Navigating mealtime during the holiday season can be particularly challenging for individuals in eating disorder recovery. The stress and expectations that often come with this time of year can make your recovery journey feel even more daunting. If you’re facing these challenges, please know that you are not alone, and I see you, and I am sending you so much compassion. In this post, I offer valuable tips and strategies to help you maintain your recovery and find support during meals, snacks, and food-related situations this holiday season.
Plan with Intent:
Being intentional about your meal plan before the holidays can be incredibly helpful. Staying consistent with your meal plan or intuitive eating plan is key. While diet culture can promote consolidating or skipping meals, people to consolidate or skip meals, it’s important to remember why consistency is crucial for well-being. Try to plan meals with a clear intention, such as focusing on the flavors, engaging in meaningful conversations, or acknowledging any emotional or physical discomfort. Remind yourself that you can sit through meals that bring up emotion.
Develop a list of mantras that resonate with you and help you stay grounded during meals. Mantras can be used before, during, or after a meal as a reminder of my strength and resilience. For example, “I can resist the urge to engage in eating disorder behaviors” or “Emotional distress is temporary, and I am capable of sitting through it.” These mantras provide much-needed support during difficult moments.
Keep your attention on your own plate and your own experience. In our society, comparison is prevalent, and it’s easy to get caught up comparing my food choices and portion sizes to others. Staying focused on your meal, your hunger, and fullness cues, and adhering to your meal plan can help you stay grounded in your recovery journey. Practice mindfulness before, during, and after each meal, taking note of your thoughts, emotions, physical sensations, and any urges that may arise. This practice can be done not only during meals but also at any point throughout the day to maintain self-awareness.
Handling Diet Culture Comments:
Prepare for situations where diet culture comments may arise during holiday gatherings. Decide how you want to respond. Do you feel comfortable using your voice to change the subject, or would you rather step away or go to a different room? Identify what works best for you in the moment and make a plan to address these comments proactively.
Stay the Course:
One of the most empowering steps you can take in your recovery is to stay true to your meal plan, even if others around you are engaging in disordered eating. This action is a powerful way to assert ownership over your recovery journey, especially during mealtimes.
Meal support during the holiday season is crucial for individuals in eating disorder recovery. By planning with intent, creating mantras, practicing mindful eating, handling diet culture comments, and staying the course with my meal plan, you can successfully navigate mealtime during the holidays. Stay the path by following your meal plan, even if others are engaging in disordered eating. This is a beautiful way to take ownership of our recovery around mealtimes. Wishing you a holiday season filled with self-compassion and the strength to maintain your recovery.
Becoming Anchored In Hope,
Laura is deeply committed to supporting individuals on their journey to eating disorder recovery and has created a team of phenomenal therapists to do just that. At Anchored Counseling Company, you will find helping professionals who provide a nurturing atmosphere grounded in trust and acceptance while promoting body trust through a Health at Every Size (HAES) philosophy and a trauma-informed approach. Everyone at Anchoring Counseling Co. firmly believes in the inherent value of all bodies and offers a warm and compassionate therapeutic style. Their approach is centered around the idea that clients have the innate capacity to bring about lasting positive changes in their lives. To start working with someone, call our office today at 615.510.3797 or click here.
One more thing…a few years ago, I created a complimentary resource to support folks in eating disorder recovery. It’s the perfect supplement to what we’ve talked about here today. Head on over and see what you think!
Affirmation of the Day: “I am capable of sitting through meals even when I am experiencing a distressing emotion.”