By: Ashlee Malkin, Eissey Campus editor
We’re almost near that time again, guys and gals! The holiday season is a special time of year where everyone gets together and they all shop like there’s no tomorrow, enjoy their holiday vacations, and of course, indulge on turkey and stuffing!
However, not everyone has the urge to stuff their stomachs like the turkeys they eat. Some people out there suffer different eating disorders, ones where they eat too much, called “Binge-eating disorder”, and some where people eat little to anything at all, like Anorexia and Bulimia. Robyn Cruze, an author, struggled with a terrible eating disorder for over a decade. She still struggles with it a bit, but for the most part is recovering, and is helping others that are walking in her old shoes.
Cruze is co-author of a new book, “Making Peace with your Plate: Eating Disorder Recovery” with Espra Andrus. They both shared a few tips to those that are struggling or recovering from eating disorders and have to deal with holiday get-together dinners:
Begin early to tame the holiday terror. People with these disorders probably feel anxious about Thanksgiving coming up soon, and wish they didn’t feel guilty about missing a family event or feel bad when they eat so much ham and pumpkin pie in one sitting and call themselves fat later. “My clients are often petrified as the holidays approach,” says Ms. Andrus, a clinical therapist who works with individuals who suffer from eating disorders. “I help them to cope with feelings like the fear, guilt and shame that can overwhelm them during this time.”
Curb the eating disorder voice. It’s Thanksgiving night, and a young woman is with her family enjoying dinner when the topic is brought up: her eating disorder. They might say several things to her like, “That’s all you’re going to eat?”, “You look so emaciated!” and “You’re so thin, have some more pumpkin pie, sweetie!” “Make a list of things that people might say to you which could trigger eating disorder thoughts, then, on an index card, jot down pro-recovery responses which will help you keep the eating disorder voice out of the celebration.
Give yourself the gift of enjoying the meal. The holidays shouldn’t be all about the food, they’re about the family, friends and other people you spend them with. “Plan ahead of time with your dietician which food options and serving sizes you might select in the event that you can only hear the eating disorder’s voice telling you what or how much to eat,” says Ms. Andrus. “If you can hear your body’s wise voice about what it needs and wants at the time of the meal, it is perfectly acceptable to go with that instead.”
“After 10 years of recovery I don’t get the fuss and food surrounding the holidays,” said Ms. Cruze. “All it takes is a little planning!”