Are you already dreading Christmas? Do you see it more as a time of stress and anguish than of joy and celebration? That’s so normal when you have an eating disorder, because food, being unable to follow your usual routine, and having to handle uncomfortable social interactions, become the center, which should instead be rejoicing at the birth of our Savior and enjoying the magic of the season with your loved ones.
On last week’s post, we started talking about some tips to face Christmas in the healthiest and happiest way possible when you’re recovering from an ED: challenging yourself during Advent, imagining Baby Jesus smiling at you, creating a support system, being rational and signing up for the Jesse Tree of Health Advent Challenge. You can still do the last one by clicking HERE or on the images you can find at the top and bottom of the post!
Now let’s explore some more tips:
Prepare an internal dialogue
Many people are going to speak with you, and they aren’t always going to say the right thing. Plan your answers, maybe not to tell them directly —although it’s great if you can take advantage of any chance to educate them, after all, in general they don’t have bad intentions, only lack of knowledge and too much influence of the rampant diet culture— but to tell yourself so you can remember what’s true:
If they tell you that you look healthy:
Take it as a compliment and don’t assume you look fat. No normal person would want to look sick. And if you aren’t healthy yet, don’t assume you already look as if you were. People say that compared to how you looked before, and with the intention of encouraging you. You’re going to look even much better if you keep going until the end. If, in a tender tone, they go as far as to say you look chubbier or more well fed, remember those are only expressions (in Spain it’s very normal for people to call their friends or significant one “gordi”, with literally means “chubby”) and they don’t actually want to say what the word itself means. Although of course I don’t understand why people use these words either.
If they insist that you eat something or do something that’s uncomfortable for you:
Don’t feel bad for declining and remember you’re taking care of your mental health.
If they make comments about the way you eat:
- How little you eat: you know you’re making your best effort and at home you follow your recovery plan. Be proud of yourself for that.
- How much you eat or how you’re eating things you didn’t eat before: feel good with yourself, because that food is what’s repairing your health. You’re eating what your body needs, despite the struggle, and that’s such an achievement.
- How weird you eat, why do you have to follow certain habits or bring your own food: you don’t have to give explanations, you know why you’re doing what you’re doing and you must protect your recovery process.
If they make comments about the food:
That it was too much, that “we’ve pigged out”, that they aren’t going to eat dinner to compensate, that “now we all have to go on a diet”, that X food is super unhealthy, etc.: feel sorry that diet culture has made such an impact on most people. Fortunately, you’re breaking free and in the future you will not only have a better relationship with food than when you had the ED, but than most people.