Eating During the Holidays with Cara Harbstreet.” They discuss intuitive eating during the holidays, navigating weight-based comments from family, and how to approach this season with a more positive mindset. Their podcast is available on Spotify.

These are just a few of the things that have worked for me, but keep in mind that each of our bodies and minds are different. I hope that as you finish your semester, you’re able to find some peace, reflection, and self-love. Happy holidays from the entire Body Positive Team and me! 

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