The festive holiday season is right around the corner. That means loads of food, parties, and family gatherings. If you are one of the 8 million Americans who suffer from an eating disorder such as anorexia, bulimia, or Binge Eating Disorder, all of these celebrations may mean you’ll have to take extra care to keep your symptoms under control so that you don’t relapse.
Here are a few tips to help you gain better control over your eating disorder this holiday season:
- Prepare for triggers: There are certain situations that can trigger unhealthy eating behaviors, such as binge eating. For example, a lot of people tend to overeat when they are stressed out. Recognize situations that make your stress cross the threshold levels. A mere acknowledgement of such situations is helpful. When you face them, you can remind yourself that you are doing the best you can and have healthy coping mechanisms in place.
- Reach for protein: Several studies have shown that a diet rich in protein can kick up the blood levels of hormone leptin, which is responsible for sending signals of satiety to the brain. During the holidays, stay away from carbs, fats, and sugars as much as possible and eat more proteins. Vegetable sources of protein, such as beans, nuts, and whole grains, score over animal sources like T-bone steak because of their low fat content.
- Move your body: Exercise has been proven to stave off the urge to overeat. Regular and moderate physical activity will not only regulate your eating habits, but also build your self-esteem, which will in turn help you accept your body as it is so that you don’t feel the urge to engage in eating disorder behavior. Find time during the holidays to get your body moving, even if it’s just a brisk after-dinner walk around the neighborhood.
- Learn to ignore criticism: If you notice relatives whispering about your changed body shape, or your bold aunt points out how much weight you’ve gained or lost since you last saw her, don’t let it ruin your holiday. Learn to ignore these types of comments and concentrate on what you like most about yourself. If you are getting eating disorder treatment, you can learn how to handle situations like these and gain the self-confidence needed to brush them off.
- Have support on speed dial: If your disordered eating behavior is triggered, have someone you can call before you engage in them. Having someone to share your dilemma or anxieties with helps a lot in effectively dealing with eating disorder symptoms. Whether it’s a family member or close friend, have people who you know can offer you sympathy and support when you need it most so you don’t relapse.
- Engage in holistic practices: Despite all of the festivities, the holidays can also mean a lot of free time. You can capitalize on the free time to sign up for yoga and meditation classes. Both of these practices have been known to have a therapeutic impact on the mind, and help curb cravings.
The holidays can bring along a great deal of frustration and stress for those struggling with an eating disorder. However, if you keep the above suggestions in mind and continue your resolve to get eating disorder treatment, you will be able to have a more festive and enjoyable holiday season.
Find more ways to control your eating disorder and prevent relapse during the holidays here.