Getting Through the Holidays with Eating Disorders

By Sarah Hunt, AZFB Communications Intern



Eating disorders are far more common than you think. You or a loved one may be dealing with the symptoms of this during the holidays. It is important to be mindful of others and/or your own struggles during this time.

Thanksgiving and Christmas are both holidays that revolve around big meals on the actual holiday, and tons of snacks and desserts during the month of the holiday. This can be very challenging for people who want to spend time with their family, but don’t want to be where everyone is eating and be tempted by the food.

“It’s estimated that 30 million Americans have struggled with an eating disorder at some point over their lifetime, says Claire Mysko, CEO of the National Eating Disorders Association. That breaks down to 20 million women and 10 million men,” according to the US News Health division.

This excerpt from an article by Well+Good gives great insight on what others go through during this time.

“During this particular time of the year, we’re expected to eat, enjoy, connect, and take pleasure over food, but these are all things that the overarching context of diet culture has made us feel bad about,” adds Christy Harrison, RD, an intuitive eating coach and anti-diet dietician.

Diet culture, as Harrison has defined for Well+Good in the past, is a system of beliefs prevalent in American society that equates thinness to health and moral virtue; promotes weight loss as a means of attaining higher health status, moral status, or social status; and arbitrarily labels some foods as “good” and others as “bad.”

She says that for many people, the holidays are a “perfect storm of expectations of celebration and ‘indulgence’ meeting up with the demonization of certain foods and the fear of weight gain.

In the past, at my own Thanksgiving dinners, innocently-intentioned comments like “you go girl!” or “someone’s hungry!” as I scooped a second helping of stuffing onto my plate ended with me crying over the toilet throwing up the meal I spent most of the day cooking.

“I’m constantly wondering if I’m being judged taking too much food or going back for seconds, overthinking every single thing that goes onto my plate, and those feelings can be super isolating,” adds Gold. “When I’m on my own I feel totally fine, but when I’m with my family for the holidays, it all resurfaces in a really terrible way.”

Cut to an onslaught of restrictive behaviors before the big meal (like not eating the entire day of Thanksgiving to “save up” for dinner), or exercise-based purging in the days that follow.”

To continue reading the article, click here.

To find more facts on eating disorders, call a counselor, or take a diagnostic quiz for eating disorders, click here.

Call the National Eating Disorder Association at 800-931-2237 if you are in crisis or need someone to talk to. You can also chat with them online or text them during limited hours; see details here.

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