It’s no secret that we live in a weight and diet-obsessed culture. If you’ve spent more than 10 minutes online, you’ve seen the latest trends and fad diets, along with those “10 moves to get rid of stubborn belly fat” articles. However, this detrimental culture doesn’t simply exist online. Those we love, our family and friends, have most likely at some point fallen victim to discussing weight/diets in a less than helpful manner. To those who are suffering from eating disorders, this can be incredibly triggering, so it’s important to understand how to redirect when it comes to harmful diet and weight-related conversations.
Change The Topic
If someone is discussing dieting and/or weight in a way that is triggering and harmful, simply change the topic. Using transitional words and phrases such as, “Anyway, I was hoping to talk to you about this…” can be helpful. You can also leave the conversation temporarily by excusing yourself into another room to take a call if you find it difficult to change the subject. By the time you come back, the topic may have naturally changed or it may be easier for you to change it then.
Set The Example
It can be difficult to point out where others need to change or improve, so instead, try to set the example regarding how you talk about weight/diets/your own body. Talking about your own approach to how you view your body, either neutrally or positively, can set the tone for the conversation. You can discuss how this point-of-view helps others who may be experiencing eating disorders or a negative body image and can help bring awareness to a healthier way of thinking. As you make this shift in your smaller social circles, it can help make a change in other social circles, slowly leading to large, meaningful change.
Set Your Boundaries
If simply changing the topic and/or setting an example does not work, it may be time to set some boundaries. These don’t have to sound confrontational or rude. They can be as simple as, “It can be really triggering for me to talk about diets, can we discuss something else?”. This can prevent future triggering conversations and help others know where you stand regarding the topic.
Diet culture can be extremely toxic, and we can carry this culture into our social circles and our relationships with our families if we’re not mindful. Take a personal inventory of your own thoughts regarding diets and your own weight. The way you view these things will likely be communicated to others. How can you work to improve the way you speak and feel about your own body?
As we each work on ourselves, we can improve the way harmful diet & weight-related conversations go, and ultimately, work to eradicate the toxic diet culture that thrives on the insecurities of so many. If you’re looking for a helpful resource to begin creating a more positive body image of yourself, check out our last blog, linked here.