Thursday, December 22, 2011

holiday tips for recovery

These are some of the things that people have shared with me and that I've learned throughout my recovery & treatment that have helped me, and I wanted to share them with y'all because I know the holiday season can be really difficult when struggling with an eating disorder. I hope some of these tips can help lessen the ed's control - even if just a little - during the holiday season for everyone.


* Eat like you would on any other normal day. Don't skip meals and starve in an attempt to "make up" for what you recently ate or are about to eat. Keep a regular and moderate pattern with your meals.

* Worry more about the size of your heart than the size of your hips. Remember what the holidays are really about and keep that in your mind throughout the day. Reflect on your life, enjoy relationships with loved ones, and give gratitude and thanks for blessings in your life and try to give back to others through loving service.

* Have a plan (discuss with treatment team if you have one or someone close to you that you trust and is supportive) and keep that plan with you throughout the day as a guide for when you start to feel triggered or overwhelmed.

* If you can, let yourself enjoy a few "special occasion foods."

* Try to have a good support system. Find someone you trust to be your "reality check" with food to either help you plate your food or give you a reality check when the ed tries to distort your thoughts of how much you should or shouldn't be eating.

*Try to be flexible with your thoughts. Learn to be flexible in guidelines for yourself, and in expectations of yourself and others. Try to be flexible in what you can eat during the holidays. Take a break from self-imposed criticism, rigidity, and perfectionism.

* Be mindful with your meals. Try to stay present throughout the day. Take time-outs if you need to throughout the day.

* Have a list prepared of healthy things you can do throughout the day to relax and cope if you start to feel overwhelmed or anxious.

* Avoid focusing too much on the food - it only adds fuel to the eating disorder.

* Wear something you feel comfortable in, avoid calorie counting and scales, don't look in every mirror you see to do body checks.

* If you feel yourself starting to panic because you feel too full or if you allowed yourself to eat foods that you consider to be forbidden, remind yourself that it is okay to eat what you did, that food will not make you fat, and it is only normal to eat during the holidays.

* Find fun and relaxing activities to do to take your mind off of the food. Play games, go for a walk, watch a movie, hang out with family and friends, ect.

*If you have a period where you end up binging or purging or engaging in an ed behavior, do not beat yourself up over it. Just put it behind you and move forward. "Do the next right thing."

* Prepare responses to say to people who may say something to you that would make you feel uncomfortable (like commenting on your eating, weight, appearance, behavior, ect.) And if you feel comfortable enough - try to set boundaries for yourself by telling people ahead of time to please not comment on any of these things.

* Do what is right for you. Do not allow anyone to pressure you into eating more than you can handle. You are not eating for them, you are eating for yourself. If being with certain family members or friends is too stressful, you may have to think about not going to certain places or get-togethers. Don't be afraid to disappoint people by not showing up if it will be too hard for you and your recovery, and if you can, be honest about why you will not be attending. Holidays are a very stressful time for people with eating disorders and it really is important that you do whatever you need to do in order to make them easier on yourself and your recovery.


  1. Amazing post, thank you for sharing it <3

  2. Incredibly insightful and helpful post - Thank-you for sharing this(I took some notes to take with me)♥

  3. Thank you for these tips. They are very very useful. Thank you!

  4. Thankyou for these tips! They are all so helpful, and you show alot of insight into the torment that ED puts people through...I struggled alot the last few days, Christmas meals with family,extra pressure to eat, etc...And the guilt now is killing me, but trying to keep some perspective ~ it is only one or two meals out of the ordinary...

    I LOVE your quote ~ 'Worry more about the size of your heart than the size of your hips" ♥ So true! And very appropriate given it is Christmas...

    I find it really difficult to talk about my eating disorder, so I am yet to really post about it on my blog, but I admire you for speaking out, and can really relate to alot of your words! Thankyou for sharing :o)