Eating Disorders

Vacations and Eating Disorder Recovery

Vacations and Eating Disorder Recovery | Libero Magazine

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Being on spring break this week, I figured why not talk a bit about vacations. Here’s what we all expect and hope for in vacation, right?  For many people with eating disorders, myself included, vacations have a tendency to be anything but relaxing.  Working towards recovery is hard enough in the comfort of our own homes. Taking that battle outside of our comfort zone, into a new place with new foods, new routines, and uncertainty, can be very daunting.

First off, eating out at restaurants.  I think this is a very difficult thing to do any way – not just when you are on vacation – and must be worked on in recovery.  During vacation, it is inevitable, we are going to have to eat at places we aren’t “Comfortable” with.  I mean little mom and pop shops, no clue of the menu, nothing.  Heck, I had to many times this week.  And I can’t say it was without difficulty.

Here are a few tips I use myself to help when dining out.

  • If nutrition information is available, try not to look it up. I know it is tempting, but resisting the urge to do so is a great step away from ED.  The uncertainty of not checking is uncomfortable, but the disappointment of letting the ED win again is far longer lasting.
  • Think about what YOU want, nothing is off limits on the menu. Don’t restrict yourself to the “safe sections,” whatever they may be for you.
  • If you feel pressured to decide what you want to eat quickly when others are around, check out the menu online beforehand.  Be sure not to look at the nutrition info that is also there, and once again don’t limit yourself to the “safe” choices.

It is also important to get adequate snacks when on vacation.

It is all too easy to fall into the trap of thinking that our meals are “too much” or enough to make us not need our snacks. That is totally not true.  Eating disorders want us to believe that, but we really tend to overestimate our portions and snacks are still very important.
Above all else, don’t allow yourself to slip back farther into the eating disorder.  Vacations tend to be, in my experiences, an easy opportunity to fall into eating disorder behaviors.  Not only do vacations cause anxiety about food and routines, the eating disorders seem to be easier to hide because of the setting and lack of routine.

So, how do we go about preventing slip-ups and continuing to nourish ourselves?

  • Make snacks available, find a grocery to buy what you need, and take what you can with you:  Nuts, granola bars, peanut butter, etc.
  • Let those around you know that you will need some help with these things, such as reminding you to eat snacks and helping you find adequate options at restaurants. – I know this is hard! It goes against everything your ED is screaming at you.  Taking that step to ask for reassurance will make staying strong in your recovery so much easier, and keep that forward momentum going. 

So take your next vacation, Spring break or whatever it may be, and make it a vacation from your eating disorder in addition to  a vacation from the daily stresses of school and work.

 

Scott hopes to turn the negativity of his Anorexia into something positive by supporting other men and women who struggle with eating disorders in any way he can. He also hopes to raise awareness of eating disorders in men in order to get better treatment. His message is simple: recovery is possible, and you can achieve it. Some of his hobbies are coffee, cars, and bicycle racing. He is currently studying mechanical engineering and German.


SITE DISCLAIMER: The opinions and information shared in this article or any other Content on our site may not represent that of Libero Network Society. We hold no liability for any harm that may incur from reading content on our site. Please always consult your own medical professionals before making any changes to your medication, activities, or recovery process. Libero does not provide emergency support. If you are in crisis, please call 1-800-784-2433 or another helpline or 911.