We may have people in our life that know about the struggles to follow a meal plan, learn to eat intuitively or not binge,purge, etc. that you contend with on a daily basis. However they might not realize that because of all the changes in schedule, this may bring up lots of uncertainty which for many of you might mean anxiety.
Combine this with what I call “holiday eating expectation” season, eating based on your goals may seem extra difficult. Holiday eating expectation is the partial projection of what you think everybody else thinks about your eating and a very real desire for people around you to want you to be “normal”. After all, it’s the holidays and the disordered eating is supposed to go away right? (I hope you know I am being sarcastic)
I do think this is born out of the expectation that we are all supposed to do more, be around people that we don’t always see often (maybe for good reason) and be happy about it. So to think in situations where more emotion will be created that coping with food WOULDN”T happen is unrealistic for everyone.
Which is why I am writing this post. Between the experiences of Thanksgiving and the get-together experiences I am hearing about from clients and seeing on social media, I think we need a reminder.
If you are on a meal plan, you do still need to follow it. Yes I know that more things will come up, trips to the store, events that don’t match you meal time will happen. This is where you must use your perfectionism to bring snacks, adjust to the food available or all in all be willing to get your food in.
If you are fearful of a bigger variety of food, remember that by not getting too hungry, by taking time every day to get other parts of yourself nourished, you are less likely to need food for filling up anything else besides your physical hunger.
This is what you are responsible for. However if you are having a moment where the food feels really hard and you need to get back to basics to re-center and someone expects you to be different, this is where you really must do what is best for you. Even if that means skipping that second party of the day or only staying a bit so that you don’t restrict, don’t allow others’ desires for how you should be make you feel like taking care of yourself is the wrong thing to do.
Is it really better to say yes to a food you are afraid to eat in a public setting if you are already sure you can’t do it yet without restricting or binging later? Please take time to realistically assess how much and when you can push yourself and when to say, “this is what I need to do to stay on track”
I know maybe a few hard or awkward conversations. But this is your recovery and your life and you have teach people how you want to be treated. Assertiveness is a part of recovery
Tell us below what situations you know you can push yourself the next two weeks, where you need to do the basics, what kind of boundary expectations you need to have.
I can remember when Holidays were an extremely difficult, anxiety provoking time for me. I remember being afraid of the loads of cookies and brownies that my mom would store in the refrigerator, the fear of having to eat in front of others at a Holiday brunch, having them watch my food choices or judge how much I did or didn’t eat and having to be with my family for an extended amount of time… how did I do it? Yoga, practicing saying “No” when I felt overwhelmed by my family’s demands and promising myself that I would always eat at least something when I was at a gathering. I practiced eating 1 cookie so the “fantasy” of it didn’t take over my mind every time I opened the fridge, or cause me to wait for a late night binge session. I allowed myself to let go of the pressure of being the happiest person in the room, I found comfort in being peacefully present, taking the time to step away from all the hustle and bustle when needed.
I hope everyone found different tools and “battle strategies” to get them through the Holidays. With continued practice the Holidays will become a time you look forward to and thoroughly enjoy, perhaps even more than ever before.
Recovery is possible and you are worth the time it takes.