As Thanksgiving approaches, individuals should avoid diet stigmas


Riley Laferriere

Indulging in buttered rolls, mashed potatoes and turkey is a tradition for my family on Thanksgiving. Every year, my relatives gather around the table, give thanks for our blessings and dive into the delicious food. But while I especially like this tradition, others have a distaste for it. 

A large reason for this distaste is diet culture. Diet culture is a set of societal norms which tells individuals how to look, what to eat and how their body should look. According to the Boston Medical Center, a whopping 45 million Americans go on a diet each year, making partaking in indulgences hard through the holidays. As many people often aim for extremes on Thanksgiving— either grandiose portions of food or meal scraps— finding the right balance can become an obstacle for these individuals. 

Although diets can be an obstacle for some, the stigma around overindulging can be an obstacle in itself. Last year, my family decided to participate in a Thanksgiving run. Though I believed the run to be a fun bonding opportunity, some of my relatives praised it as a way to “earn our food.” Turkey Trots, or Thanksgiving runs, can be a fun activity to relieve stress, raise money for charity and get active; however, the idea of “earning food” can lead to increased negative stigmas. 

Thanksgiving should be a time for giving back and enjoying food with people you love. Though many aim to stay healthy and active throughout the holidays, it’s important for people to look at the larger picture and indulge to the degree which seems right to them. With the rise of diet culture in the media, it can be difficult to allow indulgence, which is why balance is so important.  

Finding a happy medium and breaking the indulgence stigma is the goal at Thanksgiving for those affected directly and indirectly by diet culture. There are several ways to find this balance. 

Many times, the foods consumed at Thanksgiving can be low in fats and calories, making options like vegetables, turkey and mashed potatoes a safe bet for those on a diet. Additionally, while running is a healthy way to stay in shape, trying to lose weight before eating shouldn’t replace the aspect of simply enjoying a run. 

Although celebrity and diet culture praises the skinny ideal, indulging for one day should be destigmatized; after all, it’s one day a year where you can enjoy good food with the people you are thankful for.

The views in this column do not necessarily reflect the views of the HiLite staff. Reach Riley Laferriere at [email protected]

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