With so many gatherings around the table during the holiday season, there’s sure to be small talk around dieting and food. Keep a few of these reminders in mind, and remember, how you eat is no one’s business but your own.


‘Tis the season of gathering around the table. Maybe it’s the table in your own home, your parents, your in-laws, your friends, a company holiday party, or even at a restaurant. Maybe holidays suck, and you choose to celebrate alone at your coffee table. And that’s okay too.

No matter where the table, it’s more likely than not that you will be around it for celebration soon. And for many of us, there will be some stress attached to it. Stress and baggage has a tendency to travel with the holiday season.

Here are a few things to consider as you’re gathering around the table this holiday season.

1. Mind your own plate (and ask that others do as well).

Your plate is your business, and it’s acceptable to ask others around you to mind their own plate too. The same can be said the other way around – don’t compare your plate to that of anyone around you. Your plate is specifically crafted for you: your wants, your taste, your needs. The what and why and how much is on a plate is the plate owner’s business alone.

2. Check the food police at the door.

Avoid being the food police, and don’t accept others policing your food. It’s okay if someone doesn’t want to eat a salad, dessert, or grandma’s famous yams. It’s also okay if you go back for seconds if that is what you want. What someone decides to eat and drink any day of the year doesn’t need to be up for public debate.

3. Talk about life, not diets.

Whether you’re following the newest fad, were put on it by a medical provider, or just shooting for a “lifestyle change”, restrain from talking about your diet, food rules, or any restrictions that you may be implementing, considering or practicing in the future. With 1 in 4 dieters going on to develop an eating disorder, the risk of harm is too high to ignore.  Guilt and shame are also common following a meal. Just choose to not talk about any poor feelings following a meal, or shame anyone else for what, how much, and when they choose to eat.

It’s also important to remember that no one needs to earn, burn, ‘prepare for’, or ‘work off’ any food, let alone a holiday dinner. Everyone needs to eat, multiple times a day, every day a year, regardless of movement.

4. Be aware of body talk.

Even when said as a ‘compliment’, talking about others (or your own) weight and body changes or shape can be harmful. It reinforces that there are ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ bodies, and that is not true. Bodies are meant to be diverse and that is OK. Body image is hard enough in our society without the comments, even well-intentioned ones, from family and friends.

Remember, the more prepared you are in knowing how to divert those pesky diet conversations, the easier it will be to focus on what matters the most:

The holiday celebration.

Adapted from the original article.

Amanda Boyer MS, RDN, CD, CPT is the wholehearted dietitian and owner of Wholehearted Nutrition located in southern Indiana. She strives to help others live life without holding back (her definition of what it means to live wholeheartedly), by walking with them in their journey to better their relationship with food, practice joyful movement, and settle into body peace. To learn more find Amanda at www.wholeheartednutrition.org, watch for her contributions on NASM’s blog and the Limestone Post, and follow her on Instagram and facebook @wholehearteddietitian.