*Trigger warning for people that have suffered from an eating disorder*
“It’s the most wonderful time of the year” well for some. Christmas dinner, a joyous event, eating delicious food surrounded by your loved ones. An event that most suffering from an eating disorder dread instead of look forward to. With a lack of control in what goes on and in the food being served, these delicious meals are often surrounded by stress rather than relaxation. The holiday season can be very difficult whether you’re recovered, in recovery or still struggling. For the people struggling, it’s important to remind yourself that these events are not supposed to be surrounded by fear, they are supposed to be surrounded by love. Today we’ll discuss some things you should remind yourself on this upcoming holiday.
Comparison is the biggest thief
Do not look at other peoples plates. I repeat: do NOT look at other peoples plates. Think of it like a test, and everyones plate is their exam, keep your eyes on your OWN god damn paper. Comparing the portions of how much food you have and the people around you have will lead you no where other than feeling stressed or a bit of relief. You might be confused by the second feeling, let me explain. Stress, if you notice you have more food on your plate, which in most results in you feeling guilty and self-conscious. Now relief, this can happen if you have less food on your plate, which encourages you’re toxic disordered brain to continue to convince yourself that less is good. Well that’s bullsh**. Both comparisons lead you down a bad mental path. As hard as it is, keep your eyes on your own plate. Remind yourself to ENJOY the food you’re eating with every bite and how thankful you are to have the ability to be present eating it. Even if it’s only two or three; its better than zero.
In one ear and out the other: Comments about food
“Oh my gosh, I just ate so much food. It’s fine I’ll start my diet next week.” Ummm – ignore. When I say one ear and out the other I mean don’t even acknowledge the comment that your aunt probably just made as a joke, but in your mind isn’t. Or when your uncle makes a comment about how many calories are in the slice of pumpkin pie you just enjoyed. These comments are often like I said, mentioned as a joke or “funny dinner talk” but can be very triggering. So, before you sit down at the table or prepare your plate to eat remember that these comments should not determine if you should or shouldn’t grab that slice of pie (you should by the way, you already know it’s delicious and it’s probably you’re grandmas famous recipe). It can also be helpful to have some questions that could transition the conversation into something other than food related, like:
“So what was everyones favorite memory from this year?”
“Who knows of some board games we could play tonight?”
“What is everyone asking for Christmas?”
Honestly any question that pops into your head unrelated to food can do the trick, like “what’s everyones favorite farm animal?” And if you find yourself stuck on that comment that your uncle pat mindlessly said about the calories in a piece pie while everyone else is now talking about a completely new topic, remember this: that pie was made and brought to the table with the full intent of people eating it and it is ok if you are one of those people. Instead of thinking of the comment, think of the answer to the question you asked, what is your favorite farm animal? and enjoy the pie.
You will survive
As everyone stacks there plates and pats their full bellies, you’ll realize leaving the table that you did in fact survive. Don’t allow any comment, portion size or calorie get in the way of having a good time this holiday season. Because you will survive. Remember you are resilient for facing this fear and courageous for sitting down at the table with some people that might not understand your struggles when it comes to food and for that you are strong.
It IS the most wonderful time of the year
Throughout this upcoming break, for those that are struggling, I hope this reminded you that one: comparison leads you nowhere. Two: fill your head with POSITIVE comments, do not listen to the mindless ones relatives say. Three: you are stronger than you think and you will survive. With all this, enter this season of giving, love, and happiness with a positive mind, and remind yourself that the dinner table is something that should be enjoyed not feared.