Anorexia, Bulimia, Binge Eating Help
Anorexia, Bulimia, Binge Eating Help

Anorexia, Bulimia, Binge Eating Help

Holidays are for celebrating, and whether it’s creating traditional dishes in the kitchen with family or gathering around with friends for a summertime barbeque, food takes center stage. For people with eating disorders, holidays can be very difficult times.

September 27, 2016

 

The combination of large amounts of food, family dynamics, and feelings of anxiety and loneliness can be overwhelming and too much to bear. If you are facing down an upcoming holiday with fear or dread, take hope. There are things you and your family can do to prepare for challenges and still enjoy the magic of holiday seasons.

Make a Plan!

If you are struggling with an eating disorder, you know that part of recovery means learning about yourself, setting boundaries, and asking for what you need. Your treatment team can help you to develop a plan for dealing with the holidays that fits your goals.

Cognitive behavioral and dialectical behavioral (CBT/DBT) treatment modalities, which are used in all levels of eating disorder care, are great for developing coping skills and self-soothing techniques for distressing situations. Psych Central (www.psychcentral.com) suggests some great, soothing tips based in the mindful approach of DBT:

  • Find meaning in the season
  • Take a vacation! Muscle relaxation, baths, snuggling with a favorite pet, reading a great book….give yourself a break and enjoy the moment!
  • Give back. Get out of your head and into the deeper purpose of the season by volunteering or helping neighbors.
  • Breathe deeply and stay in the moment

Take Care of YOU!

This is where knowing your limits and honoring them comes in. During the holidays we are usually surrounded by people we haven’t seen since the last family gathering. Inevitably, tensions flare as tricky family dynamics rear their heads.

When you’re struggling with an eating disorder, even the most well-intentioned comments from long-lost family members can be triggering and downright hurtful. When all you want to do is make it through the day, these uncomfortable conversations can leave you feeling trapped.

Even if it’s hard to honor your needs, the holidays are a prime time to practice. Enlist a trusted friend or family member to help you slip away for a few moments and regroup when it all becomes too much. If you know that there is a particular gathering planned that will be super triggering, it’s ok to sit it out. Trust yourself, and when in doubt ask to talk it out.

In the Kitchen

Food is a centerpiece of holiday celebrations, and for people with eating disorders just being in the kitchen can create tremendous stress. Many treatment programs work to prepare clients for food-related challenges by offering kitchen skills groups and experiential activities designed to decrease anxiety and increase confidence.

At Center for Discovery, for example, clients spend time in the kitchen preparing meals and snacks, participating in food challenges, and learning to plan meals and grocery shop. Anxieties around food are faced and challenged in the moment so clients can put coping skills into action and finally begin to experience comfort around food.

The National Eating Disorders Association (www.nationaleatingdisorders .org) suggests baby-step challenges at holiday gatherings. Review the food offered and make mindful choices. To take the challenge a step further, take a portion of a food you love but wouldn’t normally allow yourself to have. Then, stay in the moment and savor the tastes. Notice your surroundings and focus on the parts of the season you enjoy. Breathe.

If your loved one suffers from an eating disorder, you may stand by and watch helplessly as another holiday season threatens their joy and well-being. How can you help when you don’t even know how to begin? First and foremost, get educated about eating disorders.

Be involved in your loved one’s treatment. Learn about and make every effort to understand what they are struggling with and why. Then, be patient. Ask how to help. Express your love and concern.

Start New Traditions

The National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders (www.anad.org) suggests being flexible and willing to start some new traditions that don’t focus on food. Your loved one has interests and hobbies. Tap into those at holiday time. Does your loved one like to sing? Go caroling together. Is crafting a favorite activity? Create beautiful holiday-themed treasures together.

Holidays are challenging for people with eating disorders, but they don’t have to be a time filled with fear and isolation. Shifting perspective and coming together as a family to celebrate with love and support has the potential to help your loved one feel joy and comfort again- even around the foods that create anxiety.

Read 333952 times Last modified on Tuesday, 27 September 2016 20:02
Rate this item
(0 votes)

About Author

42567 Responses Found

  • Comment Link
    Clinton Sunday, 23 April 2017 23:33

    I like this website. it is rather helpful. Thank you for sharing.

  • Comment Link
    Phil Sunday, 23 April 2017 23:32

    Just wanna comment that you have a really nice website, I love the
    design and style and it in fact stands apart.

  • Comment Link
    Sanora Sunday, 23 April 2017 23:31

    Some truly nice stuff on this site, I love it.

  • Comment Link
    Milla Sunday, 23 April 2017 23:30

    I'm actually pleased to find this site, just what I was trying to find.
    Saved it to bookmarks.

  • Comment Link
    Latesha Sunday, 23 April 2017 23:29

    I do believe all the ideas you have presented for your article.
    They’re really powerful and can definitely work. Still, the posts are quite quick for newbies.

    Thank you for the post.

  • Comment Link
    Cathy Sunday, 23 April 2017 23:24

    Very awesome post, i absolutely adore this site,
    keep it up.

  • Comment Link
    Ashlee Sunday, 23 April 2017 23:23

    Several really nice stuff on this website, I like it.

  • Comment Link
    Nestor Sunday, 23 April 2017 23:17

    I enjoy this site a lot, It's truly good to read
    and learn more information.

  • Comment Link
    Thorsten Sunday, 23 April 2017 23:10

    Ridiculous quest there. What occurred after? Thanks!

  • Comment Link
    Roxana Sunday, 23 April 2017 23:10

    Extremely nice post, i actually adore this site, continue the good work.

Leave a comment

Make sure you enter the (*) required information where indicated. HTML code is not allowed.