The Relationship Between Eating Disorders and the Holidays
The lovely holidays are here and many of us dread them and what happens after these events. Even if we hate to admit it, these holidays are often surrounded by food, big meals to leave you wanting more or even saving some for later. Even if we don’t celebrate them, there’s still a lot of advertisement surrounding food and it comes to the point where we can’t avoid it.
It might bring issues to those who are battling eating disorders or are recently rehabilitated as we’ve found ourselves surrounded by the main issue, but this time, there are people around us that might be watching us. Certain comments from people that might not be aware of it, as well as those who do know but have no clue how to approach the subject lightly, might cause them to slowly slip into the awful mindset that this disorder brings. It takes a lot of work and time to fight it as well as keep a steady front for those that might try getting to us and strength will be our best friend during this season.
Pressure to maintain the perfect image
Proving that we carry a picture-perfect life is often what we try to do to hide the real underlying issues that we fight daily, with the idea that speaking up about our problems might make people uncomfortable and ruin the holidays is a way to avoid the problem and stop attention from heading our way as people might come up with questions we are not ready to answer or comments which we are not ready to take. It is a big step to set boundaries and an even bigger one to let others know that you are not in your best moments. This issue of hiding what’s going on inside is dreadful as it slowly starts to consume our mind, causing us to overthink every single thing that is going on, “did I eat too much?”, “did they notice I didn’t eat enough?”, “Are they looking at me?”, “Will they comment on my appearance?” Many questions make the holidays a living hell for our mental health, causing an outcome that does not end well for us. The fallout of the holidays always leaves us alone to pick up the pieces and keep going with what we once had. Working with ourselves harder is key but not always our first option.
Consequences to this might be letting go of treatment altogether, thinking it is not an issue at all and minimizing it only for it to slowly grow back as we can’t really ignore it.
One night shouldn’t define our hard work process and a small break for the sake of it might be something to look up for but the other way of looking at it is testing ourselves, putting our strength on the line, to see if we can resist after all our hard work, though, these might not be suitable for everyone I recommend preparing yourself for the holidays with a psychologist as they have the proper tools to help us during these situations.
Judgment doesn’t come from a good place
Only you know the fights you’ve fought and how much you’ve put into them. Your path is yours and no one should judge you on your journey as they might not be one in the best interest of you. Trying to prove how much better we are at how we have lost a big amount of weight feels good for a moment, of course, but then what happens when people comment on the little things? Doing these things makes them feel entitled to give you their opinion and word of mind but in reality, you don’t owe them anything.
Now, if one might slip, perhaps break a rule that they had previously stated to keep their treatment in place, there shouldn’t be any regret, and hurt. No one is perfect, absolutely no one and in the event where the pain course is food, it is absolutely hard to ignore it. From first-hand experience, the feeling of dread as if all the treatment had meant nothing, it is not true. The guilt is momentarily and the treatment is still going. You are still going strong, just pick it up right after, make sure you know your boundaries and have a plan if these are crossed.
Self-work is up there in the list of important things to do as we can’t function if our minds and bodies aren’t working properly and sometimes we won’t have all the tools needed to do this self-work. Even if the word “self” is in the statement, it is necessary that we ask for help from those that we know can provide it to us. Professionals and experienced people in the field.
There are several ways we can get help and get others to understand our situation, help them understand the process that we are going under and how it affects us and our environment.
But also for us to be around people that understand our issues first hand and are going through recovery as there are special group meetings that are supervised by specialists.