Last Minute ED Recovery Tips for Thanksgiving Survival

November 27, 2019 Mary-Elizabeth Schurrer

It's official: The holiday season has arrived, and Thanksgiving is just around the corner which means that eating disorder (ED) survival tips are now more important than ever. This time of year is known for family traditions and cultural festivities, but it can also feel like a burden if you are in recovery from an eating disorder. Maybe there's a relative who points out the number of calories everyone is about to consume at the dinner table. Perhaps your well-intentioned grandmother hounds you to take seconds on dessert or the conversation detours to how "healthy" and "normal" your weight has started to look.

Between all the food on display and the less-than-tactful remarks from certain people, you might need extra help to navigate this occasion. Here are some last-minute Thanksgiving ED survival tips to remain on-track with ED recovery. These have worked for me personally, and I hope you find solace in them too.        

5 ED Recovery Tips to Survive Thanksgiving and Maintain Recovery

  1. Fight the temptation to restrict breakfast or lunch in preparation for Thanksgiving dinner. While it might seem like a harmless idea to skip meals earlier in the day and save calories for dinner, you still need to follow a nutritious, balanced eating plan for breakfast and lunch. This reduces the likelihood of a binge later in the afternoon or evening too.   
  2. Avoid body- and food-shaming talk, even if that means you back off from the discussion. Mainstream culture and the media have normalized conversations that focus on weight loss diets or exercise goals, but these topics can be detrimental to a recovery mindset. So if people trigger you with their comments, then you have a right to walk away. 
  3. Be mindful of what you are thankful for instead of only fixating on the stress and tension. It's easy to obsess about all the reasons why Thanksgiving is difficult, but the entire purpose of this holiday is to feel and express gratitude. With that in mind, intentionally connect with those you love, be present in the relationships, and create memories together.    
  4. Enlist a safe, trusted person to hold you accountable and offer emotional support as needed. Whether it's a parent, sibling, friend, or therapist, find someone who can help you run interference if you start to become overwhelmed. With this individual's support, you can initiate boundaries and establish coping skills for those moments of anxiety.
  5. Make time for self-care rituals or activities, both leading up to the meal and after it's over. Sometimes you just need to retreat from the group and carve out alone time for a while, so be unapologetic about your own self-care as the day unfolds. Walk outside for 30 minutes, curl up with a book after the meal, or find a quiet area to practice conscious breathing.

Have you experienced success with any of these ideas in the past, or can you think of other last-minute Thanksgiving survival tips for ED recovery? Share what helps you maintain eating disorder recovery in the comment section below.

APA Reference
Schurrer, M. (2019, November 27). Last Minute ED Recovery Tips for Thanksgiving Survival, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 13 from

Author: Mary-Elizabeth Schurrer

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