Everyone looks forward to the holidays, right? Everyone gets to sit around on Thanksgiving and stuff their faces until they struggle to eat that second slice of pumpkin pie. And who doesn’t look forward to the array of cookies and other sweet treats the holidays bring? It’s a well-known fact that the holidays are an acceptable time to cheat on your diet. Isn’t that what New Year's resolutions are for anyway?
Unfortunately, the holidays can be a time of stress and dread for individuals living with a mental health condition. For those living with an eating disorder, in particular, the holidays can be an extremely difficult time.
In a society where it’s highly encouraged to fill plates and overindulge for days or even weeks, how does this affect someone trying to cope with an eating disorder? What pressure do we unknowingly assign when a large chunk of the holidays as adults is based around eating? Just think for a moment how isolating the holidays could be for you. You’re already struggling with eating issues by yourself. Now to factor in family members, who may or may not know what’s going on, sitting around a table, watching and expecting you to indulge in all of side dishes and sweets brought to holiday dinner—this potentially is a recipe for disaster.
For those who may have an eating disorder, here are some tips to help navigate you through the holidays*.
- Try to plan ahead and anticipate any difficulties you may face during the holiday season
- Have the numbers of your support systems on standby, just in case
- As hard as it may be, try not to count calories or weigh yourself during the holiday season
- Make a list of things you can do by yourself or with others that can preoccupy you before or after a meal. This list can also be used if those around you for the holidays aren’t understanding of what’s happening
- Consider visiting the Counseling and Psychological Center
*Find more information out at Mirror Mirror Eating Disorder Help