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Certain comments about weight, appearance, food, and eating might offend and trigger some individuals in eating disorder recovery, and may not even bother others. Foods, conversation, environments, and individual people can all be triggers for eating disorder recovery- on the outside. On the inside, triggers could be certain thought patterns or physical feelings.

Holidays are not a vacation from recovery: Eating disorder recovery is a full time job, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The holiday season is not a vacation from recovery. Falling back into old patterns of thinking, feeling, and behaving can be extremely dangerous for someone in recovery from an eating disorder. To avoid any severe relapse, your loved one will need to maintain their regular appointments, meetings, self-care, and everything else they do for their recovery. That means meeting with their therapist, engaging in exercise, participating in self-care, talking with their nutritionist, adhering to their meal plan, and talking to their peers in recovery.

Not all food is created equal: Your loved one may bring their own dishes to a holiday celebration, even if you go out of your way to prepare recovery-friendly foods to the best of your ability. Don’t take this personally- food is one of the most complicated parts of eating disorder recovery. In order to feel safe, grounded, and taken care of, your loved one has learned what to feed themselves in a healthy way. Avoid encouraging them to try different things that they don’t want to try, or making them feel bad for not wanting to try other people’s dishes. Open-mindedness is not the problem, an eating disorder is.

Understand that eating disorders can be fatal: Anorexia nervosa is just one eating disorder, but it is the mental health disorder with the highest rate of fatality. Eating disorders are not about vanity gone wrong. They are complex and deeply ingrained mental health conditions that cause self-harming behaviors which can become dangerous. Your loved one may not “look” like they have an eating disorder or even “act” like they have an eating disorder. Eating disorders live in the mind and are manifested through physical behaviors. They need your support in every way possible to make it through the holidays and every other day of the year.

When they get up and leave the table, give them space: At the holiday table, talk about food can be triggering to someone who is recovering from an eating disorder. Your loved one is working extremely hard to be present, be positive, and be a part of the holidays. If they get up and walk away, it means they have reached their limit and need to recalibrate. It could mean that harmful behaviors are taking place. Consider shooting a text or gently checking in with them- without making accusations. Give them time to practice their self-care, however that may look. Remind them that they are loved and supported. Tell them how proud you are of their recovery.

The Guest House Ocala welcomes you with open arms to our private, concierge style treatment programs for trauma and related issues. There is no time like the present to seek treatment and change your life. Everyone has a story. Change yours today.

Call us today for information: 1-855-483-7800