National Eating Disorders Association
Blog

The New Year can be a fresh start for many individuals, and a great opportunity to refocus on goals in the future. However, it can also be a triggering time for individuals who are working to recover or maintain their recovery from an eating disorder. Many individuals wonder what the best way is to approach the new year while being immersed in a society obsessed with weight loss.

Unfortunately, it’s impossible to live in America and not be bombarded with messages about the new diet fad that promises to give you the security of  “optimal” health.

We always think of holidays as a time of celebration, getting together, reflection, and joy. It is supposed to be the time of the year we should feel good about ourselves, get together, and enjoy each other’s company. For our community, for those of us who are experiencing disordered eating or an eating disorder, holidays can be much more than that. It could be a time of stress, anxiety, and worry.

As a child, I lived a life of sexual abuse and high school bullying. As an adult, I found myself engaged in a battle with the most challenging opponent, myself.

Feeling scared, helpless, and hopeless, I had lost all control of my life. As anxiety and depression overwhelmed me, I plummeted into an abyss of mental illness that manifested into an eating disorder (ED) to shield me from the inner turmoil I longed to escape.

The holiday season can provoke overwhelm and worry, with regard to food and our relationships. The interplay between our connections with food and people can become accentuated during this season of densely packed party trays and rooms full of revelers. Gatherings with family, friends, neighbors, coworkers, and complete strangers can become highly triggering, especially when around a snack or dinner table. Exploring the similarities in our relationships to people and food can be the key to increasing feelings of security.

The holidays are hard. They are hard on so many levels and if you have an eating disorder, especially one that comes with a long-standing inner critic (which let’s face it, most do) the holidays are even harder. The holidays are harder because the origins of one’s ED are often rooted in a family dynamic, a family dynamic that is fueled by a difficult attachment as well as our family’s own ED and fat phobia.

The holidays are meant to be the most joyful time of the year. If you suffer from disordered eating or body image issues, however, the holidays can be stressful, lonely, and difficult. Between Halloween and New Year’s Day, we are subject to thousands of marketing messages that make us question the commitment we make to ourselves to be happy, healthy, and safe. By adapting the following tips to overcome triggers - and leaning on this community for love and support - you can alleviate anxiety and focus on enjoying the magic of the season, instead.

Holiday season is approaching with all the hustle, bustle and social gatherings many of which involve eating. For individuals with disordered eating the holidays are a challenging time of the year. Strategies to assist with making eating-related decisions and manage the anxiety that can accompany them can make a difference in one’s ability to participate in the festivities. Here are some recommendations to assist in navigating holiday eating:

Individuals from lower socioeconomic status (SES) backgrounds, including those without health insurance and on public insurance, have extremely limited access to eating disorders (EDs) treatment.

“Pero quiero mas a mis ojos, Pero quiero mas a mis ojos, porque mis ojos te vieron” (But I love my eyes more, because my eyes saw you). I heard this saying or dicho growing up many times. In the Latino culture it is common to use idioms or sayings in times of hardship, joy, and as an everyday expression. 

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