Thanksgiving is a challenging holiday to navigate if you are one of the millions of people in the country suffering from disordered eating. The holiday can be a bittersweet mix of family, friends, food, and keeping yourself from relapsing into unhealthy patterns. It may be crucial to begin disordered eating treatment if you have not already. Please don’t hesitate to call Red Oak Recovery® at 828.382.9699 for more information about disordered eating treatment.
The Connection Between Thanksgiving and Disordered Eating
The holidays are stressful for many people, and Thanksgiving marks the beginning of this stressful season. For those struggling with food issues, this holiday can be an even more significant challenge. Disordered eating patterns are psychological conditions characterized by disrupted eating patterns. These patterns may involve emotional distress and negative thought loops. Although disordered eating is not discussed as openly as some other conditions, the ramifications can be equally severe. The strain on the body due to lack of nutrition and electrolyte imbalances can cause cardiac arrest, even in the youngest of people. As a result, it is crucial to prevent relapsing into disordered eating patterns.
In a large percentage of individuals struggling with disordered eating, there is comorbidity with mental health issues. Most disordered eating conditions are not about food, despite eating being the preferred method of managing emotional turmoil.
Tips For Managing Disordered Eating During the Holidays
Disordered eating usually begins due to feeling a lack of control over one’s circumstances. When you include family dynamics into the mix, it gets even more complicated. While family surrounds you during this food-centric holiday, it is essential to be present, mindful, and listen to your body.
Seek Out Support
If you have a friend or loved one who understands what you are going through, keep close access to them. You may need someone to help you process your triggers. Expressing your feelings may allow you a better chance to relax and enjoy this time. Additionally, involvement in a support group setting with a professional counselor before the holiday makes a vast difference in what you can handle during the chaos and temptation of the holidays.
Plan in Advance
Planning can provide ample time to set up a game plan that will best address your circumstances. Everyone’s holiday plans and family dynamic are unique, so only individuals know what specific aspects to prepare for. Planning does not have to involve strict rules but instead should focus on being realistic and flexible. Incorporate minor adjustments that won’t be too difficult to stick to.
Be Prepared for Specific Emotional Triggers
Disordered eating isn’t necessarily about food at all. This condition is primarily genetic and biological, which is triggered by environmental stimuli. Stress is a massive trigger for employing coping mechanisms. Many issues stem from dysfunctional family dynamics. Therefore, being around family during this time may arouse old associations and negativity and bring on an episode. Snarky comments, heated disagreements, and generally toxic behaviors can exacerbate your mental state and push you over the edge. Even memories triggered by visual reminders of the past can cause an individual to drift off track. Be prepared for the possibility of this and find ways to pause and take time for you.
Resist Being Consumed by Negative Body Image and Diet Talk
Engaging in unhealthy talk, even in a joking way, can be detrimental. Thanksgiving kicks off the entire holiday season, so the thoughts and actions we engage in can set the tone for the rest of the holiday. While everyone stacks their plates and dives into second helpings of turkey and dressing, many still complain about excess weight, loosen their belts, and talk about when they’re going on a diet. Even those who don’t battle disordered eating will do this for reassurance when they feel guilty or embarrassed about overindulging.
Try your best to eat as mindfully as you can while still enjoying yourself. Ignore the unhealthy diet talk typically heard around the table this time of year because it doesn’t help you or your mental state.
Heal Disordered Eating Patterns at Red Oak Recovery®
Managing disordered eating is difficult while dealing with the chaos and pressure of the holidays. This is due to heightened emotions, stress, lax attitudes about overindulging, and more temptation than people typically face. The holidays are a very vulnerable time for those suffering from disordered eating. However, with the proper therapy, it’s possible to heal. For instance, at Red Oak Recovery®, we offer treatments such as:
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy
- Dialectical behavior therapy
- Group therapy
- Experiential therapy
- Wilderness therapy
Please call us today at 828.382.9699 for help preparing to manage disordered eating during the holidays.