For years, I have dreaded this time of the year.
So much food. Turkey. Stuffing. Cranberry sauce. Pie…
I tried everything to get out of the Thanksgiving and Christmas family get-togethers. One year, I had the perfect excuse — I fell down two flights of stairs, causing minor injuries and a massive headache.
This year I’m looking forward to the holiday.
I know many of you still are not free from your eating disorders, and my heart and prayers go out to you. I’d like to share a few tips for getting through Thanksgiving without too much turmoil:
* Focus on your family and loved ones, not the food.
* Tell your family you’re struggling and that you need support to get through the meal. Many families with teens who have teenagers with anorexia use the Maudsley Approach, which involves parents taking over the meals and eating with their child. This can be modified for adults, having a loved one or significant other sitting down with you and eating.
• Make sure you know how to reach your clinician or psychiatrist if you need him/her.
* Remember the gains you have made in recovery. Write these gains down so you have a visual reminder.
I used these tools to help me get through the holidays, knowing that being around family and loved ones was the most important part.
Now I’m looking forward to being with my family this Thanksgiving. I can honestly say that I have little food fears.
How did I reach this point?
Through a lot of pain and hard work.
When I first started eating “normally” late last winter, I looked at food as the enemy, something to be feared. I told myself that I didn’t really like food, that it all tasted bland and I didn’t crave anything.
The joke was on me. Once I started eating, I started craving some weird things. Like Pop-Tarts. And chocolate. And…
With each bite, the fear lessened, until one day I realized that I had reached my ideal weight and that food didn’t occupy so much of my time.
I’m still working on the body image issues, and I know that my thoughts still will play a role in this Thanksgiving.
However, I am becoming more free each minute. And for that I am thankful.