If You've Ever Had An Eating Disorder, These 21 Tips Will Help You Get Through The Holidays
Invaluable advice from people who have been there.
If you live with or are in recovery for an eating disorder or disordered eating, food-centric holidays can be hard for a million different reasons.
So to help you get through — and actually enjoy yourself — we asked members of the BuzzFeed Community, as well as Dr. Dena Cabrera, certified eating disorders specialist and Executive Clinical Director of the Rosewood Center for Eating Disorders, for their best tips.
1. Think about what holiday-specific triggers you might run into so you can put some coping mechanisms in place.
2. Make a plan ahead of time with your therapist, physician, nutritionist, or whoever else makes up your support team.
3. If you are worried about there being "safe" foods available, offer to bring a side dish you feel comfortable eating.
4. Let go of the notion that the holidays mean you should be happy.
5. Tell your family what comments and phrases make you uncomfortable.
6. Do all your favorite self-care activities in the days leading up to the food-centric holiday.
7. Come up with secret signals with people who support you in your recovery to alert them when you need some time or are triggered.
8. Make sure to eat breakfast and lunch as you normally would before a holiday dinner.
9. If people start making annoying comments about what you're eating, just smile and don't reply.
10. Text someone who knows what you're going through so you can support each other.
11. Throwback to the non-food-related holiday activities you enjoyed as a kid.
12. Plan reasons to leave the room ahead of time so you have an excuse when you need a breather.
13. Pick a seat at the table where it's easier to exit without drawing attention to yourself, just in case.
14. Focus on nostalgic foods that remind you of happy memories.
15. Wait until the people who comment about your eating are gone to enjoy your favorite parts of the meal.
16. Find a way to give back or support others.
17. Journal your thoughts and feelings before the meal.
18. Ask someone to keep you accountable in whatever way you need.
19. Concentrate on socializing and enjoying the company of others.
20. Forgive yourself if the day is hard for you and doesn't go the way you want it to.
21. And finally, don't push yourself — if you feel like you can't be around certain people or food in order to stay in recovery, then don't.
For more help and information, check out the National Eating Disorders Association.
You can also reach their hotline at (800) 931-2237 or text "NEDA" to 741741 to be connected with a trained volunteer at Crisis Text Line.
And always remember to consult with your doctor about your personal health and wellness. BuzzFeed posts are for informational purposes only and are no substitute for medical diagnosis, treatment, or professional medical advice.