Setting Holiday Boundaries – In 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, end of the year to those who aren’t!

One of the most frequent questions I get during the holidays is about how to deal with people – especially family – who are behaving badly – food policing, fat shaming, diet and weight loss talk and more.

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 done this, and I’ve heard from a number of people who have done this and the common thread seems to be that we only had to do it one time and then our 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 in another danceswithfat annual tradition, today we’re going to do this in song.

I’ve re-written the lyrics to “Oh Christmas Tree” to be an ode to boundary setting, .

Note 1: In order for this to work, it helps to pronounce boundaries as a three syllable word (BOUND-ah-rees) I also play with the rhythms within the phrases. 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 (to the tune of Oh Christmas Tree)

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:

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5 thoughts on “Setting Holiday Boundaries – In Song!

  1. Of course if it’s at MY house and it’s my minor teen-age daughter doing the un-asked-for policing, sending her to her room only works if I don’t want her to do any of her chores she’s supposed to do. ha. Love your blog. 🙂 Wish you happy and merry everythings!

  2. The problem I have is the criticism I hear towards other people. I guess I fall within their norm of good enough but my friends and colleagues comment on everyone else and the way they look. I am really over it but somehow I lack the courage to put my foot down. When I change their outlook, the world will be changed. I reflect that I feel differently and come to their “defense”. I mean, what does it matter what anyone looks like or what they can do. Let’s ask if they are genuine wholehearted and kind people? And if they aren’t, in what way could we help them feel more in touch with themselves so they can be? But reading your blog I feel like I am not quite doing enough because in the end the conversation gets diverted.
    Thank you for the message you bring the world and for being a kind wholehearted and real person!

    1. If you can’t speak up, perhaps you can walk away? Just say, “I don’t like the way this conversation is going,” and leave.

      Silence can speak volumes, if it’s a pointed silence, as opposed to an “I don’t want to make waves” silence.

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