National Eating Disorders Association

'Tis the Season...For Hope & Recovery

Stacey Rosenfeld, PhD, CGP

'Tis the season. It’s hard to escape the holiday season without talk of New Year’s weight loss resolutions, diet plans, tactics to burn off holiday meals and similar content, easily triggering for those with eating disorders. The holidays can be challenging times for those who struggle. Food, families and stress can make festivities less than festive for some. Recovery is often accomplished hour by hour, minute by minute, and freedom might seem miles away.

But there are also lights of health and hope that can buoy us, both daily and particularly during disquieting times. As we progress into the winter months, I’m struck by the strong voices of recovery--and change--I’ve recently encountered:

From the inspiring interview I did with Erin Konheim Mandras, an athlete and mother who recovered from anorexia, to the wealth of recovery stories over at Eating Disorder Hope.

From the overwhelming energy surrounding the individuals, families, and professionals who descended on Washington for the March Against ED and on Capitol Hill for Eating Disorder Lobby Day--raising their voices for accessible and affordable treatment--to the folks at Project Heal, who offer financial assistance until that goal becomes a reality.

From the record-breaking NEDA Walks occurring across the country to the one-on-one guidance offered at MentorCONNECT, pairing those who are struggling with mentors in recovery, offering community, support and hope.

From the hashtag #thx4support that provided connection and strength during the Thanksgiving holiday to the #recoveryispossible meme, reminding us that yes, in fact, it is.

And from every individual I’ve ever met in recovery who has braved a day in the fight and then woke up the following day to do it again. These are warriors, and their families are too.

Strength in numbers. Eating disorders are powerful, stubborn illnesses, but those who fight them are equally tenacious. Individuals in recovery, their families and friends, and their treatment providers fight relentlessly to tackle symptoms, educate the public and provide a hands-together safety net to help those who slip from falling farther. 

As you navigate the holiday season, notice the “backdrop of disorder” that surrounds the process of recovery. But also be sure to notice the lights of hope, the voices of strength and compassion and the healing power of connection.

Eating disorders are tough, but recovery is possible. 


About the author: Stacey Rosenfeld, Ph.D., CGP is the author of Does Every Woman Have an Eating Disorder? Challenging Our Nation's Fixation with Food and Weight. Learn more at