The transition back to the family table, social eating, and meal preparation can be a very challenging part of eating disorder recovery. Our culinary groups provide a wonderful opportunity to engage in hands-on activities that support tolerating the sights, sounds, atmosphere, and experience of the kitchen in an approachable manner.
The changing seasons often trigger a myriad of emotions in individuals with eating disorders. These emotions can range from excitement, anticipation, and joy, to fear, worry, and dread. Many of these emotions revolve around the seasonal variety of foods that are served during the fall and winter holidays. Holiday foods can often be “fear foods” or “trigger foods” for patients with eating disorders. In addition, many holidays are centered around social eating.
Normalizing eating behaviors is one of the main goals during eating disorder treatment and recovery, and a process that is particularly challenging. Individuals with eating disorders often have elevated anxiety and describe extreme beliefs about the potential consequences of eating.
With the new year in full swing, we are bombarded with post-holiday diet talk and “new year, new you” messages that inevitably encourage New Year resolutions centered on outward transformation. We see this trend year after year, yet, research suggests that 95% of diets fail (note: diets fail, not you). In addition, for individuals in recovery from an eating disorder, these messages can be triggering and can quickly interrupt hopes for freedom from disordered eating.
Recovering from an eating disorder requires intentional effort, and people often look for guidance on how to prioritize goals that support a positive recovery. One of the main priorities shown in research to enhance recovery is improving the body’s nutritional state. When an individual is engaged in eating disordered behaviors, they become poorly nourished. An inadequate nutritional state perpetuates these behaviors, which make treatment and recovery more difficult. Therapy and medication are also less effective in a malnourished state further highlighting the importance of targeting proper nutrition for a more positive outcome.