I fucking love Christmas, I really do, but, I also have several eating disorders (joy to the world and all that).
Whether struggling with anorexia, bulimia, binge eating disorder, all three, or you’re in recovery, the sheer prevalence of food during the Christmas season is very difficult to cope with. Festivities which centre around food and family meals are literally inescapable during the holiday season, and can cause tremendous anxiety for people with eating disorders.
I’m no expert, I’m really not, but after 10 Christmas’s both in and out of recovery, I think I’ve learnt a few tricks which for me, helps me get through the day/season.
Reach out – I know this sounds terrifying, and that’s okay, so maybe just letting people know part of the truth is a good idea. Some support is better than none, so if you only tell one person, or just make very vague references to your concerns (I once told my grandma I was got so excited by the presents that I had given myself stomach ache, she was legit heart broken but it let me get away with eating what I was comfortable with without feeling judged).
Manage expectations – It’s important to pace yourself and just do what you can do. Don’t expect yourself to manage a three course meal and 4 mince pies with a tonne of booze on top, for some people that’s just not realistic.
Fuck January – After a period of Christmas binging and overindulgence, come January we are bombarded with messages of “New Year, New You” from a media full of talk about dieting, exercise and weight loss. If your relationship with food, eating and body image is complicated, these mixed messages are understandably problematic and may make your eating disorder especially difficult to manage. My advice would be, sack it off. Every time you see or hear ANYTHING about this, put it in the bin (mind bin). Most people don’t realise how harmful these messages can be, especially to those of us with complicated relationships with food. You’re also not alone in finding these messages really fucking annoying, they are.
Even if you can’t enjoy every aspect of Christmas, do your best to appreciate what you can. On my worst years I would just focus on my dog, and how much he was enjoying the day – I know that is completely insane but it seemed to help.
I hope you have a very merry Christmas, I’m aiming to be pissed by 1pm so my uncle talking about trains becomes mildly interesting.