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Eating Disorders During the Holidays

When we think of holidays, we also think of family gatherings, joy, happiness, and food. For people who are living with disordered eating, these festive times can be typically challenging. Throughout this blog, we will look at a compassionate approach to eating disorders during the holiday season.

Here are some steps to help those with eating disorders spend more time enjoying their holiday:

Inclusive Environment: Notice and be mindful of the vocabulary used around body image and food. Try to foster an environment that puts importance on the well-being of your body rather than your appearance. This may start with setting boundaries with family members that ensure you will have a healthy mindset during the holidays.

Pressure to Overeat: 

Holidays can come with various foods that can satisfy our needs. This can create a sense of pressure for those with an eating disorder. The tradition around holidays to overindulge in these foods can create feelings of shame, guilt, and anxiety. Ensure you can identify these emotions and create a plan for how to counteract them.


Support System: Having people around you who understand and love you the way you are is fundamental. A support system plays a crucial role in the recovery process. Ensuring your support system creates a non-judgemental space for you can help you feel safer during the holidays.

Alternative Traditions: If there is an expectation to host the holidays at your place, it may be worth considering different traditions. These traditions can be helpful if you are struggling with the idea of having all eyes on you during mealtime. This could be a game night with family, volunteering at the soup kitchen, or a walk together as a family.

Self-Care: Understand that your mental health needs are just as important as anyone else. Create healthy boundaries if needed and prioritize mental and physical health during the holidays. Have a space where you can be yourself with the ones you love.

Coping Strategies: Have realistic expectations for yourself when it comes to the holidays. Encourage yourself to listen to your body and what it needs. Remind yourself that it is okay to put yourself first in times when you are stressed and need extra nurturing!

Therapy: If you or a loved one is struggling with disordered eating, seeking professional help can be a progressive next step. We want to ensure that recovery is not a grueling and daunting process. Rather, it is a collaborative and safe process where you do not feel judged. This is a time when people with eating disorders need to feel supported and can feel joy around the holidays. Please reach out for a free consultation if you are interested in learning more about the eating disorder recovery process!

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