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Mindful conversation about food during the holidays is not something families should practice if a loved one is recovering from an eating disorder. Language has an impact on the way we see ourselves, see our food, and see our worth. How we discuss food and body influences us more deeply than we may realize. Mindful conversation about food helps eliminate the problematic narratives we have been given our entire lifetime about eating during the holidays. Every part of the holiday celebration is supposed to be full of cheer, joy, and gratitude. Food is awesome and there is no need to continue bringing stress to that area of the holidays.

Avoid labeling food as good or bad

If there is not one other suggestion to take about mindful conversation regarding food, this may be the most important one to take. We have a tendency to label food as good and bad, causing some foods to come with feelings of guilt or shame. It’s just food. Food doesn’t have to have a moral compass. Embrace all food as equal and eat in a way that works for you. If that means more pie than green bean casserole, go for it. Don’t label your experience, or you and your behaviors as good or bad. Be in the present and act in a way that honors your experience.

Don’t act like a nutritionist…

When you really think about it, it is a little bit bizarre that people feel entitled to comment on what other people eat, how much other people eat, or personal opinions on other people’s eating. Without a certification in nutrition or dietary science, you really have no authority. Even with a certification, your family is not your clientele. When you hear these kinds of statements from others, realize they are most often a projection of personal insecurity rather than personal commentary toward another.

…or someone’s personal food log

The quantity and quality of food someone else eats is never anyone else’s business. Comments about how much someone is eating of any particular kind of food are strictly shaming. Shaming is no fun! Especially at the holiday table.

Let everyone eat what they want, how they want

People are capable of making their own choices- that’s why they make them. People are also capable, as well as forced to, take accountability for their choices. Assume everyone knows what they’re doing and is able to accept the consequences accordingly.

Remove ‘purging’ indicative language

There is a reason the month of January is loaded with advertisements for gym memberships and dietary plans to get a “bathing suit body” by summer. We have an obsession with purging-indicative language. Holiday eating is seen as binging, induling, or being ‘bad’- which deserves to be punished afterward. Remove any language like “I was so good” or “I’m cheating today” or “I’m going on a strict diet after this” or “I’m not eating tomorrow”. This extreme black and white thinking are a reality for people who do suffer from eating disorders or disordered eating patterns.

If you are struggling with an eating disorder, disordered eating patterns, or other food related issues as a result of trauma, there is recovery available. Everyone has a story. You have nothing to be ashamed of. The Guest House Ocala welcomes you with open arms to our private, concierge style treatment programs for trauma and related issues. Call us today for information: 1-855-483-7800