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Lighten Up! Thanksgiving

Updated: Jan 3, 2020

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Coach MK Fleming Fitness Protection Program Running Life Podcast Lighten Up

Diet Culture brings fear and dysfunction to the house long before our families show up. In this series, a therapist and an elementary school nutritionist will offer tips and tools to enlighten us, so we can, "Lighten Up" without *actually* setting things on fire. We can't make the world safer, but we can #reclaimourtime when it's time to celebrate with food...and family.

The MOST SHAMEFUL holiday America has on tap is right around the corner! Nothing brings out guilt and shame more than a holiday designed to force you to perform GRATITUDE (unless you are a member of the First Nations), and enforcing boundaries, expressing discomfort, or just saying, 'no thank you' can be perceived as ungrateful. 

You’re going to see a whole lot of memes coming your way and will probably feel a whole lot of things. Memes that make light of binge eating, reminding us not to be gluttons but to DEFINITELY BE GRATEFUL amidst photos of families dropping off donations and plating meals in soup kitchens. There’s a whole lot of “should-ing” going on this month- I SHOULD be grateful, I SHOULD feel better, I SHOULD appreciate all this food I want to eat instead of feeling ashamed, I SHOULD be grateful for family members that make me feel like crap some people have NO family….etc etc.

Let me be clear: it's shaming to live in the 'should'. If you are having a hard time finding gratitude and feel guilty, that is VALID. If your list is long and feel guilty, that is valid, too. “Be GRATEFUL!” is frequently thrown around like a grenade, designed to end a conversation where a person is expressing discomfort. It’s a sure way to shut a conversation down and increase that discomfort. YAY TWO-FER!

I have no doubt the people around you are doing the best they can even with limited tools, and I also have no doubt that they can’t see the harm they are causing. Many of us will be told to lighten up when we express our discomfort, and I just CAN’T do that you guys! So I called in reinforcements.

Dalia Kinsey is The School Nutrition Dietitian utilizing a background in public health and school nutrition in preventative health care.  Jummy Olawale is a Gottman Method Therapist; she helps couples rebuild healthy, shame-free relationships by re-framing difficult conversations. I’m hoping that today’s roundtable discussion can help us recognize the messages we are REALLY sending our kids so we can lead the way in helping them develop healthy relationships with food...and with us.


MK Fleming is the founder of Fitness Protection, LLC and Sarah Axelrod leads Fitness Protection's #CoachedandLoved Community. Try our accessible, affordable monthly running plans at!

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