Thanksgiving is an exciting time of the year for many of us. Traveling to new cities, spending quality time, and making new memories with family and friends is a very rewarding experience. But for people with eating disorders, Thanksgiving can be a difficult time of the year. In most cases, the one thing people are most excited about on Thanksgiving is eating as much as humanly possible, while still leaving just enough room for dessert. While this concept can be stressful for someone with anorexia bulimia or other similar conditions, we’re sharing some tips on navigating thanksgiving with an eating disorder that can help.
How To Get Through Thanksgiving With An Eating Disorder
Recovering from an eating disorder during this time of the year can become very overwhelming. With the focus of the holiday being on eating copious amounts of food, Thanksgiving can be a stressful and possibly triggering experience for people recovering from bulimia or anorexia or other similar disorders.
However, with the proper knowledge, we can make Thanksgiving a safe and friendly experience for loved ones with these conditions. By following these steps on how to survive Thanksgiving with an eating disorder, you can better manage your triggers and symptoms and enjoy the day with your loved ones.
Don’t Talk About Diets
It's very common for people to talk about their latest diet at Thanksgiving dinner. But if you are having Thanksgiving with someone who is healing from an eating disorder, this can make them feel uncomfortable. Avoid introducing this topic in any conversations and politely ask your family or friends if they can switch the topic to support the individual currently in the process of healing from an eating disorder. This will lead to more eating disorder safe conversations.
Do Not Talk About Body Size
Talking about body size can be difficult for someone who is healing from an eating disorder. Conversations or comments based on an individual’s weight loss or weight gain since last seeing them can be very uncomfortable situation.
These type of discussions are dangerous to individuals with a former or current eating disorder. Ask the person if they can stop talking about “so-and-sos” weight. If they continue, respectfully remove yourself or the loved one affected by eating disorder away from the conversation and encourage a new conversation in another area of the home. Protecting the mental health of our loved ones should be most important and always take priority.
Do Not Talk About Stuffing Yourself
Thanksgiving is known as a holiday where you stuff yourself. But this is a form of binge eating and it's not okay to talk about this in front of someone who is healing from an eating disorder. Reminding your family members of you or your loved one’s disorder can do the trick in eliminating remarks that represent “normal” binge eating.
Do Not Talk About Compensating For The Meal
After the Thanksgiving meal, people might talk about what they are going to do afterwards to compensate for the huge meal. This might include going for a long run or having an intense workout. This sort of compensatory behavior is eating disorder behavior and can be triggering to someone healing from an eating disorder.
They often make statements representing how they are going to make up for the huge meal in the future. For example, “I ate so much today, I am not eating for the remainder of the month after this.”
These sort of comments can come across as these eating habits are acceptable, which is not safe in the presence of someone with an eating disorder. Redirecting any conversations related to compensating for the Thanksgiving meal maybe the answer to establishing a more eating disorder safe conversation.
Finding Eating Disorder Support
Navigating Thanksgiving with an eating disorder can be a difficult time for many, but the right tools and support system can make for a more enjoyable experience. Banyan Treatment Centers offers eating disorder treatment in Philadelphia for individuals with anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, ARFID, OSFED, and more.
Treatment programs at our center for eating disorder management in Philly include recovery resources, relapse prevention treatment, therapy, and more for patients struggling to adapt to everyday life during their recovery. Make the decision today to get help before the holidays and become the best version of you! Contact our center for eating disorders at (844) 700-5105.
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