As we all know, Thanksgiving & Christmas are holidays centered around food and family. Though, specifically, Thanksgivings origins are quite problematic, Americans have taken it on as a celebration of those with whom you are the closest and giving thanks for them. Families nationwide gather the living room of the chosen home and bond together over rich meals of turkey, ham, dressing, greens, mac and cheese, and the like. Considering that this holiday is one of few mainly centered around hearty meals, many family members take it upon themselves to monitor people’s caloric intake. But more commonly, fat people seem to be under investigative watch around the holidays. Relatives steamroll over basic boundaries and feel obligated to speak about fat people’s weight without authorization. Whether it be health-related, preference for a smaller body type, or presumed lack of success in the dating world, many family members feel that your weight is causing problems, and they want to help. They may believe their concerns are well-intended, but the sheer impulsiveness and disrespect still offends the victims of such scrutiny, and rubs them the wrong way. Those presuming people clearly have enough energy to work up the audacity to speak on something completely inappropriate and unrelated to them, and it may be best to redirect said energy. So, here’s a list of activities fat-shaming family members can do instead shining an unnecessary light on the corpulent kinfolk.
1. Focus on what’s on your plate.
- This is the easiest one, in my eyes. There’s an array of delicious food right before you, which seems infinitely more tantalizing than making sure your big boned sister isn’t helping herself to too much mac and cheese. If whoever cooks the holiday meals puts in work to make the food taste amazing, you should understand why her plate has so much food on it.
2. Help set the table, serve the food, and clean up.
- Busy hands make idle minds, so distract yourself by helping in the kitchen. Contribute to the inner workings of the holiday dinner. It’ll help you keep your mind off bugging the family that’s gained the most weight recently. Lucky, the clean up usually takes a while too, so you’ll have your hands full for a while. The more time spent positively adding to the environment, the less time used to harass those who just came to enjoy themselves with rich cuisine and desserts.
3. Do some arts and crafts at the kids table.
- If you have the urge to say something completely unnecessary and unkind to your chubby kin, it may be a good idea to turn that into something creative. While food is being prepared, the parents usually set their children up with some type of fun hands-on activity to keep them from coming into the kitchen every five minutes. This could potentially have the same effect on you. Ease your fatphobic mind, and exercise your right brain for a bit. Create a masterpiece and avoid contact with those who could spark that urge up again.
4. Play games with the family.
- If competitiveness is your main reason for trying to make your plump people feel inadequate and unworthy, try using it in a functional way. Pull out the Taboo & Guesstures, and engage in a little family competition. It’s high energy, fast-paced, and it tires you out, giving you more reason to go home right after you eat without no fat soul being disrespected.
5. Go outside and socialize with the young cousins.
- Maybe you need to be in the know, so learning the current trends from your younger relatives can aide you. If they’re caught up with the direction the world is moving in, they’ll be sure to tell you that fatphobia, fat jokes, body shaming & faux health concern are out, and body positivity & kindness are in. Plus, if you wanna partake in some hard drinking and a little puff puff pass, the young ones got you covered there too.
6. Ask your grandma to tell you a story from her childhood.
- As y’all know, grandparents LOVE to talk. Bless their hearts. They are LONG WINDED as hell, but this could be a good thing. If your biggest relative’s eating habits spark a desire to say something you shouldn’t be saying, find your closest matriarch/patriach of the family and ask them what it was like for them growing up. You’ll be trapped in that conversation for hours, so said big relative can eat in peace.
7. Don’t go to dinner.
- If it’s too hard for you not to speak on your little cousin’s weight, maybe you need to stay home. At times, the most effective way of keeping yourself out of troubling circumstances is to avoid them completely. So, keeping yourself in the house can serve you justice, as well as a worry and guilt free time for those with more meat on their bones.
8. Hide out in one of your cousin’s bedrooms.
- We all know we’re eating dinner in someone’s house, so granted there’s a room available for you to go and sulk in. You may be thinking fatphobic things, which is we have no control over, but at least you’ll be saving your plus size niece the headache of hearing you mumble on about your Keto diet experiences and what exercises you do in the gym. So relax in there, listen to some music, pop on a movie, take a nap, whatever you feel will work best.
- The more often you have food in your mouth, the less you can talk to your sister about what she should be eating for the holidays. For black people specifically, everyone’s quiet when the food’s done and everyone starts eating. So try that one on for size. Also, if the food is that good, you’ll be too busy making faces of enjoyment and telling yourself how delicious the food in over and over again.
10. Keep your words to yourself & unlearn your ways.
- All jokes aside, confronting your family members about their weight at group affairs is beyond embarrassing and uncalled. You’re there to celebrate love and togetherness over your fave foods, and it shouldn’t expected for people to overstep their boundaries and speak on something that’s out of their jurisdiction. Size doesn’t automatically determine health. Weight doesn’t automatically determine self-esteem. Not every fat person is looking for weight loss advice, especially from someone with no medical training whatsoever. And being fat doesn’t make someone unlovable and impossible to date. Educate yourself in the diversity of the world, and understand that your opinion of fat people shouldn’t be expressed as fact. So keep your thoughts in your mind, and let people enjoy things, because I can guarantee you that whatever you want to say is better left unsaid.
The holidays are meant to be a time of unity, where people feel a sense of belonging and safety. Everyone should be made to feel accepted and loved because, after all, how your family sows into your life has a direct effect on how you view yourself. Put yourself in a fat person’s shoes for just a moment, and maybe you’ll understand the sheer humiliation and shame comes with having family members spew deprecating things to you. There’s good news, though. It isn’t too late to change, so be mindful that the plus-sized people in your life have feelings and emotions as well, so just a little thinking before speaking can make a lot of difference in their lives.