What is Professional Help for an Eating Disorder
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  • Writer's pictureKate Ringwood, LPC

Preparing for the Holiday Season while in Treatment for Eating Disorders

Being in treatment for eating disorders during the holiday can be overwhelming and stressful. The holidays are a very tricky time to be in recovery.  The good old ED voice loves to show its face when stress is heightened.  Whether you struggle with restriction, binging, fears around certain foods, over compulsive exercise, this blog post is for you!

Here are a few steps to take to set yourself up for a successful holiday season while in treatment for eating disorders.

The first step is to plan ahead.  Sometimes talking about things beforehand can feel stressful and overwhelming, however, I truly believe that this can help set you up for more success in the moment.  So what does planning ahead entail?

  • Meals and Snacks:  Make sure to pack snacks.  Whether you are going Christmas shopping or spending the evening celebrating Hannakah, BRING SNACKS! As far as meals go, You can ask what will be at the family gathering or what restaurant you are going to, in order to plan out what you will eat with your dietitian.

  • Self Care/Coping Skills:  We know that the holidays bring more stress and overwhelm so planning ahead on how you can work through it, is helpful. Here are a few questions to ask yourself.  If you do not know the answer, they are great questions to bring to your therapist to help you brainstorm.

    • Where would be a safe place for me to go to get a breath of fresh air and regroup myself?

    • What are three of my go to coping skills that I can engage in when I start to feel overwhelmed?

    • How can I practice being in the present moment when the eating disorder voice pops in?

  • Establish your Boundaries:  Spend time identifying your boundaries.  Here are a few examples of topics you may want to set boundaries around.

    • Food Talk

    • Exercise Talk

    • Comments about your body or someone else’s body

    • Comments around what you have on your plate

    • Pictures taken

    • Physical touch

    • Politics

    • Diets

The next step is to keep your routine. While going through treatment for eating disorders, it can feel a bit out of control to let the eating disorder go. This fear of not feeling in control tends to increase during the holidays. It is important to be able to follow a routine when other things start to feel out of control.  This may look like keeping your meal and snack times the same and following the same bedtime and wake up routine.  

The last step is don’t skip your appointments.  I know the holiday season is a busy time.  However, that often means that you need extra time to take care of yourself.  While in recovery, attending therapy, seeing your dietitian, or going to the doctor, may be the best self care you can participate in to help you stay focused on your ultimate goal of full recovery.  

If you are looking for more tips on navigating the holidays, check out this blog! If you or someone you know is in need of support during the holiday season, please reach out to us at Serendipity Counseling Services.  We are happy to help you navigate this season and plan ahead!

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