Surviving Thanksgiving

For a few weeks now, my belly dance teacher has been announcing that the studio would be closed the entire week of Thanksgiving, so “take some time off, eat a lot, and get those shimmies bigger.” Since I carefully avoid the forms of media that most obviously prey on women, that’s about the only message I’ve gotten about Thanksgiving food this year. But that doesn’t mean I’m having thoroughly unconflicted feelings about it.

For one thing, I have yet another stomach bug, so I don’t know if I can even enjoy Thanksgiving food. Not that I particularly do in the first place; I could pretty much go without turkey my whole life and not miss it. What I’m really sad about is not being able to eat a big chocolate chip cookie on the way up. The Amtrak station has the best cookies, and if I don’t feel better by 5 or so, I’m not going to get one, and I will be BORED AND SAD.

For another, Thanksgiving food is a minefield for fatties whether they’re feeling okay or not. In some families, you garner comment if you don’t eat what others consider enough; in others, if you eat what others consider too much. Pretty much nobody’s family considers what’s on your plate to be your own goddamn business.

For a third thing, like everyone here, I have at least one toxic relative. For once, mine isn’t my mom, who has actually stopped dieting for the first time I can remember. But among our guests will be my aunt’s mother, who isn’t even really related to me so I don’t see why I have to put up with her. (Mom says “she’s got nowhere else to go” — translation, nobody likes her.) This woman is brittle, haughty, judgmental, and an absolute pro with a backhanded compliment. She’ll be the worst threat, but my aunt is her Mini-Me, and then my uncle is generally abrasive and misogynist. Then on Friday we’re doing an extended-family thing with my mom’s cousins, who are more of the same — diet-obsessed women and thoughtlessly chauvinist men. Good times.

I know everyone has apprehension about the holidays, being as how they’re food-centered occasions that seem to be the perfect time for your whole family to comment on your weight, your looks, your eating habits, and your life prospects (or just sit there and silently disapprove at you, which might even be worse). It’s a gauntlet. But there are ways that we can make it easier.

I designate this thread for two things: Venting and, um, thanksgiving. Let off steam, right through the holiday and beyond, about your family and their absurd holiday behavior, food-related or otherwise. If they drive you to your room, come here and let us know; if you just know they’re going to irk you beyond words, expound on their worst peccadilloes. But for each complaint, add something you’re looking forward to or something you’re thankful for. (I’m really excited about going to Lee Lee’s Valise! And I was looking forward to that cookie. And I’m so thankful for the commentariat, and for the chance to be part of this blog.) It might not balance out — with some people’s families, it just can’t. But it’s a good reminder that things aren’t that bleak. In fact, paired with some Pollyanna-ish positivity, some of us may find that our families’ foibles start to seem a little amusing.

Well… perhaps “amusing” is a little ambitious. We’ll shoot for “mitigated horror.”

127 thoughts on “Surviving Thanksgiving

  1. Isn’t your aunt’s mother your grandmother?? I’m so confused.

    I used to get really upset over the unending tyranny of T day at the inlaws’, but many people have died off or moved away, and there have been a lot of sorrows for the ones who remain, so it seems heartless to fuss about it when they are so glad to see my daughter come to visit. Where once they irked me, now I see their humanity and it’s easy to let it all go. OCD is the big thing that has to be dealt with over there, and I’ve gotten good at going out on the deck (no matter the chill) to get away in every sense when the going gets rough.

    I’m with ya on the lack of desire for turkey dinners. There is nothing appealing about the menu to me so I don’t see it as the minefield that others do. I dare people to judge what is or isn’t on my plate.

    Hope you feel better, Kate. My child was puking her tiny little brains out Sunday night with some bug that’s going around. It bothered me south of the equator but we’ve made a nice recovery and I hope you will too.

  2. see, I’ll be honest, I am still having trouble with this whole FA thing, and I am feeling ashamed that I have to go see my husband’s family and my family, presenting what I know to be an unacceptable body size. His family is filled with teensie women. It just occured to me that I am the fattest woman who will be there. Also, my vision of myself in my head is me at 180, so when I see pictures of myself at 240, I feel bad.

    My family isn’t too bad, but it all does eventually go to diet talk. Sometimes I take it there. Blech.

  3. Isn’t your aunt’s mother your grandmother?

    My uncle’s mother is my grandmother. His wife’s mother is just his wife’s mother. (Given the size of my family, I also have to know “second cousin once removed” and all that crap.)

  4. Yellowhammer, FA is much easier in a supportive environment, for sure. When you take it out into the world at large it can feel really lonely.

    Think of it this way: Is your family right about everything? I bet that, like most families, they’re actually comically wrong much of the time when they all agree on something. They have the power to make a lot of noise and unpleasantness, but at the end of the day, their opinions can’t actually make your body unacceptable.

    Small comfort, but some comfort, I hope.

  5. Oh, we will definitely do this again at Christmas! Great idea, FJ!

    Fortunately or unfortunately, my family is small and scattered — and half of it’s in Canada, where Thanksgiving is long over by now — so I haven’t had to do a big holiday gathering in a while. I do miss that atmosphere sometimes, but I am also really grateful that I don’t have to deal with all the self-esteem bombs.

    It’s too late to help anyone this Thanksgiving, but for those who can stand flouting tradition, I’d like to recommend getting together with the fam at OTHER times of the year, to cut down on holiday craziness. My immediate family has taken to getting together in August instead of at Thanksgiving or Christmas — which frees us all up to spend the holidays however we like (i.e., with in-laws, as my sibs with spouses and kids do, or in Vegas, as Al and I do), and gives us the opportunity to do fun, outdoorsy stuff that keeps us from killing each other; we’re not trapped in the house together like we would be in winter. We still hang out and eat a lot and fight and infuriate each other, but there’s none of the “Oh my god, the turkey has to be on the table at X hour, and wait, no, we have to do things THIS way, or we’re ruining the tradition!” baggage poisoning everything.

    Also, Al and I just went up to Minneapolis last weekend to see his parents and family-type friends. It was awfully nice not to have to travel on Thanksgiving — because what people need at the holidays is MORE stress — but we still got to do the loved-ones-in-Nov. thing.

    If I’d gotten my shit together, I would have invited stray friends over for dinner on Thursday. Every year, I threaten to do that, and I still think it’d be the best way to go. I do love the idea of the big holiday meal — but it would be a lot more fun with people who don’t drive me mental.

    Finally, I am grateful for Shapelings! I LOVE that this blog has become a real community, and I wish I could have you all over for turkey.

    I am also grateful that Fillyjonk posted today so I don’t have to.

  6. I’ve gotten good at going out on the deck (no matter the chill) to get away in every sense when the going gets rough.

    I swear, the hardest part of quitting smoking for me will be losing the handy excuse to walk away from various gatherings and be alone for 5-10 minutes. Not even just family gatherings — I get overstimulated even in crowds of people I love hanging out with, and going outside a smoke is my moment of zen. But standing around in the cold staring into space doesn’t seem quite as appealing when you don’t have a reason to be doing it.

  7. I usually look forward to Thanksgiving. My mother does have some body issues, and it used to be worse, because she’d put guilt on herself as well as me, so it was really hard to tell her to stop (because I think she really, genuinely feels guilty for the way she looks/what she weighs).

    This summer, I actually got her a copy of Campos’ book and Fat!So?, and now she doesn’t talk about it as much any more and seems to be making a conscious effort to speak more positively when she does speak – about herself and about me. So that’s getting better.

    However, since the last time I saw my brother in the flesh, I got into a big, IM-based fight with him about dieting, so I’m almost dreading seeing him.

    Plus, my boyfriend and I will be accompanied by my boyfriend’s father. This will be the first time his father has met any of my family and I think there’s no way that can fail to be nerve-wracking.

    It is definitely not going to feel like vacation.

    -E

  8. You know, for all the fat-bashing I had to deal with from my family, the ONLY times I was “let off” were holidays such as Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter. (I guess 4th of July would fit in there, too.) Nobody said anything to me about what I ate or how much of it on a HOLIDAY. The day after? Yeah. Definitely. But not on a holiday. I guess my family understood the concept of a “family holiday” and how more important other things were than what I (or anybody else, for that matter) put in our mouths.

    I actually miss holidays like Thanksgiving – like you, fj, I have a big, extended family, and even with various aunts and uncles scattering to all parts of the country, holidays were still a big affair right up until I moved halfway across the world. Here? Not so much. Not only does my hubby’s family not give two shits about us, but family get-togethers like I grew up with are just about unheard of, period.

    ITA on the turkey thing, though. Thankfully, my mom always made two main dishes – so anybody who didn’t want turkey didn’t have to eat it! :)

  9. Heh, fillyjonk, LeeLee’s Valise is totally in my neighborhood. Nifty!

    Let’s see – my narcissistic alcoholic nasty-tempered grandmother is dead, and that rounds out my dead grandparents. I don’t know my dad’s family well at all, my mom’s extended family is dwindled down to her siblings, who won’t come, and my in-laws and I are completely incompatible. I (and the man) are staying in town. We’ll go over to our friends’ place in Greenpoint, and it will be awesome, because the female part of the couple loves to feed people and the male part likes to make sure we all drink. Good times.

    Both I and Mr. Luci are ill, though, so I’m not sure how that is going to work. I haven’t been hungry for days.

  10. I think I need to start taking belly dance that sounds fun.

    I am not thankful for:
    My parents are on jenny craig, my mom, who is a 5’10″ post menopausal stroke victim (4 years ago) who works out three timse a week is eating around 1400 calories a day. My father continues to be upset when she does not lose weight, claiming that she is cheating.

    In theory, he’s on the same diet, in practice, he can drive, and therefore eat whatever he wants, she however is stuck in the house with crap. But she has “high blood pressure” and the doctor wants her to bring it down blah blah blah. I can’t help but point out everyone in this situation’s apparent failure to note that her father had 2 heart attacks due to his high blood pressure and that every one of her siblings also has a similiar condition. Yeah, I’m sure starving herself will TOTALLY help.

    Frankly, the whole thing fills me with rage.

    And on a non weight related note, they jsut drive me crazy. My boyfriend and I never fight, never yell, because there is just nothing worth getting that upset over. Last time I went home I got screamed at because I dropped some stuff on the floor while trying to help out. I don’t know how I ever lived there.

    Plus, my best friend since I was 6 is now upset because she keeps getting passed over for a promotion. When asked what she wants to be doing in the future her response is “stay at home mom.” So… Uhh…. why again should she get promoted? GRRRRRRRR.

    I am thankful every day that my mom survived her stroke (and the car accident 20 years ago that caused the stroke) and is still here to celebrate thanksgiving with us every year. I am thankful that she and My dad were able to give me an awesome sister. And that they were able to provide both of us with excellent educations and give us amazing head starts.

    Going home also reminds me to be thankful that I’ve found such a great boyfriend and that we have such a wonderful menagierie.

    And I I’m thankful for all my psycho friends who are suddenly inexplicably filled with the urge to spawn. They were fun while they could actually do fun things.

  11. (I should probably mention that aforementioned dead narcissistic grandma is largely responsible for my initial body image issues. I’m glad she’s dead. So there.)

  12. As a college student, I’ve been bombarded with negative Thanksgiving messages from my professors at school. I was pretty blown away when I realized the standard dismissal around Thanksgiving holiday was “Don’t come back too fat!”

    I’m also pretty nervous to be hosting my inlaws for the first time for the holidays. His mom comes from a line of very tiny women, and although she herself would never say anything directly to my face, her family has done so several times. Hopefully things will be calmer with just the 4 of us.

    As far as things I’m thankful for? I’m thankful to my opportunities here at school, even if some of my professors need a good clue-by-four to the head. And I’m thankful for the man who loves me and my body so unconditionally and who lets me know I’m never alone in these body wars. And that’s enough for me.

  13. [blockquote]the standard dismissal around Thanksgiving holiday was “Don’t come back too fat!”[/blockquote]

    Jeebus, Mari and Yosef!! Do these PROFESSORS not realize that it’s mathematically and physically IMPOSSIBLE to gain a NOTICABLE amount of weight in FOUR DAYS????????

    Wanna borrow my clue-by-four for when you go back? ;)

  14. I feel sheltered. And LUCKY.

    My Thanksgiving is always a small family gathering consisting of me, Mom, Dad, and occasionally some (now former) neighbors we made friends with. Before my grandma (and her friend Gertie) died, they’d join us too. Sometimes we have people who we hear are spending the day alone join us too.

    We almost never have extended family as they all live in either Wisconsin or Connecticut, and one uncle is a nomad. However, I don’t think any of them are on a diet.

    Our “diet talk” is in the form of “Wow Joe, you’re a good cook!” Our conversations are just like ones we’d have any other day.

    My only objection is not enough folks my age. But eh.

  15. Last year we did Thanksgiving with my husband’s family (well, his dad’s side of the family). For some reason all of his step- and extended family on that side is super-traditionally good-looking, and I don’t know most of them well at all, so I didn’t find TG over there particularly fun. Besides which, it’s almost a non-holiday for them, just an excuse to go up to the lake a day or so early. There’s not even a table big enough for more than four people to sit at so we all just end up scattered about the house (which for me ends up meaning not only not really talking to anyone, but also not getting to listen to people…which makes the dinner boring and uncomfortable for me). Since TG is no big deal at all for his family and it kind of is for mine, and since I felt uncomfortable, we decided we’d always do it with my family.

    I have never been so excited for Thanksgiving in my life than I am this year (we’ve also just moved to my hometown and since I’ve been in college I haven’t spent much time with my non-parental family members)! My grandma is one of those people who makes too much food no matter what the get together occasion is, and unless you are a very finicky kid my family doesn’t bug you about what you eat or don’t. After being away for so long I love dinners at my granny’s a lot more and I don’t take them for granted like I did for a while (you know, when you hit the teenage years so going over doesn’t mean playing with the other kids and you’re not necessarily ready for or interested in what all the adults want to talk about). Every commercial for Thanksgiving or Food Network special makes me remember another thing I’m excited and thankful for this year and I simply cannot wait!

    Sorry this hasn’t been the normal “family driving me crazy” holiday rant. I’m just so excited :)

  16. I’m thankful for the “usual” that is actually rare and precious… in my husband’s and my family, both sets of parents, brothers, sisters, and in DH’s case cousins are all healthy and (to the best of my knowledge) happy. Many of them are coming to our house for Thanksgiving. Which is great for me because I don’t have to, you know, get off my butt and go anywhere, and I don’t have to “decide” between the two families this year because my parents agreed to come too and they actually don’t seem unhappy about it. So that is all great. It doesn’t always FEEL great when I am with my family (though luckily at some point they either got sick of beating the dead horse, or became fearful of me, I’m not sure which :) , and more or less quit talking about food and weight with me except on my own terms) because my mom and I have this amazing ability to spend a few hours together and have it be great, but any more than that and I want to kill her. But stepping back from petty annoyances, overall I am very thankful for my family.

    I am also thankful for the Thanksgiving meal itself. For me it’s my favorite meal of the year. I love pretty much all of the food and plan to eat plenty of everything (thing I am thankful for #3, I am healthy and happy too, and am lucky enough to be able to enjoy pretty much any foods I like without ill effect).

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure I’ll be pretty happy to see the last person’s back heading out the door on Thursday evening, but it should be an excellent holiday overall.

  17. I’m ridiculously lucky in regards to my family–we all like to eat and we all respect each other’s food choices. No diet-talk at all. So, I’m thankful for that, and for pie.

    Now, Christmas will be another story, when I head off to visit the fat-hating in-laws. But I’ll still be thankful for pie.

  18. Well… this is a bittersweet Thanksgiving. My mom’s mom and my mom’s stepmom both died this year and while I loved those two grandmas fiercely and I’ve been in a pretty deep mourning about losing them, they were both the biggest bitches about food and weight. I’m really sad that I don’t get to spend anymore holidays with them (besides the weight thing they were such wonderful grandmas) but I’m kind of grateful that I don’t have to get plowed just to not cry at the Thanksgiving table.

    The other thing I’m grateful for… to avoid the sadness of my mom’s house without any relatives this year we decided to rent a cabin on Mt. Hood… it will be my immediate family (aka, my best friends) and one of my really good friends who can’t make it up to Tacoma to be with her family. I’m really looking forward to it.

  19. Mmm Thanksgiving. We (being me and my parents) started avoiding the family Thanksgivings after a few years of my grandmother nuking the green beans and melting the plastic wrap into them and the years of putting the turkey in the garage “out to cool” which was also where the dog was. Yeah. So we started a rebellion, my aunt and uncle and cousins would come over and then one year we invited my grandparents but they declined so they could work in a food kitchen- and then called us at 1:30 to find out if they could come over.

    After moving to LA however I regularly went to Thanksgiving for the stranded. It was astronomers, theatre people and spacecraft engineers. Those were always fun if a bit crazy.

    This year though I’m rebelling against the new astronomers only Thanksgiving. It’ll just be me and my fiance and all sorts of good food. Plus cooking myself means I can do the “exotic” items like figs baked with pancetta and goat cheese. i don’t care what I eat around the man too, given that he’s started getting pissy at the “obesity epidemic” crap on the news given that he’s seen my fitday with less than 2kcal that I eat (and he eats too since I’m the cooking whench) and the fact that I go to gym to work out (which he doesn’t) and he thinks it’s total crap that I gain weight and get made to feel bad about it given that I’m being perfectly normal.

    That said- our Thanksgiving weekend plans now involve BPAL Will-Call and my first ever experience horseriding. I’ll try to not to snort about how his guess on my weight for the horseriding folks was under the real thing. Of course I’ve never really wanted to go due to the worry of breaking the horsie.

  20. Astrobabe, your plans sound like SO MUCH FUN! I love BPAL… and if I could go horse back riding on Thanksgiving… well I might die from the joy. Don’t worry, you won’t break the horse, they’re really strong :)

  21. Astrobabe, I’m so jealous of your horseriding! You’re going to have so much fun! They are such powerful animals!

    I used to take riding lessons back when I was still in the 250lbs range, and my dad used to joke about how they would need a Clydesdale to get me over the jumps. Frankly, I just want a Clydesdale because they are freaking gorgeous!!

  22. *hi Shapelings, I’m a long time lurker, first time poster*

    How, oh how, can we stop the body-hating comments from zipping into our ears? I’m gearing up for another holiday season of my family and their continuous focus on size in a not-loving way, the resulting eye-rolls when my supportive/steamroller talking starts about FA and body appreciation.

    Why? Because since I’m a smaller than them I can’t POSSIBLY understand why they should lose weight. Because OF COURSE they should, because everyone* says so.

    Let’s just add this as one more variation on the list of reasons why “they” don’t have to listen to FA advocates–you’re too thin to know why it’s bad.

    Of course that directly contradicts other reasons, but when did that ever matter?

    I love them, and would also like to shake some body appreciation into their thick skulls at the same time. Or hug it into them, that sounds much friendlier.

    *meaning their doctors, Oprah, Katie Courac, Dr. Phil, etc etc etc.

  23. My family is thousands of miles away (and Canadian) so they’re not the issue at the moment. I will have to put up with in-laws, a prospect that makes me very, very tense. I’m thankful that it will only be a few hours and I will have a long weekend to get some work done. Will I be setting foot inside a store? Hell, no!

  24. lexy, I’m so sorry about your recent losses.

    Okay, here’s my vent: my mother’s two personalities. There’s the one that says, “Watch that gravy… do you really need seconds of the mashed potatoes?… Just pick ONE dessert.” and then the other side that’s in the kitchen in the morning when I wake up, saying, “Can I make you waffles? Pancakes?” And she’s standing next to the box of pastries my stepdad brought home, because, y’know… they have a house full of people and need to feed us.

    But you know what I’m thankful for? My mom. She’s amazing and I love her and I’m very lucky to live close to her and have such a great relationship with her, especially since my dad died many years ago. I’m really lucky to have her, even if she’s screwed up about food. :) I have this big, blended family – one sister, four stepsiblings, all with spouses, four with kids, and everyone likes and respects each other and gets along. It’s very cool, and I’m so happy to have them.

    By the way, speaking of double personalities, has anyone watched any of the national morning shows lately? (I feel another vent coming). Talk about schizo about the holidays… it’s like in one half hour they have some segment on cooking for the holidays and it’s all deep fried turkeys and amazing stuffing dishes (T’giving dinner is one of my favorite meals, so I can practically smell that stuffing) and in the next half hour it’s about weight gain during the holidays and how to watch your calories, blah blah blah.

  25. Get a cookie anyway, and save it for when you feel better! That’s what I’d do. That said, I hope you feel better. Stomach bugs suck royally.

    I’m a little apprehensive this year because having FINALLY moved away from my parents’ house (from Minnesota to Florida in less than a month!), this will be my first official Thanksgiving away from home. My friend in Orlando has been sweet enough to invite me to her place so I’m not all alone, but it won’t be the same. I plan on calling my parents and grandparents and crying like a little kid.

    This is going to sound a little selfish of me, but I’m also worried I won’t like the food, heh. I’m just so used to the way my family does everything, you know? I’m sure it’ll be okay, but I know I’ll miss Gram’s whipped potatoes and Dad’s ginormous salads. Sigh.

  26. Thanksgiving day will be spent with my husband and both sets of parents, which is really nice and warm and fuzzy. We’re cooking, because we’re totally adults, dammit… and it will be fun. I think that’s what I’m thankful for… a relatively benign segment of my family that I can spend the actual holiday with who are totally not judgemental about my cooking or my weight.

    The Saturday after Thanksgiving will be spent with my extended family, which is much less safe in terms of nor feeling like an undeserving pig. One cousin had WLS a few years ago and picks at her food rather pointedly, and uncle had a heart attack early this year and has now decided to “prevent” my dad’s “inevitable” heart attack by making him lose weight and stop smoking. No one says anything to your face, but my family is uncannily good at doing that “disapproving at you” thing, where you just know that once you leave conversation will eventually lead back to sympathetic clucking abot how I’m too young to be fat, or about how my dad would totally lose weight if he really loved his family (or if he were strong enough to “adequately” show that love by dropping thirty pounds).

  27. Well, since my immediate family made a move, all the “concerned about fat” folks are back in the other state. So we (mama and I) get to eat what ever and how much we want without getting our plates scrutinized.

    Because, y’know, it had gotten to the point where on Thanksgiving and Christmas my mother would make a meal at home so that we could eat without my grandmother (who, besides this, was very awesome, may she rest in peace) asking “Well, ain’t you had enough yet?”

    And what am I grateful for? An open minded mother, cookie cutters, jeans that fit, a goofy lil bro, and the fact I know how to cook well enough to help make the meal.

    And pie. I’m always happy for pie.

  28. Yay, it’s awesome to see other BPAL fans here! :)

    I’m so glad my mom doesn’t really care about my weight, and that my dad’s Thanksgiving traditions take place early enough in the morning that, living two hours away, I’ve got an excuse to miss them. ;) As for the BF’s family, I expect much of dinner will be spent listening to his mother recite how many points are in the green bean casserole. *eyeroll* But at least she’s sort of given up on trying to convert me to the gospel of WW…

  29. My husband has to work Thanksgiving day, so I get to spend the day all alone. If we can’t afford groceries this time around I’ll also be spending it hungry. Everyone thank Books-A-Million for keeping their employees apart from their families (and not paying them a living wage)!

  30. I have to admit that I’m not worried about the body talk at the Tday table. My family is pretty big and while I anticipate my mother vowing to go back on her diet next week, no one is going to deny themselves the pleasure of eating themselves drunk on Tday.

    But on weight related anxiety, I have worries about the flight. I am at the heaviest I’ve ever been and I am not only not looking forward to flight-induced deep vein thrombosis, but I’m also going to have all those ucky imaginings of what other people around me are thinking as I buckle into my seat.

    On the wonderful thankful side of things: I am loved. I am planning a trip to Oahu in the summer, and this is feeling of physical wellness is still recent enough for me to continue to take notice of it.

  31. Well, since my name is actually Pollyanna (no, I’m not making this up) I’m all about staying positive. Well, I suppose I developed it over the years as a coping mechanism, along with a taste for red wine and reading wonderfully affirming blogs.

    Actually, the thing that will keep me positive (aside from my name) is knowing that for all the things my family will find to pick at, I’m happy. I’m in a sizzing hot 20 year romance (which has stayed hot no matter what size or shape our asses have been) I’ve got three silly kids, I’ve got a job that makes me feel like I’m doing something important every day. I’ve got a big ol’ brain.

    I can sip my shiraz, smile, and know that I’m going to bed that night with a man who thinks I’m the most brilliant, lovely woman on the planet and that I will wake up surrounded by the beautiful faces of my kids clamoring for oatmeal and hot cocoa and poking their little elbows into our ribs. I find pleasure in a million things that they couldn’t even begin to understand, starting with the way my stomach, that once sheltered my children, feels soft and round and comforting under my hands.

    In the end, I’ve chosen all the things that have some my way, or my reaction to those things, and I am content that I’m living right in my own eyes.

    Bring on the muthafuckin turkey and sweet taters! Naysayers, do your worst…

  32. Thanks for the clarifications above.

    Kate, you can always hang out outdoors sans a smoke. Off the top of my head, here are the excuses I would pick from:

    1. “My cell phone works better over here.”
    2. “I need some air.”
    3. “I’ll take out the trash.”
    4. “Break time.” (It’s nice to have a hot drink on a cold deck, JMHO).
    5. Take up stargazing.
    6. Offer to verify the weather report.
    7. Worry that the birdfeeders need filling.
    8. Walk the dog. Any dog. ;o)

  33. Godless,
    I was so going to go there today over lunch, but now I am questioning that decision.

    I have to work Saturday and Sunday because I release statistics on retail shopping. But having to work thanksgiving freaking SUCKS!!!!!!

  34. Thanks Fillyjonk. I hope you feel better before your trip and you get that cookie.

    And remember – we’re all thankful for YOU!

  35. I am from Canada, thanksgiving is over and forgotten…but i’m lucky and thankful for my awesome family because all of my cousins are my age and we all escape the neurotic aunts by choosing a floor of the house that they are not on and staying far away from any negative self-talk, or diet obsessions, and instead talk about clothes, and life and sometimes good old fashioned celebrity gossip!

    sorry for the crazy run-on-and-on sentence…and bad grammer

  36. I am incredibly thankful for my crazy family. Although my mom might make occasional mild comments overall she will be more concerned that we all get enough of what we want. That they’re all kind enough overall that im comfortable bringing my friends to dinner on any occassion.

    This helps me deal with my little sis who is just shy of 6 feet and a size 10 and BEAUTIFUL going on and on about how fat she’s gotten 8( it makes me so sad and nothing i say on the subject ever seems to get through.

  37. You know, for all the fat-bashing I had to deal with from my family, the ONLY times I was “let off” were holidays such as Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter. (I guess 4th of July would fit in there, too.) Nobody said anything to me about what I ate or how much of it on a HOLIDAY. The day after? Yeah. Definitely. But not on a holiday. I guess my family understood the concept of a “family holiday” and how more important other things were than what I (or anybody else, for that matter) put in our mouths.

    I was going to say pretty much exactly the same thing. Holidays are the one time of year in my family where we all just put our food issues aside, forget about our diets, and just focus on eating, drinking, and being merry =) It drives me nuts when I read these articles about how to stick to your diet on Thanksgiving and Christmas, because come on. Overeating a little two days a year is neither going to kill you nor make you fat. So, (even though thanksgiving was a month ago for me!) I’m thankful that I can whole heartedly look forward to enjoying the holidays. I’m also grateful that when my family does get me down, I can come here and vent and read all the wonderful posts and funny comments. This site really has been a godsend to me.

  38. My daughter is having her wisdom teeth out tomorrow, so we are having our Thanksgiving Sunday with friends joining us. Thankfully our extended families live too far away to even think about getting together.

    The past few years we went to a retreat center for Thanksgiving, so I haven’t cooked it myself since I got diagnosed with diabetes. I’m thinking turkey and roasted vegetables and then another side dish of my daughter’s choice. Our friends are bringing mashed potatoes for those who can eat them.

    My only question is what to stuff the turkey with. My husband voted for the sausage and sauerkaut stuffing we use when we cook a goose for Christmas, but I think it a little strong for turkey (unless my daughter votes for it too). My two ideas so far are mushrooms, onions, and parsnips (and oysters??) or cabbage, apple, and cranberries.

    I’m thankful for my children. This year both of them are at boarding school so having them home means a lot. I also feel thankful for my life in comparison with a dear friend who is getting married this Saturday to a woman whom his toxic mother considers unacceptable.

  39. Kate – I just quit smoking again and am having intense cravings just having the anxiety of thinking about dealing with my relatives on Thursday.

    I’m sneaking in “weird” food and I’m hoping against hope that none of my relatives see me eating it because I don’t want to explain a) what I’m eating, 2) why I’m not eating the traditional food, and of course) when I’m getting married. OH MY GOD WATCH YOUR FOOTBALL GAME AND LEAVE ME ALONE.

  40. I’m sorta kinda conflicted about turkey day this year. I’ve hated holiday meals for years (they were a reason for my mother to be able to snipe at me for hours on end). Now that I’m married, it’s just DH’s family, and not many of them (they are his ex-wife’s kids, so have in-laws who they visit instead, and his brothers are scattered all across the country). One step-son who considers DH his dad will be coming over with his wife (who is really cool, I don’t care what the others say) and their 3 kids. Another step-son and his family may or may not drop by (and we don’t care if they show up or not). My son won’t be able to make it since it’s a 3 hour drive for them to come up here and his wife is working until 2 pm, so they’re going to her parents, who live 15 minutes from them. Thankfully, none of any who are going to be here will have anything to say about how much or how little anyone is eating. And since DH and I will be doing all the cooking, our menu is minuscule this year. Turkey, dressing, green bean casserole, gravy, cranberry sauce, dinner rolls, and pies (pecan, pumpkin, and maybe apple). I’m also thankful for paper plates and plastic silverware (I hate doing dishes).
    I’ll tell you one thing, though, it’s damned difficult trying to figure out a Thanksgiving meal that isn’t high in carbs for a diabetic (DH) and that everyone who is coming will eat, without having to cook separate dishes for DH and them. So I said to hell with it, cut out as many carbs as I realistically could, and figured it was one meal (that’s why no potatoes of any kind, no corn, etc, even though those things are part of my family’s tradition).

  41. I am thankful that my mother, who was diagnosed with breast cancer last year around Thanksgiving, is this year done with all her treatments and so-far cancer-free. Yay!

    I am thankful that my relatives have more important things (like my Mom surviving her cancer, and my aunt unfortunatel dying from hers a few weeks ago) to talk about rather than dieting. It’s not like they never go on nutty diets, but at least they give it a rest on Thanksgiving.

    I am thankful that when I’ve talked to my sister about size acceptance (although not using the exact term), she has been supportive and receptive.

    I am thankful that my husband is 100 percent behind my decision to never diet for weight loss again.

    This is a good thread in view of getting back in touch with an old college roommate/friend who has become a wacky vegan health nut, and rather vocal about it. I’m glad she’s happy and healthy, but the good food/bad food talk is driving me nuts and I’m not sure what to say to her without coming off as absurdly defensive or hostile. :(

  42. My husband voted for the sausage and sauerkaut stuffing we use when we cook a goose for Christmas, but I think it a little strong for turkey

    I don’t know about sauerkraut, but my family’s traditional turkey stuffing has sausage in it (other than that, I think it’s pretty much just bread, sage, and onions), and it’s yum.

    Cacie, good luck with the not smoking! And hee hee about the rest. I’m grateful to avoid the WHEN ARE YOU GETTING MARRIED? aspect of the holidays, too.

  43. Kate, would you like to meet a Shapeling while in Vegas? I am available, or if I’m not available I would make myself available…

  44. Godless Heathen, I’m so sorry that you can’t spend the holiday with your husband. I really don’t want to sound all pious or anything here, but have you considered volunteering at a soup kitchen or somethingl ike that that day? It might be better than staying home alone. Or if you stay home alone, maybe you can make it a fun, “single” kind of day – watch your favorite tv-shows, do your nails, organize the kitchen, whatever makes you happy.

  45. My family is all out of town. Actually, my mom probably wouldn’t be so bad to have a holiday meal with. She’s always been effortlessly thin, although my stepfather would probably be indulging in a little carbphobia. It’s my dad (long divorced from her) who would be insufferable to have Thanksgiving with, being a WW person and all paranoid about his “maintenance points.” What the poop is it with my family? How am I supposed to keep being a good Shapeling feminist when it’s the men who are making a Wagnerian opera about what’s on their plate instead of the women? I’m thankful not to have to witness it, I’ll tell ya.

    Anyway, this year I actually have to work on TG. I don’t expect there to be a lot of work (hospital transcription, will probably be c-sections and emergency room stuff only), but I have to be “on” in case any comes in. Same with C., who is a tech contractor working at home who doesn’t get any paid days off, although he doesn’t expect there to be much for him to do either. So a huge coma-inducing meal is out for that day, in case actual alertness is required of us.

    But nice food will be happening. I am going to try my hand at a pecan-crusted catfish, and we’ll have mashed potatoes and squash from the garden (they looked just like little pumpkins until I cut them open) and some kind of tasty dessert, maybe a pan cookie. Nice and filling, but not enough so that all the dopamine dribbles out my ears. I do plan on a mini-turkey dinner on Sunday, when I’m off, because I do like turkey and sweet potatoes and stuffing and I wanted to have that stuff at least once. But yay for being with people because you want to, and not because you “have” to!

  46. I don’t smoke but if I feel the need to get out I just say I’m going for a walk. Sometimes my kids come with me, sometimes it’s me alone. One year I did go out in the backyard and star gaze for awhile ;-D

  47. Thankfully (ha!) we don’t have Thanksgiving in the UK. I think two big family-oriented thou-shalt-be-happy-or-else holidays so close together must be a bit of a strain, many people I know struggle just to get through Christmas without wanting to kill someone, if not themselves.

    Equally thankfully however my family are lovely. It was my birthday yesterday, and Mike and I spent the weekend visiting with both my sisters and their partners and my mum and dad at my youngest sister’s house in Hull. A weekend visit that included takeaway curry, danish pastries, a big home-cooked dinner, full english breakfast, and a fabulous lunch out at a really excellent pub which has won awards for its food. And despite a range of shapes and sizes from tiny to really quite fat we all just tucked into good food and enjoyed it and each other’s company. Perfect.

    I can’t wait to see them all again at Christmas at my mum’s, which almost certainly *will* involve turkey on the day itself and extended family visiting that evening or the next day, but will nevertheless be lovely.

  48. SarahMich, THANK YOU! You reminded me of something.

    Even though I won’t be CELEBRATING* turkey day this year, I am infinitely thankful that my husband is so supportive of my decision never to diet again. When I told him I’d come to that decision, his answer? “THANK GOD!!” :D

    *I’d like to point out that I’ve tried – per requests from my oldest daughter who actually remembers Thanksgiving – to do my own little turkey day celebration, but it’s always gone down the toilet. One year she blew it off to go to Mickey Dees with my best friend. So I gave up.

  49. Lexy and Shinobi-

    Thanks for the words about horse riding ;-) I’m okay with horses on their own (as I grew up in a weird suburban/rural hybrid in Colorado where I go to say hi to the neighbours horses pretty much every day) but riding one has an element of worry. Of course I’ve refused to go before because the person who was very gungho re: riding is a fatophobic ass who likes to refer to all women as b!tches. So in the past my concern has been both handling a large animal and trying not to beat the living snot out of someone.

    That said I’ve been assured that Snickers is a docile horse and that I will get me exercise due to needing multiple kicks to get going. We’ll see how my butt fares.

    And now I’m miffed- I boughts figs on Sunday at Whole Paycheck and this morning more than half of them are fuzzy. I’m going to have to go back tomorrow night and hope they still have them as this is officially the end of fig season.

    And kate- I think all stuffing should have sausage! Ours this year will be cornbread with chiles, cheese and chicken chorizo.

  50. Meowser, since you’re in P-Town I’d recommend going to Hubers if you want a little taste of Turkey dinner without doing the whole TG feast thing. Personally I love the Turkey Pot Pie but boy always gets the Turkey Dinner with mashed potatoes and dressing. (sorry to hijack the thread)

  51. My Thanksgiving will consist of my two sisters and I (aka the Spinster Sisters, since we are all unmarried/unattached), my parents, a priest, and a nun.

    The priest and nun are fun people, seriously.

    My mother will get progressively drunker during the evening while my father waves his plate at me for more food, as if I’m his servant. I suspect I will be lovingly eyeballing the oven so that I might put my head in it at some point.

    However, I am grateful for a four-day weekend; grateful for the Crunchie bars a friend of mine brought back from England for me; that my sister is seeing a therapist that is fat-accepting and pro-HAES; and grateful for a friend who, whether he truly realizes it or not, has a significant part of my heart.

  52. My husband is working this year (as he did last year) but I’ve been invited to have TG with friends who don’t make stinky about diets and food. Then later this weekend I’ll be making salad and dessert for a dinner I’ll be attending with a homeless family. I am not unhappy to be missing the family TG, since almost my entire family is fatphobic (I have a five-year old niece who chastises the other nieces to not eat so much because they will get fat, and they frown at her as they tuck in). Oddly, at the same time, I wish I WAS eating with them, so I could counter their attacks with FA-positive arguments.

    I am thankful for not being homeless, and being able to provide for someone who is; I am thankful for my friends, both online and RL, who accept me as I am; and I am thankful for my new journey in self-acceptance, so initiated and cultivated by especially this blog. Cheers to everyone, regardless of their holiday plans! :)

  53. Phledge, take it from somebody who HAS been homeless: you’ll be seen as a guardian angel for years to come! You’re gonna be so surrounded by warm fuzzies you won’t know what to do with yourself! :D

  54. Thanks for the tip about Huber’s, Lexy. If I hadn’t already bought the catfish I might consider it for Thursday, but maybe the Sunday meal could be there.

    Oh yeah, and I’m thankful I get double time on TG when there’s work to do.

  55. I am definitely thankful for this blog. It has me thinking in a whole new way, over the last several weeks since I’ve found it. I think the entire community here is just so amazing- strong and smart and wonderful.

    Thanksgiving should be fun – my husband and I are going to cook the side dishes tomorrow and prep the turkey, and then load everything up and drive 2 hours to my grandma’s assisted living condo and finish the job.

    My dad had WLS a while back- maybe a year and a half ago? Ever since I’ve been reading up on WLS I’ve been really worried about his health. Also, I know my mom and grandmother are annoyed with him because he’s put some weight back on. Which makes me uncomfortable- but I don’t feel right about talking about the horrors/ineffectiveness of WLS in front of my dad… it just seems… harsh, since he’s already gone and done it. Sigh. Poor dad.

    I am also thankful for my brand new Lane Bryant Fit Right jeans that make my ass look fierce! And are comfy. And were refreshingly free of the normal jeans-buying bullshit. (another tip picked up from the fatosphere, thank you!)

  56. Dudes. I am freakin’.

    First Thanksgiving without my mom and where will Thanksgiving dinner be? Aunt Harpy’s house. Have I mentioned I’ve definitely gained some weight since they saw me last? This is going to be such FUN!!!

    (Whups. Sorry if I got sarcasm on anyone.)

  57. Thorn- I wanted to say that I just finished reading your three guest entries from a few months ago and I am so very sorry. (inadequate, but heartfelt…)

    Ugh. I’m sorry you’ll be spending the holiday with those toxic people.

  58. Godless Heathen and Thorn, I’m sorry you are both going to be dealing with sucky Thanksgiving situations.

  59. Thorn,
    I’m sorry too. I hope you have some non jerky family or friends who can support you through the holidays.

  60. I’m quite lucky in that my own family doesn’t make weight-loss comments of any kind. Five of the six of us are overweight, and the one who isn’t fat has been overweight before, so he knows the feeling. Besides, my family loves good food way too much to worry about calories.

    My husband’s family, on the other hand… My sister-in-law engages in competitive dieting at work, and she’s always talking about WW points and who has lost the most weight at work, etc… And I constantly hear the “Oh, I really shouldn’t have this piece of pie…” or “I’m so bad!” from his aunts and cousins.

    But, as a vegetarian, the part of Thanksgiving I most dread is both of our families’ glorification of a dead animal carcass. Probably most here aren’t vegetarian, and so won’t fully understand my disgust at seeing this. It’s one thing to see a casserole that has meat mixed in it so that it’s virtually indistinguishable from the animal it once was; it’s quite another to see the roasted and charred carcass of an animal in its original form.

    It’s enough to make me literally lose my appetite.

    I splurged this year on a big Tofurkey with all the vegan fixin’s, but we’ll probably end up taking it home as leftovers. Both of our families have a morbid fear of anything “new-agey” and very few will even try the faux turkey roast we bring every year.

  61. In our family, the other kids aren’t allowed to eat such and such “bad” thing until they’ve had a certain amount of some other “good” thing, which is just so hard to watch. And someone, usually a grandparent, inevitably has something to say about my kids’ food choices, along the same lines. I’m thinking of starting out with a big piece of pie myself, so I can disabuse them of the notion that it’s okay to comment, before they even think of doing it to the kids.

    To be thankful for? My recent victory (which I’ve been working on for some time) over body dysmorphic disorder. This will be the first time I will have revealed the body part in question to the family, as they haven’t seen me in a while. They probably won’t even notice, but for me it’s a very good feeling just to feel comfortable doing it.

  62. Jeez. I feel almost bad.

    I hate to say it so bluntly, but all the judgmental members of my family are either dead or have finally fucked off to parts unknown. The only other one has now had the experience of putting on weight, herself, and has stopped her pestering for the most part — certainly on holidays.

    So nobody in my family says anything about what I eat, or how much, though my husband might rib me if I go back for THIRDS of my sister’s bread pudding (twice a year, people, is not often enough). I just give him the finger and we laugh about it. They don’t say anything about how I look, except to tell me I look beautiful or if I have spinach in my teeth.

    And I’m thankful for that. I’m thankful I have a family that has, at last, realized that the love we have for each other really is at the heart of everything. I’m even thankful in a way for the recent shitty times that winnowed out the family-that-wasn’t, that fractured us into two groups that no longer really speak to one another.

    But the holidays are still hard. I’m still working on eating what I want to eat, when I want to eat it, and not just eating “naughty” food as a “mistake” I have to make up for. The opportunity to binge, guilt-free, all day is one that can make me feel so guilty the next day that I wind up losing control and feeling horrible for a week.

    They are hard because after three months spent trying various antidepressants, two of which put weight on me like I don’t know what, I have gained four dress sizes, FOUR. And I was only barely okay with where I was.

    Now I have almost no pretty clothes that fit me and make me feel good about myself, because I’m still in too much pain to be able to go shopping yet. So it’s hard because I want, more than anything, to be beautiful on the holidays. And I feel like I’m fucking that up this year. Another year where I’ll look at the pictures of myself and flinch, so I’ll never look at them again.

    It hurts a lot, and I don’t know what to do. I can’t accept it. At best, I’m able to ignore myself as long as I don’t have to look at anything but my face in a mirror, and as long as I’m not asked to look at photographs.

    How stupid is that, to have a family that loves me and does not give a fuck what I do with myself, and yet I’m the one tormenting myself?

    Sigh.

    I’m thankful for my family and my friends, even if I appear to be my own worst enemy, and I’ll be sending lots of extra love toward the people who won’t be in such loving places come Thanksgiving Day. I really wish I could share that bread pudding with y’all. Holy god, it’s delicious enough to make you cry.

  63. I will be having two thanksgiving dinners on the same day, and damned proud of it too. First, we spend the afternoon at my Aunt and Uncle’s and all my right-Wing, fox news watching, conservative, but I adore them anyway, family (Who adore me and my partner who are Pinko, liberal, feminist, commies- My mom got me a democratic donkey on her last trip to DC- and she listens to Rush every day)
    Then, to shed the tension of having bitten back many, many rebuttals to remarks about those damn illegals and Hillary the bitch, I go to my family by choices house, where they have their annual “come celebrate with family- if you don’t have any, we will find you some” bash. A little wine, good conversation, and Turkey done in the smoker, and life will be fine.

    I wouldn’t miss either celebration for the world! And even if there is diet talk, it has never been directed at others, only themselves- because we are our own worst enemies.

    OK, I think I am starting to notice the lack of sleep from pulling an all nighter to get a case presentation done in time for a morning class (only to find out the computer was non-functioning, and that lovely powerpoint went to waste. I had to wing it :) )

  64. Oh and Phledge- as someone who was once homeless with children, and had concerned people she barely knew pull off miracles to get me back on my feet- bless you.

    And next time I am in Vegas (I was just there in June) I will let you know :)

  65. Linda, I admit I do that. Not in terms of good or bad, but in acknowledgment of my children’s refusal to eat veggies (which they will eat, just grudgingly). Our rule is “Colorful before plain”, which means they need to have something green or red or orange or another color besides meat, potatoes and stuffing on their plates. I try to teach them about nutrition- especially my older son who has gastrointestinal issues, and I am learning to do it in a non-judgmental way. But I don’t limit amount, and I don’t put rules on type. Just eat something colorful first. :)

    Of course, during Thanksgiving, pie counts. We have always had a family motto of “Life is short, eat dessert first”

  66. Thorn, do you feel that you really have to go to Thanksgiving with Aunt Harpy? Because really, if I were you I’d just skip it altogether and arrange to have a nice separate celebration with my sister or something (your sister sounded cool). You don’t owe your aunt anything. Why put yourself through that misery? I know that a lot of us feel that we *have* to do certain family-related things, but the truth is that most of the time, we *DON’T*. It’s a choice. It’s very freeing to make the choice to not join in. It makes the times we do join in more enjoyable because it’s by choice, not by obligation. It took me a long time to get to this point, so I know how hard it is, but I am much happier now. So’s my family, actually. It’s win-win.

  67. Ok, I’ve been reading this blog for the past few weeks and enjoying all of the articles and comments. I’ve been trying to balance going nuts about my weight/slow metabolism/working out without losing/the balance between eating “healthy”, counting calories, and enjoying life. I’m still stuck in the middle a bit, but this blog has been a refreshing read.

    And then I saw this:

    By the way, speaking of double personalities, has anyone watched any of the national morning shows lately? (I feel another vent coming). Talk about schizo about the holidays… it’s like in one half hour they have some segment on cooking for the holidays and it’s all deep fried turkeys and amazing stuffing dishes (T’giving dinner is one of my favorite meals, so I can practically smell that stuffing) and in the next half hour it’s about weight gain during the holidays and how to watch your calories, blah blah blah.

    This is exactly how I feel when I step into a grocery store check out line and see all of the woman’s mags. The headlines totally clash: “Lose 10 pounds by the New Year” and a giant picture of a chocolate cake. It’s like that on every. single. magazine. It always drives me bonkers.

  68. Rachel, are those Tofurky roasts actually good to eat? I see them in the co-op and at TJ’s and they look good, but I’ve yet to find anyone who has actually tried them.

  69. Art3mis makes a really good point. Just because you share a distant genetic or legal link with someone does not mean you are obligated to like or spend time with them. Especially if they treat you poorly and or are rude to you.

    I love seeing my family, but they have started thanking me for coming home when I do. At first I kind of found this weird, I mean I know I can’t make it to Birthdays but I wouldn’t miss THANKSGIVING. But I also appreciate that they acknowledge that I’m not obligated to see them anymore now that I am an adult with my own life 400 miles away. In a way, that makes it better, because we all know I want to be there.

    And if you don’t want to be somewhere, then by golly, you don’t have to be! Maybe if their rudeness or insensitivity causes you to spend less time with them on holidays they will work on their behavior so that they can see you more often.

  70. We’re having ham! Instead of turkey, yay!

    On the minus side, we’re eating with my bro-in-law’s family this year — his parents are unpleasant. I’m still hoping his dad will be a no-show.

  71. I am infinitely thankful that my husband is so supportive of my decision never to diet again. When I told him I’d come to that decision, his answer? “THANK GOD!!” :D

    Nuckinfgfutz: My partner’s near exact same reaction!

    Well, here in the UK obviously Turkey Day is just another day. I’ve been here for five years now. The first year I really missed Thanksgiving and took the Thursday and Friday off work, but tha tjust made it worse, because everyone else was going about their day AS IF IT WAS A NORMAL DAY!

    I’ve now learned it’s best to just work, and if possible work a lot that day cuz then you forget about it.

    I AM of course doing Thanksgiving-themed lessons with most of my classes on Thursday (I teach English as a Foreign Language), and on Saturday, I am having lots of my Brit friends over to the house for a Thanksgiving Feast – cooking a turkey for the very first time, holy shit I truly don’t know what I’m doing! I don’t have enough chairs, I’ve invited too many people, but it’s going to be a great time.

    I love Thanksgiving, though, so I’m a little sad to be missing it. It’s always been my favorite holiday, I’ve gone back for it a few times but the boyfriend and I are going to Chicago for Christmas in 3 weeks anyway so it’s not worth it.

    In the meantime though I’ll make do with my party, and also keep up my tradition of enjoying the Prete a Manger Christmas sandwich (ingredients: Turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce – http://www.sandwichguide.co.uk/viewreview.php?ID=84) on the day itself.

  72. In awesome Thanksgiving awesomeness, it turns out my flights were booked St. Louis to Chicago instead of Chicago to St. Louis. RAAAH

    I am thankful that I am not the one paying for the flights, or the changes. However, this sucks. *hold music*

  73. art3mis – Thanks for looking out for me and offering permission for me to not go to Aunt Harpy’s. Those words are clunky, but I really am touched. (Just me no talk so gud.)

    The bottom line is, I’ll go to Aunt Harpy’s because I want to spend the day with my sister, and that’s where she’s going. Somehow she’s close to our mom’s family, in a way I never have been, and so it’s important to her to be with them. It is, thankfully, pretty much just dinner – I don’t have to spend the entire day there.

    In fact, the early part of Thanksgiving I’m rather looking forward to, albeit in a “keep the hankies handy” kinda way – my sister and I will be upholding a longstanding family tradition of going to the zoo on Thanksgiving morning. It’ll be fun, because the zoo with a bunch of kids is always fun, but it’ll be sad as well without Mom there.

  74. For the dark humored and elegantly cynical, 2 films for your holiday sanity:

    1) November holidays — “Home for the Holidays.” Holly Hunter, Anne Bancroft, Charles Durning, Robert Downey Jr., Claire Danes, Dermot Mulroney.

    Directed by Jodie Foster — whose pedigree, including IMO sheer genius, includes Yale and being a Scorpio. Hilarious in the most subtle way, and you may also cry (thereby releasing stress hormones).

    Favorite quote from Robert Downey’s character to older sister: “Don’t start with me because you’ll LOSE!!!”

    2) December holidays (especially for those who think “Scrooged” is juvenile, although if you look closely in one scene, Paul Shaffer, David Sanborne, Larry Carlton, and Miles Davis are doing cameos) — “The Ref.” Kevin Spacey, Judy Davis, and Denis Leary in his cigarette-smoking, utterly hostile glory.

    I just basically put them on repeat to help keep sane.

    Happy Holidays, y’all.

  75. Cherielabombe:

    I too live in the UK.

    I AM FROM CHICAGO!

    Freaky? Methinks yes. ;)

    Littlem:

    I absolutely LOVE The Ref. And Dennis Leary? I might be shot for saying this, but he’s one of the few men I’d consider cheating on the Hub for. :-P

  76. Thorn – that makes sense, I’d want to be with my sister too. It’s one of those situations where 51% of you wants to do something and so you go, but that still leaves 49% of you really not happy. (How’s that for clunky? But it’s so often part of my decision-making process!) I’m glad you have something to look forward to with your sister, even if it will be bittersweet.

    Shinobi – good luck with the plane tickets!

    littlem – I might check out “Home For the Holidays”, it sounds like something I’d enjoy.

  77. Littlem,
    I Freaking LOVE the Ref, my cousins showed it to me like 3 thankgivings ago, now we watch it every year. YAY traditions!

    It ended up being easier just to book new flights on southwest, Yay southwest. Boo stupidity.

  78. nuckingfutz: Freakout city! It’s a small world isn’t it??

    Magazine headlines at the holidays: My all-time favorite, seen a few years ago in the UK a week or two before Christmas: “3-DAY CHRISTMAS PANIC DIET!”

    Oh it still makes me laugh.

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  80. I am hosting Thanksgiving for 15 people. Everything I am making is full of flavor and delicious. And I will quickly banish any talk in my home about who has what on their plate.

    Promise!

  81. I am also Canadian and Thanksgiving has come and gone for me…and I come from a very small family that doesn’t really “do” TG anyway. I couldn’t even tell you the last time there was a family TG.

    However, family holiday dinners in general…ever since my hypercritical, perfectionist, racist, sexist, homophobic grandfather passed away (I WILL be totally honest about how I feel!), family gatherings have been very relaxed and easy events…perhaps even a little dull, in a nice, mellow kind of way. Nobody gets stupid-drunk, nobody ever has room for dessert because we put what the eff we want on our plates and eat it. The “perfect” turkey dinner/family event was always about trying to please the grandfather, and none of us really care for it, so now we don’t have to do it. At Christmas, we usually have ribs!

    I read my first size-acceptance book about 20 years ago (it was called Making it Big or something), so my entire adulthood has been peppered with me standing up for myself against so-called “well-meaning” weight-related commentary (even while I secretly struggled for self-acceptance during many of those years). I think I’m very lucky and blessed, in that my mother is now very accepting and supportive of my size-acceptance attitude. She truly believes in the “live and let live” mantra, and just wants me to be happy – not only does she accept me for who I am, she understands that pursuing weight loss is the antithesis to pursuing happiness for me, and she’s made a real effort to understand the issues behind sizism. I think she’s probably had a few discussions with other family members about leaving their sizism at the door when I’m around.,,,not only for my happiness’ sake, but also, she knows that I will stand up fiercly (and loudly) for myself, and doesn’t want strife at family events!

  82. Kate: email me around that time and we’ll set it up. I’m stuck here for Christmas too. :p

    Krista: the coolest thing about the program in which I’m involved this year is that it is one of the few organizations that actually takes homeless *families* (as opposed to the myriad ones that will only accept women and children OR men, but never all of them, and definitely no pets!). AND I’m excited to sit and eat with them, instead of dishing out food in a soup line.

    Happy Thanksgiving, everyone. :)

  83. My parents have lost a whole bunch of weight over the past two years (75 for mom, 115 and counting for dad). My dad’s not bad when I’m home, since that’s mostly for holidays and he allows himself to eat whatever he wants on holidays. It works for him, so whatever. My mom never *says* anything, but I know she watches every bite I put in my mouth.

    Kind of hard to enjoy the holidays with that going on. It’s at the point where I try really hard to go out with friends as much as possible just so I can eat normally, since I can’t do that at my mother’s table. Sigh.

  84. Piling on, here. I’m thankful for my loving family, my health, and my two gorgeous children. I’m not thankful for my Mother in Law’s horrendous cooking and her remarks on weight, as in her own, as in she has to apologize every time she eats or make an excuse for, you know, EATING. GAH. Also (sorry vegans) but her cooking nothing but Vegan just because ONE person in our family is. Hello? Tofurkey? No. Just…No.

    And, then the other extreme is my own mother commenting that I’m running too much and so therefore losing my butt. LOL. Also, eat more. Have pie. You must be falling into that body image hype. You know, that’s a white girl’s disease…

    *sigh*

    You should have seen our wedding. :D

    Happy Turkey (or Tofurkey!) day.

  85. Pam – I wish your daughter luck with her wisdom teeth! I just had mine pulled last Thursday. It has been very, very sore and a slow coming back, but not so bad. Lots of ice packs and then heat packs. And suggest that she pick something very, very soft for her side dish! :*)

    Astrobabe – You will be just fine horseback riding! Enjoy it! They’re quite sturdy and horses that are safe to put strangers on who haven’t ridden before are nothing to worry about. They’re used to taking care of riders who are inexperienced. (I’ve been riding for 13 years now – most of them are big, gentle giants!)

    And now, my Thanksgiving rantings…thankfully, there isn’t much focus on body/diet issues in my family for the holidays. Though we will have both my mom, her sister, and their mom over which is like living through the anti-thanksgiving. All they do is talk about the things they don’t have and how everyone they know has better stuff. I’ve tried to do the “get in the spirit of the holiday!” and they just glare at me. My mom used to try to cut off my eating. Nonchalantly moving the serving dishes away from me at the table or batting my hand away like I’m 5 and going “That’s enough.” Which thoroughly pisses me off, especially given that I’m usually not even going for more of the unhealthy stuff even.

    But what I’m thankful for, that I do have my family to spend the holiday with, however ungreatful they may be sometimes. I’m thankful for my star of a boyfriend who looks me in the eyes everyday and tells me that I’m the most gorgeous thing on earth – and sincerely believes it. And I’m thankful for happening to finding this blog, this community, at a usually bad time of year!

  86. Thanksgiving will be me and my menfolk and the TV and a stack of classic DVDs. Food will probably be a bunch of wine and pasta with a little bit of turkey in it, plus pies. Oh, and I may make a batch of stuffing just for eating at 11PM, which is when it tastes best.

    I’m thankful that I can enjoy everything listed above, and that I’ve really put my foot down about how spending holidays with my chosen family is just as important as spending them with my biological one. This way, no matter whose turn is up in the rotation (and how surreal I expect it to get), at least I’m at peace with the choice.

  87. OMFG, yes, stuffing is tastier in the middle of the night. Once upon a time I wouldn’t dream of making it if my husband didn’t like it but then I grew some ovaries and, lo, there will be phat stuffing tomorrow. :D

  88. People often ask me why I despise the holidays. It isn’t so much the holiday frenzy crap and obnoxious family members as it is the requirement that people focus on food.

    If I go to a family event, inevitably, I will hear “did you get enough” followed by “oh honey, don’t eat so much.” (former comes from dad, latter comes from mom.)

    If I’m stuck with having to be around my brother’s in-laws, I’ll get reams of unsolicited diet advice “You should eat this and this and not so much of this and this.” Otherwise I’ll never find a husband (I can’t tell you how wrong that is on so many levels.)

    I’m already terribly self-conscious about eating in front of people I don’t trust so the idea of eating a gigantic meal (bigger than I’d ever normally eat) is almost terrifying. So that’s why this year I’m going to a friend’s house where we will make what we want and eat what we want with no pressures or judgments. She can have her green bean casserole, mashed potatoes and apple pie and I can have my roasted squash, stuffing hot out of the bird’s ass and pumpkin pie.

    I’m beginning to think this may be how I celebrate holidays from now on. I love turkey and stuffing and I’d like to actually eat it and ENJOY IT!

    And honestly, I’m so thankful I’ve finally reached a point in my life and maturity where I can understand those triggers and avoid them.

  89. PS to Liz: awesome story above. I was the woman who said to the thin women, ‘if you are fat then what am I?’ And seriously, family would be pulling away a bloody stump if they slapped my hand away from food…

  90. Man, I’m so happy I haven’t spent Thanksgiving with family for the last six years. It’s so much better not having to worry about any of this stuff! I do miss seeing my family more often, but it’s much easier to do it on my own terms.

    I’m thankful that I have excellent friends here in Chicagoland who are hosting Thanksgiving this year, and I’m grateful that my crazy digestive system has calmed down enough this week that I can (knock wood) eat the meal itself.

  91. PS to Phledge: Haha on the bloody stump comment…maybe I’ll mention that to my mother instead of my usual “Exxccuuuse me??”

    And I chorus the notion of late night stuffing …stuffing. :*)

  92. Home for the Holidays is seriously my favorite movie.

    I’m typing this in the same room in my house that my parents are sleeping in and I’m going to have to stop if either one of them gets off of the bed and tries to read over my shoulder (50% chance this will happen). Hopefully, I’ll have time to hit “submit comment.”
    I love my parents, and I’m so grateful that they are here to spend time with their grandlittleone. They adore said child, and the feeling is mutual. I’m glad that there are other adults around, and they are surprisingly good grandparents, all things considered.
    I’ll be cooking dinner and focusing on breathing deeply. I’ll be missing cigarettes although it’s been many, many years since I had one. I might, or might not, taste the food I’m putting in my mouth.
    My dad is the one most likely to make obnoxious food-related comments, but he also is the person I know who seriously enjoys food

  93. Well, this is unexpected — my DAD actually made the first awkward weight-related comment! Highly unusual. It’s my fault for being honest when my mom asked why I need new bras already (we were planning a trip to the Town Shop). My dad, who was probably already flustered by talk of bras, was like “well, that’s good, that’s good that you lost weight.” I rolled my eyes and said “I got off a medication that made me gain weight. It’s not like I had some kind of… attack of virtue.” And then my mom was like “anyway it’s not about virtue!” (Which of course was my point but maybe the sarcasm didn’t come through.) Which was AWESOME. My mom doesn’t know I blog here, because if I tell her she’ll check the site even more compulsively than I do, but she knows about the movement and apparently she’s internalizing the message.

    Then I gave my mom some tips for doing tricep extensions with hand weights. And I might teach my dad some yoga that’ll be good for his back. (Kate, I was thinking plank because it’s good for abs and child’s pose, whaddya think?) And right now my mom is reading an article about stem cells out to me at the table. So things are okay so far, besides my dad atypically putting his foot in his mouth!

  94. Nonchalantly moving the serving dishes away from me at the table

    Omg, LuckyLiz, my mom used to do that too! That’s sort of what I meant about silent disapproval sometimes being worse than the overt kind… she would do stuff like that, and talk about me behind my back, and part of me was just like “OUT WITH IT, WOMAN.” I’d almost rather have snarky comments than be treated like a child who can’t control herself. And of course, if I was really eating everything I could see or reach at the time, it’s only because I’d been on a diet since I was five or six.

  95. y dad, who was probably already flustered by talk of bras, was like “well, that’s good, that’s good that you lost weight.”

    LOL, your poor Dad. If he’s like a lot of men I know he probably isn’t interested in your weight fluctuations but said that to distract you two from bra talk and get kudos (because he was unfortunately trained that weight loss noticing = brownie points). Anyway, the picture of the scene made me laugh out loud.

  96. I think some of the anxiety I bring on myself, if I’m honest. I always assume people are judging. But really it’s just my Mom. My extended family loves me the way that I am and most of them are carrying some extra weight so I doubt they’d say much anyway. But this year I am especially nervous because 2 weeks ago my step mother (i love her and can’t believe she did this) had Lap Band surgery. So I can’t weight to hear all about how she has already lost weight and only wants one tiny serving of turkey. This blows.

  97. I’m spending time with my side of the family, so I don’t expect diet comments other than the very general. I’m thankful for that.

    I’m a little worried about my mother’s ‘new’ portion-control habit. I wish I could explain to her that it’s exactly the same as dieting, and that even though she’s lost weight, caloric restriction is also nutrient restriction. She keeps saying things like, “well, I only WANT that much food!” and “fish tastes better with just lemon juice, not tartar sauce!” and “I only need a bite or two of this ice cream, since it’s so rich!”

    All of that is bullsh!t. I’ve known her for, oh, twenty-five years, and this is just another disguise for a diet. Eating more vegetables, good. Eating only steamed veggies with no butter and only a trace of salt and pepper for a meal, BAD.

  98. Pingback: Thanksgiving for Fatties « Femmeknitzi

  99. In comparison to some of you, I am very lucky when it comes to the family thing. My family has never made any comments about my weight or done anything subversive about it either, however….

    I used to weight about 45lbs now, and when I lost weight I was pelted with compliments about my weight loss and how I should “keep up the good work”, and the whole thing made me uncomfortable. In the first place, the reason I was losing weight was because I was fluctuating between disordered eating behavior and a full-blown eating disorder, and so these compliments were just concrete evidence that they had always known how fat I was and chose to ignore it.

    I ended up getting myself to 190 and staying there if I kept up my disordered eating, but now I’ve gained back 10-15 lbs and the compliments have stopped. I’m glad, because I don’t like weight-related compliements, but it also makes it painfully obvious that they only think I look great when I’m losing myself.

  100. Wow. All these stories are making me thankful for my family. Unfortunately, I’m in Canada and can’t fly back to the US to spend Thanksgiving with them this year. Like many people, they can be weight-obsessed. But, they put that aside on holidays. Nobody gets criticized for eating a lot on Thanksgiving. Everyone cooks their speciality. The dieters go off their diets. I mean, it’s a feast holiday. You’re supposed to eat a lot. What kind of world do we live in where people can’t allow themselves and others to eat immoderately once a year? I mean, WTF?

  101. I’m literally an outcast to the SIL who has the big holiday dinners, so I no longer have to worry about them. These days, it’s me and my cats.

  102. I just heard the best song on the radio — “Big Fat Mama” by Roy Milton from 1947. There’s a one minute sample on amazon at:

    Some of the lyrics include: “I wanna big fat Mama (yeah yeah) to tell my troubles to … I wanna big fat Mama who knows what to do … cool in the spring, warm in the fall, hot in the winter and that’s not all!”

    It put me in a really good mood :-)

  103. I have been sneaking in shapely prose reading time while at my parents’ house. Sneaking, and I don’t know why. There is some degree of shame that seems like it will never go away…I used to be ashamed of being fat, and now I am ashamed of not being ashamed…or something.

    I am thankful for Shapely Prose, and all of the great discussions that happen here. I am thankful that I no longer think I am carrying “extra weight”. I am thankful that I bought myself beautiful clothes that I feel awesome in.

    Thanks to all of you!

  104. Oh, and I totally forgot to tell you, FJ, that I am so using the phrase “mitigated horror” for the rest of my days. It’s so much healthier than an exceptional heaping of righteous indignation.

  105. I just want to survive Thanksgiving this year. Between having a really nasty cold (following a REALLY SUPER nasty flu), and the fact that this is the first Thanksgiving without my beloved step-dad I’m just not up for celebrating much.

    Of course I’ll have to put up with much ado about my autistic son, who doesn’t behave the way my husband’s uncle and aunt believe he should because, well, he’s autistic and doesn’t behave the way anyone thinks he should except those of us who understand him and his difficulties. Actually our festivities started today with lunch out with my mom, which was hard because like I said, no step-dad. He just died back in March so it’s hard.

    I just kinda want to crawl back in bed and forget the whole thing, but my husband is really looking forward to this, so we’ll go, I’ll make nice and then run away to the movie theater for a nice few hours of time off.

    I am however thankful that I have my mom, and the rest of my family. I am also thankful one of my many aunts came to stay with mom over the weekend, because I know that will help her through this holiday. Oh and pie…if I can taste it that is.

  106. Tink, I have an autistic daughter, so I TOTALLY know what you mean. And it’s MY husband’s family that doesn’t get it either – my family are (or were, I should say, since we don’t even live on the same continent any more) wonderful with her. But since they’ve only really known her since she was 8 (she’ll be 13 in Jan), they just don’t know how to deal.

    And my condolences on the loss of your step-dad. I’ve never had to go through losing someone quite THAT close to me, but I can imagine what it must feel like. Cyber hugs coming your way.

  107. I am going to have the best Thanksgiving of my life.

    I’m not with my family. I’m staying with my roommate and his partners, both of whom are friends of mine, for Thanksgiving break, and tomorrow we’re going to a Thai restaurant and then we’re going shopping at an undisclosed location this weekend.

    BEST. THANKSGIVING WEEKEND. EVER.

    Yay for creating your own family instead of tolerating a toxic biological one. <3

  108. I have no idea why, but in college those of us who stayed at school started a tradition of having a Thanksgiving picnic in a graveyard, and a couple of years ago a bunch of us got together in Oakland and did that. The rest of the day was hot tub, Firefly DVDs, and cheese plates. Super awesome–I recommend that kind of Thanksgiving to everyone.

    I was invited to an Americans-In-New-Zealand Thanksgiving potluck this time around (I went to one last year and had to explain to the horrified Kiwis that pumpkin is a really good thing to put in a pie, honest!) but didn’t get it together to go, which is fine with me as I am not super big on Thanksgiving or Thanksgiving dinner.

    I am not super big into the holidays, full stop, I guess, and I haven’t had a big family Thanksgiving of Christmas since I was eensy beensy. That actually works out just fine for me, as I am a huge fan of seeing the fam at non-culturally-mandated times and spending The Holidays with friends instead. I am sad not to get to see my mom this holiday season, but since we’re going to meet each other in Hawaii in June, I’m thinking I’ll make a go of it this year and have a nice low-key beachy Christmas with friends–so I have a lot to be thankful for, all told, even if I’m not having stuffing today (which I don’t even really like that much, because stuffing is not pasta and I only love pasta).

  109. Have a happy portioned controlled Thanksgiving

    God, people really feel the need to flaunt their self-control at the holidays. Whether it’s fretting over what they can offer the neighborhood kids for Hallowe’en besides candy, or talking about trying to create a healthy Thanksgiving dinner, or being unable to wish people a happy holiday without telling them not to eat too much, they’re really just trying to broadcast far and wide that restriction is constantly on their minds. No gluttons, them! You, maybe, but not them! I feel the same way about people who are vocal about how materialistic it is to get gifts on the holidays. I mean, it’s meant to be a show of conscientiousness and selflessness, but it really just comes off as being a big fucking wet blanket.

  110. have no idea why, but in college those of us who stayed at school started a tradition of having a Thanksgiving picnic in a graveyard…

    That is so wonderfully Gloomcookie ! I am utterly charmed and wish I could do the same.

  111. Thank you _so_ much for this blog. I’m struggling right now with body image issues and getting myself back into shape, and it’s a huge help.

    I’m delurking because, lordy, five days with a mom with serious issues with fat who’s just broken up with her boyfriend _and_ who’s quitting smoking? Ugh. Apparently, I eat wayyyy more than I ever should (compared with her meal and a half a day). I have an eating disorder based on the fact that I opened a bag of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups and ate one (that’s not a disorder, that’s restraint right there). My prehypertension which I’m worried about but doing stuff for (like cutting out the caffeine and working out more) means I’m 2 seconds away from death. Which is a surprise to me, since it’s not even full-on high blood pressure and I’m only 26. Doesn’t that take a bit longer? The doctors are only concerned because I want to be on the Nuvaring. Oh, and I need to keep a food journal to see what I eat for reals, even though all my friends insist that I’m correct about my not eating all that badly and, you know, I don’t want to go down that particular scary path. It doesn’t even seem to matter that, just for work, I do a hell of a lot of hard, manual physical labor or that my weight issues are related to hormonal problems and depression, both of which I’m working on right now. Oh, no. I’m out of control, here, people! I’m going to eat everything in the whole world soon! Sigh. I wish she wouldn’t have done this the night before I have to get my blood pressure checked again.

    Thanks for letting me post here. It’s such a help getting this out in to the world. I hope everyone’s had a great weekend and has plenty of leftovers! Yummmm, Thanksgiving leftovers…..

  112. Just got back from trip to visit family in PHX. Possibly the weirdest T-giving ever, food-wise. Two people (out of 20) got up for second helpings. 2. That is weird to me. I’ve never been someplace where people didn’t have a little more of this or a little more of that, or even a whole second plate of everything. And then 2 hours later everyone had pie and cheesecake. Well, I didn’t but not because of some misguided sense of virtue. Because I don’t like pie.

    I feel like fat or food was the unspoken topic(s).

    My sister ranted on and on about how she dislikes her patients (she’s a social worker supporting elderly) who have problems and take medication but don’t change their behavior. Drunkly ranting about this,and pointedly throwing glances over her shoulder at me. She also would brag to anyone who listened about how she joined some workout bootcamp in an effort to lose the 15lbs she put on over the summer.

    I’m reading The Omnivore’s Dilemma and I got inquiring looks and stilted conversation — is that a diet book is basically what everyone wanted to know. Um, no. Sorry to disappoint.

    As much as I tried to behave normally (normal for me, not societally normal), I found myself constantly hungry. I was avoiding eating and taking smaller portions even of crudite in an effort to fly under the radar.

    I’m mad at myself now. Beating myself up. I need to go make myself a sandwich (eek, carbs) and take a deep breath.

  113. I was supposed to say something nice, too.

    I am thankful that it snowed here. Our ski basin desperately needs it!

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