Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Help For the Holidays


My eating problems always seem to be worse during holidays or special occasions. What can I do?

Holidays and special occasions are often very stressful periods for individuals with food and weight problems. The emphasis on spending time with family and on celebrating with food can be very difficult. Based on past experience, and an understanding of yourself and of the people close to you, you may be able to avoid, or cope constructively with, uncomfortable situations. For example:

Predict high stress times and places; decide which events you will and won't attend, and plan to have some time to yourself to restore yourself and take care of your own needs.
Predict which people might make you most uncomfortable and plan appropriate ways of excusing yourself from their company.
If at all possible, allow yourself to enjoy a moderate amount of "special occasion foods."
Predict what people might say that would lead you to feel uncomfortable. Plan and practice responses. Ask people not to comment on your body, appearance, or eating habits.
Predict negative thoughts that you might have during the holidays, and practice thinking differently.
Carry with you a list of phone numbers of friends and crisis lines, and a list of self-soothing activities.

It may be helpful to realize that the "picture-book" holiday sense is not a reality for many people. Some cannot afford it, there are many single people who are not close to their families or do not have a family, and there are many families that do not fit into the dominant cultural model of "family". Do not blame yourself for family or friendship conflicts. People are not different during the holidays than any other time of the year. Remember that you are responsible only for your own actions and for taking care of yourself.

For more info:NEDIC Bulletin: Vol. 7, Coping With the Holidays

National Eating Disorder Information Centre (NEDIC)

200 Elizabeth Street 7ES-421

Toronto, ON MSG2C4

Ph: (416) 340-4156 (888-633-4220)

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