For someone who has a past with eating disorders or with struggles with food in general, Thanksgiving day can singlehandly be the scariest day of the year. For most people, it means good food, good company, and a plethora of other happy thoughts. However, for others it means anxiety, a fear of losing control, flashes back to past behaviors, feelings of emotional and physical discomfort, and reminders of a life you'd like to leave behind. In short, a holiday centered around food can be someone in recovery's worst nightmare.
In order to help anybody and everybody who feels anxious or unsettled about tomorrow, I've prepared some of my own helpful tips to get you through it!
1. Pace yourself.
Sometimes when we see heaping mounds of yummy food we get over zealous and load up our plate with everything all at once. Start by taking just one scoop of whatever you want. Not two, not three, one scoop to start. That way, you can try everything you like, and all of it is still there at the end if you want to go back for seconds!
2. Do not fast prior to the Thanksgiving meal. Contrary to popular belief, it is actually extremely damaging for someone to skip breakfast or lunch in order to make room for Thanksgiving. Your body needs to have a functioning metabolism and it can't without food intake. It will also make you over-stuff yourself when you get to the table. My first Thanksgiving back after treatment taught me that this rule is CRUCIAL. Trying to skip meals to compensate for food later is a form of restricting and a way in which you are indirectly trying to control your weight and yourself. Eat something light if you want, but make sure you don't not eat at all.
3. Do not be alone right after the meal. This one should be easy for most considering smily is around, but if your family is like me and everybody goes into the "let's sleep it off" mode immediately after and there's nothing but your own thoughts to fill the silence, it can be a scary thing. So make sure that directly after, you are not alone anywhere where you may get lost in shaming and degrading thoughts that would have you find "relief" by engaging in a behavior. Make sure you use the people and the resources around you to ensure that you're listening to the right voices, those that know and love you.
If you're really struggling and you feel out of control, please message me via IG or email!!! I'll be checking it throughout the day. Also feel free to call any eating disorder hotlines if you need more immediate contact!
Whether you're struggling with an eating disorder, struggling with your relationship with food, in treatment, or in recovery, we can do this together! Thanksgiving is about gratitude and family, and I know that if you follow these steps you'll feel the difference in a wonderful way.