Healthy eating is a primary focus of eating disorder treatment, because before patients come in they are usually depriving their bodies of healthy and wholesome food. In order the get back on the path to health, proper nutrition is a must. Newly out of rehab, many people in recovery from eating disorders get concerned about the holiday season and are scared of a relapse. It’s understandable, but there is no need to have fear.
Healthy Eating Is Possible!
It is important to stay completely committed to your recovery during this time of year and know that bringing yourself back to health is your first priority. It isn’t a bad idea to explain to the people you will be spending your holiday with that you just went through rehab for your eating issue, and that you need them to be as supportive as possible.
Approach the holidays with a plan. For people in recovery from anorexia, allow yourself to eat a normal meal and not have regrets about doing so. It is perfectly acceptable and normal to do so during the holiday, and it doesn’t mean that you will spiral out of control. For bulimics, come up with a plan to distract yourself so that you avoid purging after your meal. For binge eaters, set a limit to what you will eat and try not to go over. No matter what, it is important to approach the table with gratitude for how far you have come in recovery and to be loving and kind with yourself.
You most likely learned a lot about healthy eating while in treatment, so now is the time to put it to use! Bring a healthy dish you made yourself to dinner to share with the group. Do everything you can not to focus on your weight and just enjoy the time with your friends and family.
Here are some more ideas for how to get through Thanksgiving:
- Bring a person or talk to someone who will be at dinner that can be your go-to person if things get bad. Make sure they know what is going on with you and can be available to support you in a time of need.
- Try your best not to focus on your weight. Wear something comfortable and pay attention to the company you are with and enjoying yourself instead of calories.
- If you don’t feel comfortable with the plan you have, you can change them. Recovery from your eating disorder is the priority, and thanksgiving will come around again next year. If you don’t like what you are going to do, don’t do it.
- Talk to your treatment team or support system about the holidays and create a smart, collaborative plan that is possible for you to stick to.
The holidays are meant to be enjoyed, and just because you are in eating disorder recovery doesn’t mean you shouldn’t. Make the most of it, be appreciative of how far you have come, and thankful for the time you have with friends and family.