National Eating Disorders Association

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Holidays! Food as presents

Hi! I have struggled with eating issues the past 5 or so years and was recently diagnosed with AN b/p subtype. No one in my immediate family knows I struggle and I need it to stay that way. (I’m 22 and in college but live at home)..With the holidays coming up I KNOW that, as always, my parents will stuff my Christmas stocking with sweets.

The problem is that in my current state I know I will b/p with that much sweets around me. I wish I could just tell them to not give me any food but I know they would never understand. I also feel terrible if I just throw it out. I’m so frustrated with everything and am really dreading the holidays at this point :( I wish every social event wasn’t so centred around food!!!! Ughhhh


Maybe asking your family/friends to be more creative, in a polite way? Or maybe even telling them that instead of gifts you want them to donate to your favorite charity? Just some ideas. Sending you love and support. You can do this!


Good suggestion!

Hi Sarcares: I’ve been thinking a lot about this one and feel so much sympathy and compassion for you! How are you finding the lead up to Christmas? Can you tell a friend nearby and ship it all to them as soon as you get it or anything like that? It’s a short term fix but I find I need a few healthy ones in holiday season!xx

Yes, I feel this.

I feel this so hard. I have even not gone to family/friend events because I knew there would be food there. Its hard having an ED, because food is necessary and seems to circle around to everything... But I suppose you could accept the food, but just regift it? I can understand the want to just throw it away, but you don't want to be wasteful- So maybe when you go into work/school you can give it to other people. That way its not wasted. Or regift it, like give it to a homeless shelter or if you are giving a gift to someone after christmas put it in their present.

Edited post

Hi sarcares! We edited some of the language of your post to remove mentions of specific food items, which are not allowed on the forums. You can review our community guidelines here. Thank you for understanding and please continue to post!
Here with you!

I feel this 100%. I live in the Midwest and my mom's family centers everything they do around food. Especially when it comes to the holidays. We ALWAYS get sweets as gifts and I either struggle with binging them or throw them out. I've been dealing with my ED most of my life but it didn't hit full force until a few years ago. Most of the year, I actually do pretty well but when the holidays come around, I am filled with dread and anxiety. It honestly makes me hate the holidays. I also have a lot of food allergies and find myself eating foods that makes me feel sick just to feel included or not hurt somebody's feelings. For a period I tried to bring my own food and got made fun of. It's just a horrible cycle that happens every year for me. I feel your pain. Hang in there. I think asking for donations for charity is a cleaver idea. I plan to try that out next year.

Edited your post!

Hi Mahria - your post had to be edited because you included specifics about disordered eating which can be triggering to others. You can take a look at our Community Guidelines here: Thank you for your help in keeping our forums a safe space, and we hope you continue posting in the new year!