Setting Boundaries – In Song!

Cuddlebug McnopeOne 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 talking 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 we’ll try this again next year.” and then, if they fail to respect your boundaries, it’s time to invoke the consequences.

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 (I had what felt like 27 semesters of music theory in college, this is what I’m doing with it.) If this is an affront to your sense of poetic license I completely understand, I’ll be back soon with a post sans song.

Note 2: At the bottom you’ll find two amazing renditions of this song by Jeanette DePatie and Nadja. Please also feel free to add your own verses in the comments, and/or post a video with your own rendition and it will become a part of this annual tradition.

And with that I give you:

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 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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3 thoughts on “Setting Boundaries – In Song!

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