Thanksgiving can be awesome (good food, family, friends, no presents to buy, gratitude) and it can be a drag (eating disorder and diet recovery triggers, family, friends, and lots of small talk or charged conversations). Sometimes it can feel like you need a cheat sheet to get through. So I made one especially for avoiding those awkward diet and body image centric conversations.
One giant question that I hear from lots of folks is, “What am I supposed to talk about with people when they’re used to watching me deal with food issues AND/OR have their own eating disorder and diet issues that they’re not ready to resolve?”
First of all, holiday conversation doesn’t have to be all about diets. Some folks you know might try to rope you into talking about their newest fitness craze. They might want others to lament their sugar-free Thanksgiving with but you don’t have to go there. You can say, “My policy is not to talk about food/body issues/exercise/etc.” then ask a redirect question.
Remember, you get to have this holiday too, so don’t sacrifice your recovery by getting diverted down that rabbit hole. #idgafaboutyourdietsusan
Here’s a list of 30 conversation topics you can use at any time but especially during the holidays when diet talk, new year’s resolutions, and complaints about bodies run rampant. If things veer in a food/body direction, then quit the conversation or ask them to choose another answer that doesn’t involve those things.
- What’s a new hobby you’re into?
- If someone brought a karaoke machine to this party, what song would you pick?
- What’s your favorite thing to do when the weather gets cold?
- If money were no object, where would you like to travel?
- What’s something you’re proud of accomplishing this year?
- What’s something you’re grateful for?
- What was your favorite holiday growing up?
- When was a time you were most happy?
- What’s the grossest thing you’ve ever seen?
- What’s the best thing you’ve ever seen?
- If your life were a movie, which celebrity would play you?
- What songs would make up the soundtrack of your life?
- If you could sit down to dinner with anyone (living or dead), who would it be? (And what kind of conversation would you want to have?)
- Who do you think is one of the most influential people alive today?
- What kinds of activities (that are different than anything you’ve ever done) would you like to try doing next year?
- What’s the weirdest animal you’ve ever seen?
- What’s your preferred climate?
- If you could have any kind of house, what kind would you have?
- Which books have you read this year?
- What kinds of shows have you been watching?
- Which movie do you think will win an Oscar next year?
- What is the craziest/scariest/most awesome thing you’ve done?
- What’s one of your favorite quotes?
- Where are some of the best places to hang out where you live?
- What did you want to be when you grew up?
- What’s your biggest fear/regret/joy?
- What’s your favorite way to celebrate an accomplishment?
- When was the last time you had a dream you remember? What was it?
- If you were stuck on a desert island, what four items from this room would you bring?
- What’s the best gift you’ve ever given or received?
Try sprinkling in a few new conversation topics this year. It can make the whole experience better. If things continue to be overwhelming, feel free to take a breather or leave the gathering early. Have some support people you can count on and plan ahead with your non-diet or eating disorder recovery team to make sure you’re getting extra TLC if you need it.
If you find yourself stuck in diet and eating disorder talk (whether with family or in your own head), feel free to reach out to me. I’d love to help you ditch your food fear and find body peace.