The Holiday Boundary Song

Biscuit the Pug and I wish happy, Body Positive, holidays to all who are celebrating (and a happy, body positive, week to those who aren't!)
Biscuit the Pug and I wish happy, body positive, holidays to all who are celebrating, and a happy, body positive, week to those who aren’t!

One of the most frequent questions I get during the holidays is about how to deal with family who are behaving badly.

For me the secret is boundaries. I think it’s best to start by deciding what constitutes behavior that you will put up with. If it’s anything other than “anything goes” then I would consider setting some boundaries with consequences that you can follow through with. So, for example “It is not ok to talk about my weight or eating. If anyone says one more thing about my weight or eating I’m going to leave.” and then, if they fail to respect your boundaries, it’s time to go.

I’ve heard from a number of people who have done this and the common thread seems to be that they only had to do it one time and then their families started respecting their boundaries. Of course your mileage may vary. I’ve written about dealing with the Family and Friends Food Police and Combating Holiday Weight Shame, but today I thought I would do it in song.

To serve as a reminder, I’ve re-written the lyrics to “Oh Christmas Tree” to be an ode to boundary setting, and the post is now a Dances With Fat tradition.

Note 1: In order for this to work, it helps to pronounce boundaries as a three syllable word (BOUND-ah-rees) If this is an affront to your sense of poetic license I completely understand, I’ll be back tomorrow with a post sans song.

Note 2: At the bottom you’ll find two amazing renditions of this song by Jeanette DePatie (aka The Fat Chick) and Nadja. Please also feel free to add your own verses in the comments, and/or post a video with your own rendition.

Oh Boundaries! Oh Boundaries! You help me deal with family.

Don’t talk about my weight or food.
Why can’t you see it’s hella rude?

Oh Boundaries! Oh Boundaries! You help me deal with family.

You know I love my family
But I will leave if you fat-shame me.

Oh Boundaries! Oh Boundaries! You help me deal with family.

My body’s fine, I don’t need your rants
You’re not the boss of my underpants

Oh Boundaries! Oh Boundaries! You help me deal with family.

Don’t say a word to my fat kid
Or I’ll leave so fast, my tires will skid

Oh Boundaries! Oh Boundaries! You help me deal with family.

Yes I do “need” that second plate
It’s not your business what I ate

Oh Boundaries! Oh Boundaries! You help me deal with family.

Quit saying someday I’ll get sick
Last time I checked you were not psychic

Oh Boundaries! Oh Boundaries! You help me deal with family.

The holidays are great family time
If you don’t shame, food-police or whine

Oh Boundaries! Oh Boundaries! You help me deal with family.

Two Readers (so far – hint, hint) have taken up the challenge of recording this piece, enjoy!

Jeanette DePatie (aka The Fat Chick) gave us an amazing opera/jazz rendition:

and Nadja killed it a capella in the middle of the night in her PJs:

Like this blog?  Here’s more cool stuff:

If you’re looking for a fitness challenge in the New Year without any diet talk, weight loss talk, or body shaming, check out the Fit Fatties Forum Virtual Event Challenge!

Become a Member For ten bucks a month you can support size diversity activism, help keep the blog ad free, and get deals from size positive businesses as a thank you.  Click here for details

Buy the book:  Fat:  The Owner’s Manual  The E-Book is Name Your Own Price! Click here for details

Book Me!  I’d love to speak to your organization. You can get more information on topics, previous engagements and reviews here or just e-mail me at ragen at danceswithfat dot org!

Dance Classes:  Buy the Dance Class DVDs or download individual classes – Every Body Dance Now! Click here for details 

I’m training for an IRONMAN! You can follow my journey at

A movie about my time as a dancer is in active development (casting, finding investors etc.).  Follow the progress on Facebook!

If you are uncomfortable with my offering things for sale on this site, you are invited to check out this post.

10 thoughts on “The Holiday Boundary Song

  1. “The subject’s interesting but the rhymes are mighty rough”*
    says the author of the german doggerel advent-calendar, I know what Bed Poams look like. Been there, done that, and printed and sold that shirt 😉
    *Goober Peas by 2nd South Carolina String Band

  2. My family would not only allow me to leave, they would refuse to invite me to other gatherings afterward. They believe it is their duty to monitor my weight in the guise of addressing it as ‘health concerns’ My solution was to ignore their picking and eat as I pleased, which proves to be Less than everyone else, including my pencil thin sister and niece.

  3. But, if you just get up and leave, they will likely say that you are doing so because you “can’t handle the truth”, are “lying to yourself”, etc. If they don’t say it, they may at least THINK it. How would you and/or your readers deal with a possibility such as this?

    Even if you got into a debate and showed them studies, they might then counter said studies with their ones of own, or use the word “denial”.

    Just a few thoughts from a fat woman.

    I don’t usually get body shamed directly when around relatives, but a fit step-brother will almost inevitably talk about exercise, foods he eats/”should” be eaten to be healthy, and sometimes how to “get rid of fat around here (belly)”, for lack of exact wording.

    When taking a trip to see step-siblings 3ish weeks ago, the fit one demonstrated an exercise he called “planking” (not the fad in which people lie straight on objects). Yak, yak, yak is what he did about fitness, while I’m wondering if he’s mentally fit, since he seems to get his self-worth from his fitness level (I could be wrong).

    I don’t think some people fully get the gravity of what they’re doing in regards to body shaming because it’s so engrained in our culture that it’s “normal.”

    What do you guys and gals think?

  4. Nadja! I thought I was looking at myself many years younger!!!!! I have the same wall hanging with votives, same style glasses and similar cute button nose. I also wear my hair short and tosseled. lol. Biggest difference is I’m no way soprano. We should figure out a way to harmonize someday. Great job! Loved both versions, posted.

    My biggest challenge will be helping my daughter not food police or fat shame herself openly at the holiday dinner.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.