It’s that time again, when the mulled wine is flowing, turkeys are being stuffed and mince pies are everywhere in sight. Christmas, it’s the most wonderful time of the year? Not if you are battling an eating disorder. If you are one of the many sufferers, you are most likely counting down to a time full of dread, guilt and self-hatred.
There are no words I could write that would magically rid these feelings, but here I have offered some (hopefully) helpful advice, on how to deal with overindulgence and disordered eating, this Christmas.
It’s not always possible or realistic to exercise regularly at Christmas, but if you can, do it. Even if it’s just a stroll on Christmas Day, exercise will keep you feeling positive and healthy even when you’re surrounded by guilt-loaded foods. it will also help keep guilty feelings at bay and discourage binging.
Know Your Limits
Overeating is so easily done at this time of year, it’s cold, it’s a holiday and everyone else is doing it, but it’s important not to lose control of your eating. Know what you can manage and don’t try to push yourself too far at the risk of binging, but at the same time don’t shy away from the kitchen because it’s the easier option.
Don’t Over-Do the Drink
Drinking too much is almost a Christmas Day ritual, but it will only make you lose you inhibitions and therefore your control. Don’t be tempted (as I have been) to drink yourself numb on the run up to dinner to avoid dealing with those unhelpful thoughts and frustrations, it will only make things a great deal worse – trust me.
Recognise the Unhelpful
It’s difficult, but recognising the unhelpful thoughts is almost half the battle. Once you are aware, it is much easier to try and combat them and overcome the guilt pangs.
One positive about Christmas Day is that there are usually people around and it can be easier to find a distraction. If you feel urges coming on, try to distract yourself in some way, go for a walk, anything which will help to remove yourself from the situation and gain some perspective.
Cheesy as it sounds, it’s important to remember how far you have come and the strength you have shown. Don’t let this one day take that your achievements away from you. It’s possible that you will feel out of control but remember that it is just that, one day.
Don’t Give In to the Guilt
This is much easier said than done, and it is unrealistic to not expect any guilt bogging you down, but don’t let it engulf you. After all, it is Christmas and it’s tradition to eat more than you would on a regular day. Providing you stay in control and fight the urge to binge, the guilt you’re feeling is unnecessary, it can be overcome and you can enjoy Christmas.
If you are someone who hasn’t started recovery, and is still suffering with an eating disorder on your own, maybe it’s the time to talk to someone. Coping with these thoughts and feelings can be a lot to deal with, particularly on holidays such as this, it can tend to make you feel even more alone and isolated, increasing the obsession. If, like many, you find yourself plagued with guilt, regret and hatred after Christmas, speak to someone and get help. Don’t spend too much time suffering in silence.