Tonight’s Post Patron is Ethos Spa Skin and Laser Center in Summit, New Jersey! Located just outside of NYC, this gorgeous medical spa keeps my skin healthy and bright! Stop in and treat yo’self! 🙂
Hey friends and Happy Monday!
I cannot BELIEVE that Thanksgiving is NEXT WEEK!! Even though it is super late this year, it’s absolutely snuck up on us!
So — just last week, I got a lovely message from one of my Patreon VIP members, with a post suggestion!
For those who don’t know – I have a Patreon, where for as little as $1 a month, you can help support this blog, and get some pretty great perks too – like podcasts of all my posts — or, in this friend’s case — the ability to chose the week’s blog topic!
I am so grateful for all my Patrons, it is what allows me to continue this online desktop ministry!
SO – the requested topic was: Holiday tips when it comes to eating without losing control.
Talk about a “biggie!”
Thankfully, being 12 years strong in my recovery from anorexia, the holidays are no longer a source of fear and anxiety like they were when I was just beginning recovery. But BOY, do I remember those pit-inducing times like they were just yesterday.
The holidays are particularly difficult for people in recovery from eating disorders because it is a season that completely revolves around FOOD. It’s a time of intense “togetherness,” where you’ve got all these eyes on you, and what you are and aren’t eating. You’ll be thrown so many comments by well-meaning loved ones about your appearance, or your recovery. But more than that — there are so many “fear foods” that come with this time of year — and the name of the game is “overindulging.”
So yeah — I just remember feeling almost paralyzed with anxiety whenever this time would roll around.
BUT, in an effort to make this as applicable as possible, I thought I’d broaden the umbrella to include 9 tips on How to Own Your Physical and Mental Health During the Holidays!
1) Know Your “Togetherness” Limits: Take Some “Me” Time
The best thing about the holidays is that you’re with your loved ones. I literally start looking forward to Thanksgiving and Christmas in….about, oh….end of August. I love being with my family.
But, I know that for me to truly be able to be my best self, and be in the moment, fully present, fully joyful — I need some alone time to recharge my batteries.
So don’t be afraid to take an hour for yourself. For me, this looks like going running or taking a walk. If you need to just go up to your room and close the door for an hour, do that. Take an extra long shower. Volunteer to make a grocery run, and then take your sweet, sweet time.
Whatever it is, don’t be afraid to do what you need to do. Because ultimately, it’s going to be the best thing, not only for you – but for your loved ones too.
2) Leave the “All or Nothing” Mindset at the Door
This is a huge one. The “All or Nothing” Mindset is rampant when it comes to eating disorders, particularly binge eating. You have one cookie, and then – BAM – in your mind, you’ve completely “messed up” and so now, that one cookie turns into the entire box, plus the leftover pie in the fridge, ALL the brie cheese, AND the pint of ice cream in the back of the freezer.
The “All or Nothing” Mindset is probably the biggest “sabotager” we have to combat. Part of it is perfectionism. Part of it, is — particularly if you’re restricting — your body is pleading for nutrition, and so it will do anything it can to spark you to adequately nourish it. ((Hence why people binge!))
So — just remind yourself, that you can have a treat, and then go back to your normal routine. No problem. Life goes on.
3) Don’t Let Food Be Your Security Blanket
Another aspect of the whole — food/mind connection — is that when we are emotionally stressed, or emotionally exhausted, or emotionally on edge — turning to food is a common response. I mean, Ben and Jerry’s has become synonymous with breakups, has it not? — A crying, recently dumped girl, crying into a pint of Chunky Monkey, in sweats, watching reruns of Friends. It happens.
And so, naturally, when the holidays roll around, let’s face it — with lots of “togetherness” can come heightened emotions. So yeah — as a result, food can become a source of safety or comfort — be it over doing it, or “under doing it.”
Let food be food.
Find positive coping mechanisms: Journal. Take a walk. Take a moment to yourself and listen to a song. Or take some space.
Keep food in its proper place: as a source of nourishment and fuel for your body.
4) Give yourself some grace
Here’s the long and short of it: find peace in giving yourself permission to enjoy.
Food is freaking delicious. God made it that way to delight us. I mean, seriously: He could have made all food taste the same. Heck — God didn’t have to give us TASTE BUDS either! But He did, because He loves us, and wanted to delight our senses and our tummies.
So allow yourself to enjoy! Yes – you will probably over eat, but it is just one meal. The human body is an incredible machine that is designed to be able to process food. So if you overdo it a little bit, or a lot a bit, give yourself some grace. Forgive yourself, and trust that your body will use what it needs, and discard the rest.
One overindulgent meal is not going to make you get f*t. Just get back on track tomorrow.
5) Keep Food in its Proper Place
And I’m not talking about not eating on the couch in the living room.
The holidays are a time for family. And gratitude. And remembering the birth of Christ, and all the blessings we have.
Don’t let food steal the show.
One of the things I’ve learned is that, it’s not about the meal, but the company. It’s the people you’re with who make the meal, not what’s on your plate.
If you go into the holidays remembering that — remembering why you’re together, and cherishing the time you have with your loved ones, it will put food in its proper place in the pecking order.
6) Move! : Make it a Family Affair!
Staying active is part of staying healthy! So make it a family affair! Take a walk after dinner around the neighborhood as a family. Play a big game of touch football outside while the turkey’s baking. Sign up for a 5K Turkey Trot in the morning as a family. Health is such a beautiful gift to share with loved ones!
7) Have an Ally
Sometimes it can help to have a confidant at the party, with whom you can share your trepidations. Just give them a heads up that you could need a little extra support during “game time.” Knowing that someone is on the same page and knows what you’re going through goes a long way.
8) Realize that People will say Dumb Things
Here’s the thing: an eating disorder is difficult to navigate for all parties involved. And the fact is, sometimes, well meaning relatives or adults can say some pretty stupid things. And the thing about recovery from anorexia is that, yes – your body changes. Your progress is visible to people. And that’s a good thing! But not everyone knows how to react…tactfully. I remember going to a doctor’s appointment right after I got home from inpatient, and my male GI doc goes, “Wow, looks like you found McDonald’s!”
People are going to say dumb things. And just let it roll off you. You’re beautiful. You’re healthy. And you’re reclaiming your life.
9) Power in Prayer
Finally, there really is power in prayer. Sharing with Jesus your fears and anxieties and allowing Him to love you is the best thing you can do to navigate a difficult situation. Rest in His peace. And remember that your worth comes from Him.
This is the best season of the year, and to my recovery warriors: remember that you’re alive to enjoy it. Keep that in perspective. You’ve chosen life. You’ve reclaimed your health. You’ve won the battle, and sadly, not everyone does. Remember how blessed you are.
You survived. Celebrate that.
For more recovery advice, and a guided recovery companion journal, you can order my book, Bloom: A Journal by BeautyBeyondBones by clicking on the link below.
“This is what the Lord says to these bones: I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life.” Ez 37:5
A big thank you to my foundational sponsor, BetterHelp Online Therapy. I cannot begin to express how beneficial therapy was for my recovery from anorexia. Speak with an online therapist. Or check out content about eating disorders from BetterHelp.
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Huge shoutout to my favorite: Ethos Spa Skin and Laser Center in Summit, New Jersey! Located just outside of NYC, this gorgeous medical spa keeps my skin healthy and bright! Stop in and treat yo’self! 🙂
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