Eating Disorders and the Holidays

Category: Others/ Misc

Presentation Description | Those currently undergoing eating disorder treatment may struggle during the holiday season. Due to stress and anxiety surrounding food, family, and busy schedules, the holidays are some of the most triggering times of the year.


Presentation Transcript

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The holiday season is known for stress whether it is due to facing busy shopping malls or finding time to visit relatives. Feelings of anxiety are common this time of year especially for disordered eaters who fear the food-focused winter months. This presentation is designed to help eating disorder sufferers unwind and put their health first in the coming months.

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• In the United States an estimated 10 million females and 1 million males suffer from potentially life- threatening eating disorders. 1 • Disordered behaviors can include an unhealthy relationship with food a disconnection with ones body image and unhealthy weight-regulation practices. • These symptoms may be enhanced during the indulgent winter months especially since each holiday season brings an increase in advertisements promoting weight loss and “a new body” just in time for the New Year. • As a direct result each calendar year Americans spend over 40 billion on diet plans and diet-related products. 2

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During food-fixated holiday events it can be difficult to handle feelings of shame and guilt that trigger disordered eating. Work with an eating disorder treatment center ahead of time to intercept negative emotions before they appear. You can also use tactics such as making a list of thoughts or situations that have been triggering the past. Next to each item on the list write pro-recovery responses to help center your mind. You can also bring the list to important events in case debilitating emotions crop up unexpectedly.

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Remember that celebrating with loved ones is the true purpose of the holiday season. Try to forget about the element of food entirely and focus on reconnecting with family and friends. Always think positively and replace any feelings of dread with eager anticipation for spending time with the ones you love.

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Eating disorders are isolating. Individuals who suffer from unhealthy eating habits may experience social withdrawal as a defense mechanism to continue addictive and destructive behaviors. Recognize this fact ahead of time and confide in someone you love. They can act as your personal cheerleader if times are tough and will help you to handle your holiday commitments in stride.

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Don’t Fill Your Calendar The holidays are always hectic so avoid further stress by keeping your schedule manageable. Overbooking yourself can result in a lack of control which may be triggering to some. Remember that you’re not expected to attend every single holiday party and go only to the events that you’re most excited about.

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Relax and enjoy seasonal delights: • Remember that all food can be enjoyed in moderation there are no “good” or “bad” foods. • Give yourself permission to sample traditional or specialty dishes without the guilt. • Savor the texture smell and taste of each bite remembering the love that went into preparing every meal. • Avoid the “last supper” mentality: you can always have more Another idea is to take home a doggy bag to enjoy your favorite foods later.

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The most important thing to remember this holiday season You’re only human Try not to punish yourself for accidental overeating and stay calm in the face of negative emotions. Take time to breathe and remember that tomorrow is a new day.

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Rebecca’s House is an eating disorder treatment center in Orange County that is focused on healing the mind and body. Our goal is to lead eating disorder recovery that will last a lifetime avoiding chance of relapse and need for further treatment. Get help now by visit

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1. fb/neda-fact-sheet.pdf 2. disorders/overview

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