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Posts Tagged “Holidays”

January 3, 2024

A Non-Diet Approach to New Year’s Resolutions

It’s the start of a fresh new year, which, for many, signals the kick-off of “resolutions season.” There is nothing fundamentally wrong with using the turn of the calendar as an opportunity for self-reflection and goal-setting. However, if your intentions for 2024 hinge on diet and weight loss, they’re likely to do more harm than good. 

Despite the aggressive push of January weight loss and fitness ads, your body is not a “project” to be fixed, and your health is about so much more than a number on the scale or an arbitrary appearance goal. Diet culture resolutions are incredibly problematic, especially for those struggling with, recovering from, or susceptible to developing an eating disorder. Dieting is a key risk factor for eating disorders and interferes with the process of developing a healthy relationship with food. What’s more, when striving for an unattainable state (weight loss diets are designed to fail), feelings of guilt, shame, and inadequacy aren’t far behind.

If you want to adopt a New Year’s resolution, we encourage you to examine your motivations and set your goal with your recovery in mind. Spend some time identifying what’s truly important to you (e.g., learning a new skill, growing your self-confidence, practicing gratitude, making more time for rest, etc.), and disassociate any potential resolutions from weight loss or body size. Use the examples in this blog to inspire your own resolution-setting. Note that some of these suggestions may not be appropriate for everyone; please work with your recovery team or modify the examples to suit your unique recovery needs.

December 7, 2023

Happier Holidays: How to Be a Recovery Ally this Season

The “most wonderful time of the year” is often anything but for those battling an eating disorder or working toward recovery. It should come as no surprise that the holiday season is frequently a time for relapse or exacerbation of eating disorder symptoms. After all, the much-beloved traditions and events this time of year are teeming with potential triggers. Increased exposure to fear foods, activities centered around eating, and extended time with family can magnify an individual’s struggles.

For a peek behind the curtain of these illnesses, consider a holiday meal at a relative’s home. Being immersed in a group setting can elicit tremendous pressure for those in recovery, particularly around the holidays when the expectation is to engage in the “normal” food and social activities of the season. Those in any stage of recovery may avoid holiday gatherings altogether out of the fear that every eye will be on them, silently (or not so silently) assessing their appearance, weight, and the contents of their plate. 

October 31, 2023

How to Help Patients Navigate the Holiday Season in Recovery

With the abundance of food, shared mealtimes, and large social gatherings, the holiday season can be immensely difficult for anyone living with or recovering from an eating disorder. Even as we shift into a more “normal” routine after pandemic-related disruptions, we continue to witness the impact of the last few years on people with eating disorders.

According to Hilmar Wagner, MPH, RDN, LN, CD, there are four key aspects of successfully navigating the holiday season while in eating disorder recovery. His method for a successful holiday is called P.R.E.P., which you can use in your work with your patients to support them this holiday season and beyond.

December 28, 2022

Rethinking Resolutions: Setting Goals That Support Eating Disorder Recovery

It happens every January, almost without fail: the hyper-focus on losing weight and getting in shape can make the early months of the year difficult for anyone to navigate. This social pressure to engage in weight-related New Year’s resolutions can make the start of the year a particularly complicated time for those in eating disorder recovery and their loved ones. Taylor Rae Homesley, LPC, CPCS, CEDS-S, Clinical Director at our Child, Adolescent & Adult Hospital in Atlanta, encourages us to proactively rethink the way we approach long-term goal setting, reject diet culture, and reclaim the start of the year as a time for renewal and recovery.

November 23, 2022

Navigating the Thanksgiving Table: A Letter for Those in Eating Disorder Recovery

A note upfront: you will get through Thanksgiving this year.

You will get through this day supercharged with expectations of gratitude, joy, and togetherness. This day when seemingly everyone is eager to take to the kitchen and prepare their assigned dish, presenting it to a table of revelers ready to express their thankfulness over an abundant feast.

You will get through this day that marks the first in a series of seasonal holiday gatherings in which family dynamics and food compete for the center stage–for better or for worse.

Thanksgiving can push the limits of eating disorder recovery in so many ways. It is fraught with the potential for triggers, whether you are well-established in your healing journey or are in the throes of an eating disorder.

Know the lessons from this day will be abundant. Moments that challenge your recovery may be abundant. Ultimately, your growth will be the most abundant. You can and will get through this.

October 27, 2022

Celebrating Halloween in Eating Disorder Recovery

Halloween can be scary in more ways than one for people with eating disorders. Being surrounded by candy, wearing a costume, and attending social events are some of the potential triggers this holiday can bring. Despite these challenges, it is possible to celebrate in a recovery-friendly way. 

Read on for helpful tips on how to enjoy Halloween while also prioritizing your eating disorder recovery.

December 21, 2021

Holiday Dos and Don’ts for Those in Eating Disorder Recovery

The holiday season can be a complicated and difficult time for those in eating disorder recovery. Stress and anxiety can increase with the presence of food and the large amount of time often spent with family members, both immediate and extended. It can also be hard for people to know the best way to support their loved ones in recovery. In order to make this holiday season a little bit more tolerable, we have created a list of dos and don’ts for those in recovery, as well as for the people who support them.

December 6, 2021

Hope for the Holidays

Nearly two years into the pandemic, we continue to feel its deep impact on our lives. COVID-19 has changed the way we live, the way we work, and the way we spend our time. It has taken 750,000 lives from us and impacted the physical and mental health of countless more.

This holiday season, Mark Warren, MD, MPH, FAED, Chief Medical Officer of Veritas Collaborative, joins us to reflect on the continued impact of COVID on those with eating disorders and look forward to a year of hope and better health.

November 23, 2021

Self-Care During the Holiday Season

During the holiday season, it can be easy to get wrapped up in festivities and family. Thanksgiving can be especially stressful for those struggling with an eating disorder because most households celebrate with food. Having to navigate this food-centric holiday with an eating disorder just adds to the chaos often experienced around this time. This blog aims to keep you mindful of yourself and your recovery during the holidays ahead.

October 27, 2021

Halloween with an Eating Disorder Can Be Scary

Along with cozy sweaters and pumpkin patches, fall also brings Halloween, which, like many other holidays, can be triggering for individuals struggling with an eating disorder. Food that is considered by diet culture to be “bad,” like candy and cookies, are often a huge part of celebrations, and choosing a costume may be fraught with body image concerns and the pressure to look a certain way.

In this post, we’ll discuss why Halloween can be difficult for anyone actively coping with an eating disorder as well as those in recovery. We’ll also cover how to navigate those anxious feelings and how to find alternative ways to enjoy the holiday if you’re not feeling up to traditional activities.

November 16, 2020

Episode 21: Eating Disorders and the Holidays

Episode description:

Kezia Reeder is a former Emily Program client and staff member and a continual advocate for eating disorder recovery. In this episode of Peace Meal, she joins host Dr. Jillian Lampert to describe her holidays with an eating disorder.

“I feel like I was constantly stressed from Thanksgiving through New Year’s Eve,” Kezia says. “It’s supposed to be a time of celebration and… in the United States, a lot of our celebration centers around gathering for a meal.”