The Irrational Mind

Surviving Thanksgiving With Eating Disorders

Thanksgiving is a rare holiday. Our consumerist culture has yet to determine a way to market and capitalize on a celebration of thanks (except to overrun the day with Black Friday madness), so we are left to focus on family…and food.

Despite the warmth and cheer, spending an entire day around an abundance of food can be triggering for people with eating disorders of all types. Those eating too little will be hounded by inquisitive family, or perhaps congratulated on their “willpower” in the form of anorexia, despite people’s good intentions. Those eating too much will receive “joking” comments about the binge, leading to more rebellious eating (or self-punishment eating) in response.

What can you do to minimize the mental health impact the day has on you?

A few bloggers have provided good insight into this topic already:

The Non-Dieter’s Holiday Survival Guide

Avoiding Holiday Shame

Horrible Holiday Diet Tips

Do You Need To Eat That?

I would like to add my own thoughts as well:

  • Remember that your body is your own, your choices are your own, and your mind is your own.
  • Be kind to yourself. You are the only you that you can ever experience.
  • Be honest with your family if they are overstepping your boundaries. How can they know if you don’t tell them?
  • Diet talk is not all about you. No one dislikes anything more than being preached to about the newest diet…or non-diet. Let others make their own choices as well.
  • Enjoy the day. Enjoy your family if you cannot enjoy the food. Enjoy the food if you cannot enjoy your family (ha).
  • Make time and space for yourself to breathe. Increased anxiety can lead to emotional eating.

Don’t let your eating disorders and other mental health issues take over your holidays. Good luck and Happy Thanksgiving!

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