National Eating Disorders Association

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'Tis the season

Hello, my name is Amber and I am currently struggling with Anorexia Nervosa and Bulimia, and have been for about a year or two. I have been officially diagnosed with EDNOS due to the fact that I am not at a low enough weight for anorexia and I do not binge enough calories for Bulimia. In addition, I have been diagnosed with depression, self-harm, and anxiety.
I have been in general terms recovered since around early march, but for the most recent month my ED has been rearing its ugly head. I have been very stressed lately, and I am worried about the holidays coming up. Halloween went ok; slight issues but they passed when I gave all of my candy away for good. However, each Thanksgiving and Christmas my family has a tradition of meeting at my grandparent's house for a big feast. And I do not say feast lightly.
The entire kitchen is stacked miles high with every savory food anyone could imagined. And each year it is expected to eat so much you feel almost sick, and then take home the leftovers for later... I've tried explaining to them this issue, and they just tell me to let loose for the holidays and have fun. They don't understand my problem, and I feel like I need help getting through winter.
My family is supportive, but just a little naïve when it comes to mental illnesses. Once successful meal and I am cured. But, we all know that isn't the truth.

Sorry for rambling on; basically, how do you suggest getting through the holidays? Thank you so much! <3

Hi Amber!!

Hi there Amber!! Thank you so much for your post! I hope I can be of some help for you!!

I am super happy to hear that you have stayed strong in your recovery and that you are taking actions now to try and prevent the ED! That shows a great deal of maturity and strength on your part!!

I agree that the holidays are a time where we need a good plan to prevent the ED from taking away the fun we are supposed to have. And, I can empathize with your feelings regarding your family. It is difficult when we try to explain our challenges and they are not well understood. But no worries here, I can relate to what you are describing!!

My advice is to stay strong with eating only what you need for your meal plan and are comfortable with. If it would be awkward for you to not eat while everyone else is eating maybe you could complete your regular meal in small portions throughout the dinner? That way you are still partaking in everything but are still staying true to your needs. And if there is any question from your relatives maybe just explain you have a stomach ache and you want to take it slow? I know that this isn't exactly the most elaborate of advice but please know that what matters is getting your needs met and you should not feel guilty in advocating for yourself!

I hope this helps!! Please let me know if you have any questions!!