Episode 21: Eating Disorders and the Holidays with Kezia Reeder

A festive holiday table setting

Episode description:

Kezia Reeder is a former Emily Program client and staff member, as well as a continual advocate for eating disorder recovery. In this episode of Peace Meal, she joins host Dr. Jillian Lampert to describe her holidays with an eating disorder. Kezia’s insight is valuable not just for those currently struggling, but also for parents and others supporting loved ones who are. 

For those who celebrate, the holidays can be a hard time for individuals with eating disorders. Not only do Western holidays often center on food, but they also often bring stressors related to seeing people for the first time in a while. This year, as collective anxiety surrounding COVID-19, vaccinations, and variants lingers, the holidays may be especially challenging. Reflecting on holidays past with an eating disorder, our guest Kezia says she struggled at first without any outside support. She hid her disorder from family and friends, suffering in silence amid food- and body-related conversations and a lack of routine around meals. During her recovery, Kezia explains that she used trial and error to navigate the holidays successfully. The more present she was in treatment, she says, the more present she could be outside of it. With the help of her treatment team, she learned how to enlist family support—a key element to her recovery—develop a meal plan, and approach holiday food as just food.

We cover:

  • How to support a loved one with an eating disorder during the holiday season
  • Why meal plans can be a useful tool during the holidays
  • Why it’s so important to not label holiday foods as “good” or “bad”
  • Why support people are such an essential aspect of surviving the holidays

In Kezia’s words:

  • On the holidays with an eating disorder: “I feel like I was constantly stressed from Thanksgiving through New Year’s Eve. It’s supposed to be a time of celebration and… in the United States, a lot of our celebration centers around gathering for a meal.”
  • On navigating the holidays in eating disorder recovery: “Do what works for you, and there’s a lot of different ways that holidays can look successful with an eating disorder.”
  • On the holidays without an eating disorder: “They’re awesome. They’re just a whole new level of awesome because I know how challenging they have been in the past. So there’s a lot that I appreciate about it now.”

If you or your child are struggling with food this holiday season, The Emily Program can help. Learn more about treatment online or by calling 1-888-364-5977

About the podcast:

Peace Meal is a podcast hosted by The Emily Program and Veritas Collaborative that covers topics related to eating disorders, body image, and how society may influence our thinking.

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