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Eating Disorder Recovery During The Holidays

The idea that a holiday meal could pass without mention of weight, food, or body image, is highly ideal. Unfortunately, we live in a world that is riddled with shame regarding food and body. We’re told to feel ashamed of what we eat and ashamed of how we look, which contributes to a toxic and unhealthy relationship to the self. Millions of us suffer incredible traumas regarding food and body. Our bodies may be used, abused, neglected, or criticized. Food might have been a source of conversation, a source of coming together, a source of comfort, or a source of suffocating silence in our family household. We might turn to food to cope with deep pain or we might turn to hurting our body to cope with deep pain. In some cases, we turn to the harmful addiction of eating disorder behavior and combine both food and body into one problematic attempt to help us find relief from trauma.

Holiday feasts, parties, and celebrations can be especially difficult for those of us who are fighting the battle of living in harmony with an eating disorder. Holidays are stressful for all kinds of people living with all kinds of behavioral addictions. However, choosing not to pick up an alcoholic beverage or a mind altering drug is different from choosing not to pick up food, or choosing to eat more food than is healthy. Food is a necessary part of our daily lives whereas drugs and alcohol are not. Eating is a behavior we have to participate in daily, whereas drugs and alcohol are not. The chance of overhearing conversation at the holiday table surrounding drugs, drinking, poor choices, shame, and a hangover the next day are far less likely. More likely are conversations about food, too much eating, exercise to cope with eating, feeling “fat”, having to go on a crash diet, and shame for eating the way we are eating even though it is a holiday. For someone who has gone through a tremendous amount of struggle to strike balance in their relationship with food and body, the constant buzz of shame-fueled conversation can be extremely stressful.

Remember to stick to your typical dietary routine and not fall for the idea of waiting all day to eat only to indulge and binge at the holiday meal table. Get your daily exercise in, but do not overcompensate for what you anticipate eating or not eating. Most importantly, stay in touch with your support system. Define for yourself what your limits are in conversation and how you are willing to steer talk in a different direction when it relies too heavily on food and body. Always keep in mind that when your recovery is at stake, excusing yourself from the table is never a shameful choice. You are brave, bold, and courageous taking your recovery one day at a time.

 Make the decision today to enter trauma recovery and find healing. Call The Guest House Ocala to learn more about our residential care programs for trauma, addictions, and related mental health issues: 855-483-7800