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8 Genius Responses to Family Members’ Comments About Your Body

Try changing the subject or simply walking away. (Getty Images)

About 25 years ago, Linda Bacon brought her partner home for the holidays. Her parents did not approve of the female guest’s masculine look – and told her so. “[My partner] just stood up and walked out,” recalls Bacon, who’s still in a relationship with the woman today. “To me, that was amazing. I had always experienced that same body checking for so long, and I just thought you had to endure it.”

Now Bacon, a San Francisco-based researcher, psychotherapist and author of “Health at Every Size: The Surprising Truth About Your Weight,” knows no one has to endure comments about their appearance, although many people are subject to it – especially around the holidays, and especially from loved ones.

“It’s the No. 1 topic that comes up in psychotherapy – people’s fear of the holidays,” Bacon says, due to discussions about dieting, body size and other appearance-related topics. “The family members feel like they’re doing it out of love and concern – they don’t get how problematic it is.”

But it can be. Consider, for example, a mom who reminisces about her son’s slimmer college years or the uncle who pokes fun of his nieces’ generous portion sizes. “Often, that can lead people down a disordered path,” says Christy Harrison, a registered dietitian and intuitive eating counselor in New York City who hosts “Food Psych Podcast,” a weekly show dedicated to helping people make peace with food and their bodies.

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