Maybe it’s at a work function, or maybe it’s at a family event – if you know that you are probably going to have to deal with people who will mistake your body for their business, there are some strategies you can employ.
If you’re dealing with the friends and family food police (think “Do you need to eat that?”) then you can use some of these techniques.
But if you’re in a situation where you feel like you can’t set a boundary and consequences, or you need some other strategies, you definitely still have options.
Create a mantra
I recommend this one regardless of what else you choose to do. Come up with simple phrase that you can repeat to yourself to remind you that these people are out of line, inappropriate, and don’t know what they are talking about. Some examples:
- You don’t know what you’re talking about
- Wow is this inappropriate
- Feel free to yammer on about things you don’t understand
- So sad that you’ve bought into all this
- This is bullshit! (my personal favorite)
Hey you, look at you!
Try to redirect the conversation by asking questions about them. Often people who feel so self-important that they think everyone will welcome their unsolicited advice are also people who love to talk about themselves.
- What do you do?
- That’s a great [article of clothing/accessory] where did you get it? Follow up with how they have great taste and where they like to shop.
- So what do you do outside of work?
- Ask questions related to anything you know about them – kids, pets, hobbies, anything
How about that local and/or college sporting team
Redirect to common subjects, either your conversation will turn to common things, or they will move on to someone else.
- How about that weather?
- How about that sports team?
- Did you hear about completely unexciting thing in the news?
- Do you watch [insert television show]? If not what do you watch?
Move the conversation to something juicier – maybe politics, religion, or sex. You’ll either start a much more interesting conversation, or they’ll move on.
- Can you believe [that politician] did [that thing?]
- Did you hear about that [awesome thing] that [celebrity]
- How about that thing the Pope said?
- What do you think of that Supreme Court Decision?
You can do this in an actual attempt to educate, or just to derail the conversation.
- Have you heard of Health at Every Size? Let me tell you about it.
- Have you heard of Size Acceptance? Let me tell you about it.
- How do you reconcile the views your expressing with the findings of Wei et. al, Matheson et. al, Mann and Tomiyama, and the Cooper Institute Longitudinal Studies? Maybe we should just talk about something else then.
Not recommended but fun to think about
Burn the house down.
- How are your bowel movements?
- What’s your favorite sexual position?
- So, how is being a completely inappropriate busybody working out for you?
Regardless of what you decide to do, I think it’s really important to remember to place the problem where it belongs – which is far away from you and your body and right smack dab on the person who feels like it’s ok to wax poetic about their thoughts on you, your body, your habits or anything else that you haven’t asked for their opinion about.
Ragen Chastain is a dancer, choreographer, writer, speaker, and fat person. She has just authored the book Fat: The Owners Manual – Navigating a Thin-Obsessed World with Your Health, Happiness and Sense of Humor Intact, which is still available for pre-order. Her website, Dances With Fat, will inspire you to think, feel and take action towards creating a better world where all people truly are treated equally, regardless of their shape, size or weight.
Want to learn more about Ragen? Read more HERE