Posts Tagged ‘Holidays’

The Trouble with Diet, Weight Loss, and Exercise Resolutions

A woman rests during a run and looks exhausted

Diet culture thrives around the New Year holiday. In our society, the new year is a time for self-reflection, and often that leads people to decide to get “healthier.” The problem is that the diet industry has co-opted “health” and “wellness,” causing many people to believe the misconception that thin equals healthy. As a result, the well-intentioned goal of “healthier living” can become solely weight-loss-focused. 

In a culture obsessed with weight and food, it is no surprise that resolutions surrounding diet, weight loss, and exercise are so rampant. Our culture is fixated on thinness, and specifically, thinness as something that everyone should strive for in order to be attractive, popular, successful, and healthy. In this article, we will cover the trouble with diet, weight loss, and exercise resolutions, including their impact on those experiencing, recovering from, or at risk of developing an eating disorder. 

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Navigating Unwanted Food and Body Comments During The Holidays

Young people talking beside a holiday tree

Before attending a holiday event in eating disorder recovery, it is wise to prepare for comments you may receive about food or your body. Navigating these conversations can be tricky any day of the year, but they may be even more challenging as the pandemic continues to loom and flare. COVID-19 has caused numerous family get-togethers to be postponed or canceled in the past two years. For those getting together this holiday season, there may be increased anxiety after not seeing family after an extended period of time. For those with eating disorders—many who experienced a worsening of symptoms or new symptoms due to the pandemic—the anxiety is likely only compounded by the holiday hyperfocus on food.

In addition to the anxiety surrounding food-centric get-togethers, the holidays can bring uncomfortable or triggering conversations with family or friends. For those in eating disorder recovery, learning how to navigate these conversations is a useful skill. In this article, we will discuss how to set boundaries, change the subject, or excuse yourself from conversations that may be unhelpful to your recovery this holiday season.

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Finding Moments of Light this Holiday Season

A Christmas tree with red ornaments and white string lights

**Content warning: This is one person’s story; everyone will have unique experiences in recovery and beyond. Some stories may mention eating disorder thoughts, behaviors, and symptoms. Please use your discretion when reading and speak with your support system as needed.

Katie Price is a registered nurse and yoga teacher whose understanding of what it means to care for bodies—both hers and others’—has been shaped by her recovery from anorexia. She cares deeply about walking alongside those who are struggling with eating disorders and hopes that by sharing her story, she can offer hope and support.

I spent Thanksgiving this year in an eating disorder treatment program. Laminated index cards with encouraging phrases like, “You are enough,” “Recovery is worth it,” and “One bite at a time,” decorated our long wooden table. When we sat down to eat, each person shared an intention for the meal: “Stay present,” “Ask for help if I’m struggling,” “Just get through it.” Then a timer started and forks were slowly lifted. Legs jittered beneath the table. We talked about funny family holiday traditions. There was some conversation, some laughter, and then long silent pauses. The internal battles being fought were almost palpable. Some battles were won. A young woman looked at the girl sitting beside her and asked, “First bite of dessert together?” And they sunk forks into pumpkin pie in unison. But others were lost in their struggle. Wide eyes stared frightened at stuffing and turkey. Tears welled up and fell silently. I know this battle well, when you sit down at the dinner table and your body reacts with panic like it needs to run away from a bear. I remember how it feels for your hand to shake with anxiety as you lift a bite to your mouth and how the food seems to expand on the plate as if the portion could continuously grow. But now, working for the program as a nurse, I don’t think too much about the food; my mind is present and my body is relaxed. I have recovered from my own eating disorder, a grace I am endlessly grateful for and do not take for granted.

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Finding Hope This Holiday Season

A gift near pine tree ornaments

As we celebrate the holiday season of 2021, it is easy to remember the holiday season of 2020, our first holiday during the pandemic. When COVID-19 became an issue—a deadly issue—for our country and our clients, we were all aware of how many things in our lives turned upside down or stopped completely. All our daily lives have changed more than we ever could have imagined. Many have lost loved ones or had their own health significantly impacted.

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The Importance of Gratitude in Eating Disorder Recovery

A woman sits outside at a table with a coffee journaling

Talking about gratitude is generally something we associate with the holidays, especially Thanksgiving, but gratitude can be useful all year round. For someone with an active eating disorder or in recovery from an eating disorder, the already-hectic holiday season can be even more challenging. Because Thanksgiving is centered around food, you might feel like you have no control; this is normal. Practicing self-care, self-acceptance, and gratitude are all great tools for coping with the stress of the holidays. In this article, we will cover the benefits of a gratitude practice in recovery, how to create your own practice, and how to apply that practice to the holiday season.

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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.

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