How to Respond to Relatives Who Feel the Need to Comment on Your Food and Body


She suggests trying something like: “I think you meant that as a compliment, but this is a sensitive topic for me that I’d prefer not to discuss. What have you been up to lately?” Or maybe: “I’m working really hard to focus less on my body right now. Let’s talk about something else.”

2. “All bodies change over time for a variety of reasons, so it makes sense that their body may look different.”

Even if your body isn’t a conversation topic at this year’s holiday gathering, someone might try talking to you about how someone else’s has changed. And while some people might consider this run-of-the-mill gossip, it’s actually incredibly harmful.

“It’s important to help normalize the fact that all bodies change, without placing value on these changes as either good or bad, while also reinforcing the concept that commenting on other people’s bodies is problematic,” Dr. Stevens says. “I also recommend encouraging others to focus on other attributes that are so much more meaningful than what someone’s body looks like on any given day.”

That might sound like: “Well, all bodies change over time for a variety of reasons, including yours and mine, so it makes sense that theirs may look different. Personally, though, I was so struck by their glow. Did you happen to notice the way that they seem to make other people feel comfortable with such ease?”

3. “Yes, it is high-calorie, and I’m going to enjoy every single bite.”

For whatever reason (probably diet culture), some people just can’t enjoy food without worrying about how many calories, carbs, or grams of fat are in it. Even worse, they might project that worry onto you by making remarks about what’s on your plate—things like, “You know, that stuffing is really high-calorie!” or “Oh, I could never eat that much!”

“People have varying levels of comfort with confrontation—especially in a holiday setting, surrounded by loved ones,” Leah Tsui, RD, dietitian and owner of Limitless Nutrition in Los Angeles, tells SELF. For this situation, Tsui says, you could try a simple response like: “Thanks for letting me know!’’ or add a little bit of sass by saying, “I had no idea! Wow, thanks!”—and continuing to eat the stuffing.



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