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  • Jason Wood

Changing the Narrative

The holidays are upon us! This is my absolute favorite time of the year, but I’m realizing it can also be one of the most challenging for those of us battling eating disorders and body dysmorphia.

Last week was Thanksgiving, and I quickly found my social feeds filled with posts about how it was time to “fatten up” or “be fat and lazy” with the turkey feast. My co-workers talking about how they need to get to the gym to work off all that turkey. The news aired segments about avoiding the “dreaded holiday weight gain” and how to “heathify” your holiday recipes to be low-carb, low-fat, etc. Meanwhile, I saw gyms and fitness centers push advertisements aimed at telling people to get off the couch and burn off those cookies and pies.

The last few days served as a vivid reminder of the culture we live in. One that glorifies dieting and exercising for the wrong reasons. We’ve normalized so much harmful language food that we don’t even realize it.

Food is not good or bad, it’s fuel. We are not defined by what we eat. Yet, we allow diet culture to often make us feel guilty for enjoying a holiday feast. We prioritize physical health over mental health on a consistent basis, especially over the coming weeks.

After all, holiday weight gain seems normalized by our society. Well, that is until January 1 when everyone seems to have a new detox, fad diet, or exercise routine. But up until that point, we seem to laugh about it. Sadly, for many of us, our relationship with food and our bodies is no joke.

For those of you battling an eating disorder or body dysmorphia, stay strong! Remember how far you’ve come, remember who you are and that recovery is a process. I’m always here for you. For everyone else, I know you don't mean harm, but please be aware that sometimes those jokes about holiday gluttony can have unintended consequences. Please be careful, as you may never know the battles some face behind closed doors.

Together, I know we can change the narrative around food, dieting, and the holidays. One bite, one conversation, and one day at a time!


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