This is part two of a three part series I'm doing on combating holiday body shaming before it starts. If you haven't yet, read Part One: Four Tips to Start Fighting Holiday Body Shaming Now.
It happens all too often. You go to grab an extra slice of delicious pie, and some well-meaning yet ill-mannered person asks, "Are you sure you need that?"
Let's get something straight right off the bat, before we go any further: No one needs pie.
Pie is not oxygen. It is not some substance we must have to survive. What makes pie so deliciously decadent is that we don't need it at all. It is an indulgence, something we love to eat because it tastes good, not medicine we take to survive.
So the straightforward, honest answer to the question of "Do you need that piece of pie?" is "No, I don't."
But just because you don't need something, doesn't mean you shouldn't have it.
I don't need my dog, but I love having him around to cuddle with at night. I don't need to watch Under the Tuscan Sun, but I love the way it reminds me of living in Italy. I don't need more than one pair of winter boots, but I love having a couple pairs to choose from each morning.
We live in a capitalist society, our whole lifestyle and culture is based on things we don't need. So why are people constantly pointing out to others what they do and don't need to eat?
There's only one situation in which I want someone to point out that I shouldn't be eating pie, and that's if I'm unknowingly stealing that piece from someone else. As long as there are enough pieces to go around, we all deserve to enjoy our dessert without guilt or shame.
Sadly, not everyone respects this boundary of mine. While things are getting better, a lot of people still think it's perfectly acceptable and possibly even in the person's best interest to comment on and regulate the food they eat.
That's why we -- yes, you and me -- are standing up to fight body shaming, diet talk, and food policing this holiday season, starting with actively answering the question "Are you sure you need that piece of pie?"
Here are some great answers to the question: "Are you sure you need that piece of pie?"
- "YEAUP! It's delicious!" *smile broadly as you savor each and every guilt-free bite*
- "I don't need this piece of pie, but I want it, and that is good enough for me."
- "What I don't need is you to police my food intake."
- "No one needs pie; that's what makes it so great! But what everyone needs is to be able to eat without guilt or shame, so please don't comment on what I am eating and I will give you the same respect."
- Nothing. Yes, sometimes the best answer is no answer at all. Sometimes we simply don't have the energy to respond and that's totally okay.
I find that practicing what I will say in response to a situation before it happens helps keep me from angrily shouting at someone or cowering in the corner, so try these out before your next holiday function.
So, what will you say this holiday season when someone asks you, "Are you sure you need that piece of pie?" Let me know in the comments below.
To help you practice for this and other holiday body shaming situations, I've put together a Fight Holiday Body Shaming worksheet for you. You can download that worksheet for free here.
Remember, preparation is half the battle. Arm yourself now with the self-care and self-confidence you need to make it through this holiday season loving yourself fully as you are right now, right here.
Next week, we'll talk about fun ways to invest in yourself this holiday season. Follow me here on Huffington Post to make sure you read it when it comes out.
Lauren Marie Fleming takes the guilty out of pleasure. An audacious storyteller, she wrote the book Bawdy Love: 10 Steps to Profoundly Loving Your Body, hosts the Bawdy Love podcast, and leads the #BawdyLove revolution, a movement to banish shame and fill our lives with decadence, delight, and joy. For more from Lauren, visit LaurenMarieFleming.com.