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When in recovery from an eating disorder, the Holidays can be full of fear foods and different foods we may not be used to. At this point, you’ve made it through Thanksgiving, but there can still be quite a bit of challenging food ahead of you in the holiday season.
There are lots of holiday parties, New Year’s Eve, and so on, so why not make the most of it–challenge yourself and advance your recovery while enjoying your holidays? Before, I have talked about how to focus on family and what matters about the holidays when we encounter challenging foods during the holidays.
This year, however, I would like to focus on taking the holidays as an opportunity to challenge yourselves rather than simply making it through them.
I just wrote on how challenging ourselves with fear foods can be very advantageous in our recovery, so why not take advantage of this during the holidays?
There are plenty of opportunities to try new foods and new situations to try them in. Not only will challenging yourself with fear foods during the holidays help your recovery in the long run, it will also help your holidays by allowing you to socialize at parties without worrying too much about the food. In addition, having loved ones and things to focus on other than food also helps reduce anxiety and makes it easier to overcome your fear foods.
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An example from my experience is Christmas breakfast.
My family always has breakfast on Christmas morning, and it is usually something involving eggs and bacon with cinnamon rolls or the like. During recovery, and to this day, my breakfast was typically something along the lines of oatmeal or cereal. A breakfast like the one we usually do for Christmas is quite a bit different than my usual and was a bit of a challenge because of that. It was also challenging because bacon or sausage weren’t foods I was very comfortable with at the time. However, this was a great opportunity to challenge myself and grow in my recovery.
New Year’s Eve can also be quite challenging.
For me, New Year’s Eve is always a lot of party food and snacks. These can be especially hard because they often don’t fit nicely into your meal plan and seem like extra food on top of the meals you are supposed to eat.
Challenging ourselves by eating these foods at parties without reducing our intake at other meals helps greatly in normalizing our relationship with food. And I mean really challenging yourself, not just eating celery from the veggie tray. When we are able to eat chips, cookies, and appetizers like everyone else is and understand it doesn’t need to be taken out of a meal elsewhere, we begin to realize it is okay to have extra to eat sometimes, especially when it allows us to socialize with others.
So I challenge you to challenge yourself this holiday season. Use the time spent with friends to also further your recovery and build yourself a better future.
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