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5 Ways to Survive Christmas With an Eating Disorder

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It may be the season of joy and cheer, but having an eating disorder can feel like one giant headache during the holidays.

While food-centered parties and gatherings might be sending you into an emotional tailspin, there are ways you can cope – and make it through the holidays with a smile on your face.

Surviving the Holiday Season

Here are some tips for managing stress, making positive choices, and allowing yourself a break from guilt and shame:

  1. Spin it positive. What if you viewed the holidays not as a challenging time where food is around every corner, but as a time where you get to be surrounded by the people who love and support you? Christmas can be a great opportunity to let go of the feeling that you're dominated by your eating disorder and to focus instead on the hope, happiness and love that characterizes this season. If you allow it, the holidays may even bring you a new resolve or burst of determination to live your life fully and let go of the thoughts, beliefs and attitudes about yourself that are no longer serving you.
  2. Do you. Sure, it's the season of giving, but don't exclude giving to yourself. Part of dealing with an eating disorder is knowing when to set healthy boundaries and take care of you. Don't feel obligated to attend every function you're invited to. Make new traditions if the old ones stress you out. There's nothing wrong with restructuring the activities you do during the holidays so they work for you – not against you.
  3. Eat normally. Not eating because you're afraid of a binge may actually trigger one. Keep eating normally during the holidays – and know that it's OK to have some treats, too.
  4. Don't borrow worry. It's easy to get caught up in stressful thoughts about how you'll handle particular situations that have to do with food, like parties or family gatherings. But instead of borrowing worry, vow to set your concerns aside until you're actually at the event or party you're stressed about. Once you're there, you'll likely find that there's nothing to worry about anyway. Stay present, and you'll find the holidays much more enjoyable.
  5. Enjoy your day off. Like any other day off, Christmas is a time when you can relax and enjoy yourself. Claim that right. Make it a day that will bring you happiness, not stress. You deserve to be with loved ones, eat foods that nourish you, and perhaps even splurge a little. Tomorrow is a new day.

Source: BEAT