Over most of the globe, among societies that may differ greatly, people gather with family, friends, and business associates to celebrate important holidays with communal feasting. There is no stopping them, or probably even no slowing them down, because partiers are not worrying about diabetes or premature death from an obesity-related co-morbidity. The Childhood Obesity News post “Visions of Sugarplums” outlined a few thoughts about what we can or should expect from schools and businesses, in the way of holiday damage control.
The piece titled “The Symbolic Eating Peril” goes deep into the concept of compulsion and explores the idea that emotional eating, despite showing up in many varieties, is not a discrete condition but an indication of more extensive problems. That post also discussed Dr. Billi Gordon, an expert on out-of-control eating connected with holiday-related emotional abuse. He probably went more deeply than anybody into this specialized topic.
Kindness is the best gift
At family holiday gatherings a lot of adults, for some reason, feel absolutely obligated to remark on a child’s growth since the last meeting. If you are one of these, consider giving it a rest this year and every year going forward. Nobody, young or old, needs to hear your take on their waistline expansion. No, not even in an allegedly humorous context. If a snarky and supposedly humorous remark about someone’s weight is your go-to move, consider preparing some new material this year. One person’s “just kidding, good, clean fun” can be another person’s trauma. Suggestion: Bring a yo-yo or something, and get attention with that instead.
And let’s remember: As horrific as a holiday gathering can seem even to an emotionally healthy person, for someone struggling with a serious issue it can be a nightmare. It’s really not cool to shame someone who is trying to make a better life. We don’t want to be enablers. We want to take it easy on others, and bring our A-game, especially in the generosity department.
The F word
This series has already brought up the concept of forgiveness, but it can’t be emphasized too much. We need to forgive ourselves and others, before the fact and after. There are some incidents where the smart thing is to just let it go by. Escape to the porch or the garage for a few minutes to calm down. Use our imaginations to construct a scenario that puts the best possible light on somebody’s impossible behavior. If we are really clever, these can be teachable moments — not for others, because making a judgment call like that is presumptuous. This is about having the self-awareness to realize teachable moments on behalf of our own selves, and to make the best use of those occasions.
Right now we are in the part of the calendar when we need to take out our “Never Again” notebooks and start jotting down ideas for next time, about how to avoid repeat performances of horrendous moments. Because one thing we can be sure of is, the winter holidays will come around again, sooner than we think. Let’s be ready for them!
Your responses and feedback are welcome!
Image by RussellHarryLee/CC BY 2.0