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Holidays are a time for pretty decorations, lights, shopping, gift-giving, visiting family – and of course, traditional and festive food. It’s common for all of these things to cause stress, fears, and certain behaviors during this time of year. Common fears include wondering what you’re going to eat and how you’re going to keep yourself safe before, during, and after a meal. However, this holiday season can be successful. You have the power to choose recovery and make a change! Here are some tips to stay focused on your recovery while enjoying the season:
• Review Skills: Before you arrive at the home of a family member or friend for a meal, review some skills from your Remuda binder: in the moment, act opposite to emotion, deep breathing, journaling, wisdom, wise mind, and affirmations. You may even want to establish an accountability or support person who you can count on to be available if you need to ask for help.
• Follow Your Meal Plan: Once you arrive at the house and greet everyone, see what’s available before you select your food. Think about the choices you can make in order to meet your meal plan requirements. What are the options for grains, proteins, vegetables, others, fruits, or dessert? If you select something that you don’t particularly like, it’s okay to choose something different. Eat portions that are based upon the portioning guide. You deserve to enjoy festive and traditional foods during the holidays, including dessert! Be careful not to label foods as good vs. bad or healthy vs. unhealthy. Remember balance, variety, and moderation. All foods fit! After the meal, if urges for a certain behavior are high, practice your skills by engaging in conversation or playing a game.
• Do Not Isolate: If you need to step out of the house for a moment, that’s okay. Do some deep breathing, but don’t isolate yourself. Call upon your support person, talk about your feelings, and run through the skills. Then, go back into the house and try again. • Stay On Track: An eating disorder will often tell you to skip meals if you know that you’re going to a holiday party, but your holiday meal is already included in your meal plan. It is as much a part of your total daily meals as any other meal. Say no to the urges and continue to have three meals and snacks to set yourself up for a successful day. If you have a strong urge to restrict yourself, write out a pros and cons list. Remember: Your road to recovery takes practice. Choose to use this prime opportunity to fight against these urges.
• Enjoy The Season: Most importantly, allow yourself to enjoy the season. Holidays can be full of fun and laughter. Create new and positive memories this year!
by Leah McCulley