"On the 12th day(yes I know I missed many days) of the Holidays the unapologetically me rd gave to me....12 ideas for self advocacy...."
I have been working on creating a post-grad course on self advocacy for the last few months and I will totally admit to struggling with it. The reason for this is not that I don't think it is important and necessary but the fact that I think it is SO important for every single person on earth that I am afraid of missing something! When we learn to advocate for ourselves whether it is by drawing boundaries with loved ones or getting doctors to listen to us we are putting ourselves first which is so important when we are working towards body acceptance and food peace.
So here are some ideas I have for advocating for yourself and self care over this holiday season...in what ever way you need (I really don't like lists...they make me think of rules...and I am not a fan of rules (hey mom!!) so here are a bunch of unnumbered paragraphs that may not equal 12...I should have written this post on the 8th or something)
Social gatherings can often lead to diet conversation. Why someone is "bad" for eating this food. Or how "good" someone is for abstaining from dessert. Discussion about how the most recent "detox (UGH!!)" was the only reason they were able to fit into this outfit tonight. So when the conversation turns from "Keeping up with the Kardashians" to "Keeping up with the fad diet" be prepared with a comment to either excuse yourself from the conversation or change the topic. I will often work with clients to prepare this statement ahead of time. If you practice it in your head before hand it will come out of your mouth easier when you need it. "Now if you will excuse me, I just need to pop over there for a second"...see ya diet talk!
Be prepared to eat what you want, not what someone else wants you to eat. Sometimes when we are working on a better relationship with food it is hard to say no to a food that is presented to you. Example: You have been eyeing the chocolate cake and know that it is what you want but Aunt Mable insists you have a piece of her apple pie. You are trying to listen to your body cues and you know that you will be full after one dessert. What do you do? Again being prepared to advocate for the dessert that you want will likely make you feel most satisfied. Now you don't need to throw the apple pie back at Aunt Mable- you could always say you are going to take a slice home to enjoy tomorrow but right now you would really like the chocolate cake.
For me the next one is always a bit trickier. Body talk. Or body shaming. Relatives will often comment on kids growth as they haven't seen them in a year. "wow, look how much you have grown in the last year!! You are built just like your dad, sturdy!" or " Wow, you have grown taller and really thinned out" (implying what I ask). Or even to other adults " wow your weight has gone (up or down really) what have you been doing?" All this needs to stop. The holidays (or any other f"ing day of the year!) are not a time comment on the bodies of others. This is where advocating for yourself or your child is so important. Advocate for no diet talk. Make it a rule. I think it might have become an unspoken rule with my extended family because everyone knows that I will challenge what they say and ask that they not talk like that in my house or around my kids. I saw a quote on Instagram recently posted by Rachelwcole.com and it said : you: "you know how some people don't talk about politics or religion?" Them: "yea" You: " Well we don't talk about dieting" I want to make this into a welcome mat for my house.
Look at your schedule and say no. I find- in North America anyways- we constantly feel the need to be doing something, even more so over the holiday season. We have to attend all the parties, concerts, plays, ballets, lunches, and whatever without really thinking about the toll it is playing on your well-being. Say no to something. Without guilt and without an excuse. Use your first instinct. Just take the time to do what you need to do to nourish yourself. Whether to need to reconnect with yourself or just take a break, its ok. It's ok to fuel your body with what it needs not what you think it needs. Taking care of yourself is more than just what you put into it. It is how you treat your whole self and acknowledging that you need a break is part of that.
And finally (ok..so I know its not 12 points on the 12th day...but again my thing with rules) before you go out to any event or dinner or Grade 1 recorder choir (take tylenol for that) get yourself ready with a little power posing. Stand in the mirror and make eye contact. Make your best super hero face (which is any face because you are the super hero) and strike your super hero pose! Full disclosure mine is feet further than hips spaced apart with wrists crossed like Wonder Woman and often times my tongue out...(to those that know me personally are you surprised??) I also have a superhero song that when I really need to feel like a bad ass ready to take down diet culture ...not sharing that... Power posing will help you feel more confident when walking away from diet talk or asking someone to not police your intake.
Now ... back to writing my course...
until next time...be unapologetically you (while advocating for yourself!!) while I be unapologetically me....