How To Avoid Diet Culture Talk On Thanksgiving

It goes without saying that Thanksgiving will be very different this year. Even if you’re doing your Thanksgiving dinner over Zoom, some less-than-fun elements about this family and food-oriented holiday will likely remain the same. You’ll probably still get asked why you’re single, and chances are high you’ll hear diet talk, which is everywhere, but particularly prevalent when a group of people are eating together. Your aunt Karmen might talk about the latest diet she’s on, while your cousin Lacey might fiddle with the food on her plate and exclaim how she’s eaten way too much. It feels almost inevitable that someone will mention how their weight changed during quarantine.

Whichever way you put it, there’s bound to be somebody talking about food restriction or exercise in relation to their desire to lose weight. This can be triggering for people with eating disorders, or anyone really who wants to enjoy their meal in peace without hearing how many calories are in their turkey stuffing. Besides, there will be enough talk about COVID-19 and the election—can’t we all just agree on keeping this topic off the table this year? Well, it’s not so easy to get rid of diet talk from our family and friends. But, with the help of some experts, there are ways of trying to avoid it altogether and quick responses to stop diet talk in its tracks. Read on for their valuable tips. 

1. Skip Thanksgiving Altogether

This is an obvious option to entertain since many people are skipping holiday gatherings because of COVID-19 anyway. But, if you’re feeling brave, and want to tell your family that you’re forgoing the meal in order to take care of your mental health, then power to you! Of course, this is something you should speak about with your therapist or a treatment team provider. “There are people with eating disorders who would love this excuse to be an ‘out’ from Thanksgiving and restrict, which is not at all what we want,” Christy Harrison, the author of Anti-Diet: Reclaim Your Time, Money, Well-Being and Happiness Through Intuitive Eating, says. 

And if you hear people calorie counting or food policing, you can always choose to walk away, she adds. 

2. Set Boundaries

Tell your family ahead of time that hearing diet talk is triggering for you and request that it not be spoken about while you’re present. “Let’s enjoy our food this year. Can we make Thanksgiving a guilt-free zone experience?” suggests Caroline Dooner, author of The F*ck It Diet. But if that doesn’t work out, there’s plan B. 

According to Harrison, you’re going to need to provide consequences if your boundaries are violated. “If they keep doing it—whether they’re oblivious or don’t realize what they’re doing is diet talk—you might want to say that you’re going to leave the conversation or go for a walk.”

3. Redirect The Conversation 

Change the subject by explaining how diet talk is triggering for you or talk about something else entirely, like how thankful you are for your health this year. 

“One of the best quotes I often use is, ‘I don’t discuss politics, religion or one’s diet,” Jay Cowin, NNCP, RNT, RNC, CHN, CSNA, says. Your Fat Friend suggests other ways to intervene, like saying, “Can we talk about something else?” or “I’ve been working really hard at accepting my body, and this feels like a setback. Let’s talk about something else.” You can shift the focus by talking about the food and what you’re grateful for. Ask your host which spices were used in your favorite dish, or verbally acknowledge your gratitude for health and family during a tough year. 

Harrison says that if you’re comfortable, you can even start a discussion about how diet talk and diet culture are harmful to people. “It’s helpful to lead with your own experience: Here’s what I’m working on. Here’s what I need. Not making them feel policed or shamed on how they’re relating to food and their bodies.” 

4. Find A Support System

Establish a support system ahead of time. Tell a friend or close family member who knows you struggle with diet talk and can help you redirect the conversation or be on call if you need them. And if you don’t have someone to lean on, there are people out there who have your back. “For those who may need a little extra support this Thanksgiving, NEDA offers a click-to-chat Helpline on Thanksgiving Day from 10am-6pm. Our helpline volunteers are trained to help you find the information and support you are looking for,” Chelsea Kronengold, the communications manager of the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) says. 

You may not be able to control what people talk about on Thanksgiving, but at least you have control over how you respond or react. And the best part is, you still have a few more days to prepare and tell your support system to stand by in case you need backup.

Images: Pond Saksit / Shutterstock

Why Max Lugavere Doesn’t Believe In The ‘5 Meals A Day’ Diet Strategy

Living a healthy lifestyle during the holidays should honestly count as an Olympic sport. For many people, Thanksgiving is the beginning of the end, diet-wise. You feel like there’s basically no hope after you’ve eaten an entire bird, your body weight in stuffing, and pumpkin pie is seeping out of your pores. That’s why we had nutrition expert Max Lugavere on our Diet Starts Tomorrow podcast to give us some tips on getting through the holidays without wreaking havoc on your body. Here are some of our highlights from our chat with Lugavere, but to get all his advice, listen to our podcast linked below.

Hear the full Diet Starts Tomorrow episode above. To connect with Max Lugavere, check out his Instagram, podcast, and best selling book.

Images: Yakynina Anastasia / Unsplash

This Is How Much Exercise It Takes To Burn Off Thanksgiving Sides

If you’re an inner fat kid like me, then you’re probably already drooling at the thought of all the delicious food you’re going to eat on Thanksgiving. I literally can’t wait to eat at least seven pounds of green bean casserole, sweet potato pie, and stuffing. Thanksgiving is only one day, yes, but for many people (hi) that “it’s only one day, YOLO” mindset can set off a series of unfortunate events that leads to a holiday weight gain, which I’d like to try to avoid. So I’ve decided to take your favorite Thanksgiving sides and put them in perspective—how much exercise does it take to burn each one off? Is it really worth having more of Aunt Marge’s mediocre boxed stuffing when you’re already on the verge of exploding? Maybe. Maybe not. I’m not here to make that choice for you, I’m just here to give more information. 


One serving of stuffing equals 195 calories. Depending on how fast you run, running a 5-minute mile or jog-walking a 13-minute mile is what it will take in order to work off this 5-star side dish. Honestly, that’s pretty doable, especially if you and your cousin go out to smoke for a walk around the neighborhood after the meal. So go ahead and have that spoonful if you want. If you pack the stuffing onto your plate, increase the distance accordingly.

Cranberry Sauce

86 calories for one slice of cranberry sauce… so let’s say one serving is about 200 calories. To burn that off, choose to take the stairs instead of the elevator at work, at the mall, in your apartment complex, or wherever else you can find stairs. Opt for 15 minutes worth of climbing steps outside or just hop on a Stairmaster at the gym. Again, very doable.

Sweet Potato Pie

394 calories of sugary, delicious sweet potato goodness. It’s worth every bite, but will take you a little bit longer to work off. To burn around 200-300 calories, you can do 30 minutes of burpees. Spend about 45 minutes with generous breaks in between sets and you’ll have earned your pie. Ugh that’s like, a lot of burpees. 

Mashed Potatoes

One serving of mashed potatoes will charge you a grand total of 237 calories (why can’t we have nice things?), give or take 25 calories depending on if you add gravy or not. Hop on a treadmill at the gym for an hour and you shouldn’t feel those mashed potatoes weighing you down anymore.

Pumpkin Pie

It’s 323 calories for a single piece of pumpkin pie on its own. Add 137 calories if you add a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top (which you should). To burn 500 calories of whatever sugary treat you ate for dessert, take an hour Zumba class and dance it all off.

Remember, this is the amount of recommended exercise per serving… and we all know we don’t just have *one plate* at Thanksgiving dinner. We have 3-5 plates the day of and two more of leftovers the day after. So you could do all this exercise, or you could just not work out at all and realize that one (or three) days of eating different than normal won’t kill you. Happy Thanksgiving, betches!

The Best Pants For Your Thanksgiving Food Baby

Thanksgiving is the time we celebrate America’s greatest traditions: racism, pillaging minorities, and gluttony. My family is from the South, so somehow we still have all three at our table every year. I play this fun drinking game with myself where every time someone makes an offensive comment I drink. I tend to fall asleep before I die of alcohol poisoning, so it’s fine.

However, on Thanksgiving, I am totally pro-gluttony and I plan to shove too much of every side dish into my mouth as fast as possible. Let’s be real, the side dishes are the point of Thanksgiving, we only eat the turkey because it’s expected and it’s a pain in the ass to cook. If you’re like me and you’re going to drown your problems and disrespectful relatives in wine and pumpkin pie, you need to dress accordingly. That means pants that look chic for photos, yet can expand enough to accommodate your inevitable food baby. Before you give up and buy maternity pants, try these first.

Liquid Leggings

I wear leggings as pants on the reg, so I don’t really GAF about the whole “leggings aren’t pants” debacle. However, if you want to look put-together and still have maximum stretch and comfort, try a pair of liquid leggings that look like leather. Pair these with a cute oversize sweater and booties and you’ll look fall-ready, but be totally comfortable. Get a high waisted pair to really disguise your giant stomach and still look teeny AF in photos.

Women's Simply Vera Vera Wang Faux Leather Leggings

Women’s Simply Vera Vera Wang Faux Leather Leggings


What kind of psycho wears jeans to Thanksgiving? Are you trying to get that look where your fat gets deep red marks the second you sit down? F*ck no. So if you must wear jeans with your outfit, skip the actual denim and opt for a pair of super stretchy jeggings. Just please don’t wear the ones with the v obvious elastic waist unless your shirt or sweater covers it. They look stupid. These “jeans” from Vibrant are actually jeggings. They are so soft, stretchy, and look exactly like real jeans. I have the skinny, high waisted, and flares ones in almost every wash. They stretch so much so they’re great if you have eaten an insane amount of food. They are also so cheap!

Vibrant Women’s Juniors Bell Bottom High Waist Fitted Denim Jeans

Palazzo Pants

Who says palazzo pants are just for spring and summer? Palazzo pants are the best because they basically feel like you’re wearing pajamas but they look super put-together. You can wear whatever floral or tribal prints that you already have from this summer, but if you really want to make the look feel more fall-appropriate, choose a more autumnal fabric, like velvet. I just got the most amazing green velvet pants and I’m obsessed. And they are totally appropriate for both photos and instantaneous obesity.

Velvet Wide Pant NA-KD.COM

Rut & Circle Velvet Wide Pant Green 


Are jumpsuits considered pants? Is butter a carb? I don’t care. They’re super comfy, stretchy, and look really chic, but still feel like you’re wearing sweats. Plus you can choose cuts that skim over your stomach and won’t restrict you as you’re eating seven rolls of bread.

Ready For It Black Sleeveless Wide-Leg Jumpsuit

Lulus Ready For It Black Sleeveless Wide-Leg Jumpsuit 


Culottes are another fabulous outfit option under the “pretend pants” category. They’re easy to style, super stretchy and comfortable, and wearable in any season. Find some with a tie waist or other detail to distract from how rapidly you’re expanding.

Image result for ASOS DESIGN culotte with tie waist

ASOS DESIGN Culotte With Tie Waist

Images: Giphy (1); Unsplash/Cortney White; Kohls/Vera Vera Wang; Amazon/Vibrant; NA-KD; Lulus; ASOS
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