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Friday, December 2, 2016

Eating Disorders and the Holidays

For those who have struggled with years of disordered eating, the holidays can be quite the challenge. With food front and center at almost every celebration, the thought of attending a family or social gathering can cause anxiety, stress, and even the impulse to return to former patterns of restriction, purging, or overeating.

Luckily, a little preparation can help you to make healthful choices and hopefully enjoy the season ahead. Start with these tips adopted from the National Eating Disorder Association:

  1. Stick to a regular and moderate eating pattern. Avoid skipping meals to make up for what you recently ate or are about to eat.
  2. Focus on the size of your heart, not your hips. Remind yourself that the holiday season is a time to reflect, enjoy loved ones, give back, and be grateful for the many blessings in your life.
  3. Work with your healthcare team to develop a game plan. Together you can predict, prepare for, and make a plan to get through any uncomfortable situations or self-destructive behaviors.
  4. Lean on your support network. Line up a few loved ones who will be able to provide extra support. And don’t hesitate to call if you’re struggling with negative thoughts, difficult emotions, or addictive behaviors.
  5. Designate a loved one to be your “reality check.” He or she can help you fix a plate at a holiday gathering or provide objective feedback on the food portion sizes you make for yourself.
  6. Take a holiday from self-imposed criticism and rigidity. Remind yourself that it’s okay to be a bit more flexible during the holidays when it comes to what and how much you eat.
  7. Don’t overbook yourself. Cutting down on unnecessary events and obligations will help you avoid over-stressing or turning to eating-disordered behaviors or other unhelpful coping strategies. Leave time for relaxation, contemplation, reflection, spiritual renewal, simple service, and enjoying the small yet important things in life.
Seeking Support at Hope Academy
At Hope by the Sea’s Hope Academy program, we specialize in treating co-occurring eating disorders
and addiction. To learn more, call 866-930-4673.
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