The holidays are a wonderful time of year, but I understand that for some of us it is also filled with anxiety. Most of our holidays revolve around dinners and even certain foods, for example Thanksgiving = turkey, Birthdays = cake, etc, and the gathering of social events can lead to anxieties.
As we say, eating disorders are not about the food, it’s about how you are feeling, what your thoughts are, and how are you dealing with it.
Many times I have hidden behind the buffet table at parties because of my social anxiety. But this only led to feeling guilty for eating and in turn I hated myself. For years I lived my life in this cycle.
Here are three tips to surviving the holidays:
1. Make a meal plan that includes foods you enjoy and be flexible.
It is recommended to work with a registered dietician. When I made the decision to go into an eating disorder treatment program, I worked closely with a registered dietician and counselor. We developed a meal plan that was flexible and worked for me!
That’s the key to surviving the holidays: Be Flexible. Be flexible with your food plan and be kind to yourself. YOU ARE NOT WHAT YOU EAT. Food does not define you.
2. Have an accountability partner.
Someone you can call when you are feeling anxious. Whether we are surrounded by people or sitting at home, it is likely that we all experience loneliness in our disorder. Having someone to talk to that understands can make a big difference because often at these holiday gatherings we are surrounded with people that “just don’t get it.”
If you are feeling overwhelmed, acknowledge it and you have the right to make the decision to stay in the situation or leave the situation that is causing you to feel overwhelmed. Acknowledge your feelings and move forward. You have every right to keep you and your feelings safe.
A final note, Enjoy your food, enjoy your life!
Eating Disorder Survivor