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How I’m using the holidays to repair my relationship with food

If you’re recovering or currently struggling with an eating disorder and you’re worried for these upcoming months, you aren’t alone.

January 11, 2022

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For many people, the holidays are a time for indulgence. However for some, this time of year comes with more stress and negativity. This year, I’m trying to stay on top of my nutrition and health goals. If you’re recovering or currently struggling with an eating disorder and you’re worried for these upcoming months, you aren’t alone. With the help of professionals, and many hours spent writing in my journal, I’ve developed a list of “rules” I’m going to follow this holiday season.

1. Plan ahead
Having a plan is one of the most crucial aspects for the holidays. Whether that’s talking to a therapist or a trusted love one to create a plan and prepare for potential stresses. If attending a gathering find out what food, and who is going to be in attendance. This will better help you prepare for an unwanted stress by developing a plan to not fall back into disordered behavior.

2. Keep in touch with a support system
While having a therapist to rely on is always helpful, you can also rely on family members, friends, or other individuals to assist you through the holiday season. Like holding you accountable for a meal plan, help you change the subject when dieting or eating comes up, or even taking short brakes from the celebration together. These people are truly invaluable and help this challenging time a lot easier.

3. Make new traditions
The holidays really should not be all about the food. Take some time to create new traditions that you find meaningful. These distractions from food, even for a short period of time, can ease the process by taking the focus away from the meal. Remember what’s really important to you this holiday season.

4. Keep it simple
If you still want to eat healthier, while indulging a little at the same time you can  organize your plate in a way that allows you to do both. Fill a portion of your plate with protein, a portion of your plate with veggies, and a portion of some things you actually want. Keeping food uncomplicated and organized relieves major stressors, and allows you to better enjoy the
holidays.
5. Gather the tools you need to cope after the holidays
Although there are many ways to deal with stress, with the overload of emotions the holidays can bring upon, remembering them can be hard when you’re feeling overwhelmed. Find what works best for you! For me it’s journaling or taking a walk but stress relievers can also be deep breathing, or listening to music. Again, there are many more and exploring what helps
you the most should be a top priority.

6. Show yourself kindness
The holidays can bring up many difficult emotions for people, so give yourself the time and kindness you need to figure this out, while also trying to recover from disordered eating.

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