Tips for the Holidays: Planning For and Enjoying the Gathering
Special occasions or holidays often involve family rituals and traditions with food as an integral part of the gathering. With the hectic schedules that many people have today, these may be one of the few times that a family comes together to eat. However, holidays pose unique challenges for people with eating disorders that often disrupt the joyful part of the holiday celebration. In this three part series we'll cover everything from planning to enjoying some non-food experiences.
Today let's discuss planning. Planning ahead may be the key to the challenges of holiday meals and helping you be able to enjoy the conversation and good times with friends and family at your holiday celebrations. Following are some tips to help you prepare…
Planning for the meal
Whether you are familiar with the experience, family and friends can help with planning for scenarios with conversations and meal planning. You may want to consider how the meal will be served and what you will need to do to follow your meal plan for the day in regard to the time the meal will be served.
It’s okay to ask for something you need; and, it’s important to not allow yourself to get too hungry. Eating less all day to “save up” for the party is not helpful. Skipping meals/snacks usually affects productivity, causes poor concentration, more difficulty with problem solving, and increased fatigue. It can also lead to overeating at the next meal or snack.
At the party or gathering
- Try to sit or stand away from the food table and near supportive people.
- Try to eat mindfully and savor these tasty holiday foods!
- Continue to follow your meal plan for the entire day.
- Eat at an appropriate pace.
- It may help to keep a comfort item such as an affirmation card, a picture, or a journal with you throughout the day.
- Talk with loved ones about things unrelated to the eating disorder. Don’t keep yourself rigidly focused on food and body concerns.
- Enjoy your relationships and feel gratitude for blessings received.
Before going home, you may also want to have a plan about what you will do for support after the gathering. Know where your support people are, and how you’ll know when it’s time to get connected with needed support.
In our next post we’ll talk about how to get support at the meal. Watch for that early next week. In the meantime, feel free to check out the post we did around Thanksgiving; it contains some great advice that applies to the parties and family gatherings that happen in December: The Dos and Don’ts of a Holiday Meal: An Article for Family Members.