For many people the holidays are a time of joy and celebration, a time to catch up with friends and family- often this involves lots of eating out and celebrations based around food. For young people with eating disorders however this can often bring tremendous stress, anxiety, and fear.
Trying to plan ahead of time, may make the holidays easier and more importantly, more enjoyable!
Here are some suggestions:
· If you are following a meal plan try to stick to it over the holidays. Try to anticipate some of the situations that will make following it harder, such as time in transit, time changes, and not having access to your usual foods. If you are travelling, plan how or where you will get the food you need.
· If you are travelling, pack some snack foods that you can have until you’re able to go shopping.
· Make a list of things you can do to help relax and distract yourself from the feelings of fullness after a big meal. e.g. go for a walk, take a bath, read, visit a friend, go for a drive, etc. If you are travelling be sure to bring some of your distraction activities.
· Have the phone numbers of your support team and friends that you can call if you need to.
· If you feel yourself starting to panic because you are feeling too full or if you allowed yourself to eat foods that you consider to be ‘forbidden’, remind yourself it is okay to eat what you did, that food will not make you fat, and it is normal to eat more during the holidays.
· If you end up bingeing or purging, do not beat yourself up over it. Just put it behind you and move forward. Try to get back on track at the next meal.
· If you feel you need to, set some boundaries for yourself by telling people ahead of time that you do not want anyone to comment on your appearance or your eating.
· Plan some time for yourself to do something that you enjoy.
Be kind to yourself and always put your own health above anything else.