Five Food Phrases to Avoid During Holiday Gatherings


We live in a day and society that makes money from our self-loathing, specifically when it comes to our bodies and image. This is exemplified during the holidays when messages run rampant, diet and food plans are in full swing, and New Year’s resolutions often center around numbers on the scale.

Holidays and Food Phrases

This time of year is meant for joy and connection, not self-shaming statements and subliminal messages to ourselves and our families. Our kids hear what we say. They hear the tone and the words. They begin to create the expectations and understanding of themselves based on what they see in their role models (that’s us). They gain their understanding of who they should be based on how they believe the world interprets “good” and “bad.” Body image is complicated- for boys, girls, young and old. It has not only physical effects but mental and emotional too.

getting food from tray
Photo credit: Craig Adderley via Pexels

As we enter the holiday season, I want to share with you five phrases to avoid. I know, this might take intention and practice, because we are often hard-wired to be self-critical. However, we deserve to focus on the joy of the season and our kids, families, and friends deserve to have gatherings free of judgment-based phrases. 

friend gathering holiday
Photo credit: Lisa Fotios via Pexels

Five Phrases to Avoid During Holiday Gatherings

  1. “I’m going to be bad and have _____.”
    Friends, food is neutral and your food choices do not describe who you are as a person.
  2. “Don’t judge me but ______.”
    When we say this, we are implying that food is a cause of shame and worthy of judgment. The last thing we need to feel for ourselves or our kids is another reason to fear judgment.
  3. “Calories don’t count on the holidays.”
    This phrase reinforces a hyper-focus on calories. Calories are a unit of measuring energy, not a magic number.
  4. “I’ll just do an extra workout at the gym.”
    Movement is important. Exercise is something to encourage in ourselves and our children. However, this statement frames exercise as a way to “earn” food or “punish” ourselves for the food we eat. Exercise is not a punishment. 
  5. “I’m going to hate myself tomorrow.”
    You would never want your kids to hate themselves for any choices they make. It’s not okay for us to use this phrasing around our food choices.

shaming yourself when eating holiday foods isn't a good ideaThis holiday season, let’s focus on the things we can celebrate and enjoy. Let’s commit to focusing more on the time together, the laughter, the connection, than we do on the food we take in (or don’t take in). Food is a part of life, it is a source of nourishment and enjoyment, it is not the central focus. By removing these phrases from our holiday gatherings, we all benefit as individuals and as a society. 

Will you join me, momma friend, in sharing in more laughter and less harmful language?