Written by: Danielle Sinay
Published by: Glamour
Now that the holidays are upon us, we have an important reminder: Unsolicited body shaming—and/or general commentary about bodies, weight, or eating habits—aren’t just rude but actively damaging. Both scientists and mental health experts agree that these types of comments, no matter how “well-intentioned,” doesn’t help anyone—it does the opposite.
“Any comments about the body are harmful, especially for those struggling with body image or disordered eating,” Samantha DeCaro, PsyD, psychologist and director of clinical outreach and education at eating disorder recovery organization The Renfrew Center, tells Glamour. “Even when certain comments are intended to be a compliment, it’s a reminder that their body is being noticed, assessed, and ultimately judged by you.”
There’s so much more discuss anyway. Maybe it’s the first time the family has gathered in a while, right? Isn’t anyone curious about—I don’t know—how or what I’m really doing, as opposed to how I look in a pair of jeans? “The holidays are purported to be about family, yet exaggerated praise about weight loss, comments about clothes fitting tighter or needing to lose ‘the freshman 15’ over break change the focus to something much more harmful,” Kara Lissy, LCSW, a psychotherapist at A Good Place Therapy, tells Glamour. “Food and weight-centric comments take away from the real meaningful conversations like, ‘how was your vacation?” and ‘are you learning anything interesting at school?’”
In other words, those “well-meaning“ comments can spoil perfectly good family time and the priceless opportunity to connect on a deeper level.
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