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December 10, 2013

10 Tips to Holiday Cheer

By Sina Teskey, R.D., L.D., The Emily Program

Eating disorders can make holidays a stressful time. They are often an uninvited guest that wants to join in family and social gatherings. Thoughts about eating, weight, festive parties, and memories of past holidays can bring up anxiety and urges. Instead of isolating, try using these tips and ideas that have helped other people in recovery navigate the holidays.

10 Tips to make holidays enjoyable and less stressful with food:

  • Keep with your meal plan and stick with consistent eating times.
  • Make a game plan for support, food, and activities around holiday functions such as dinners/parties or a get-together. Sometimes structure around what to eat before, there, and after can help ease anxieties.
  • Eat regularly and avoid “saving up” for a meal. This can help control urges and keep your body satisfied and nourished which in turn can help with mood and stress management.
  • Don’t try to do it alone. Reach out for support. Discuss the anticipation of the holidays with your therapist, dietitian, friends, or family members ahead of time.
  • Allow yourself to have fun and not be as rigid with food.
  • Set an intention or goal around the holiday. This can be related to food or also family and relationships and what you hope to get from the time with loved ones.
  • If you’re attending any holiday parties with appetizers try looking at what’s available from each food group before eating to make it less overwhelming.
  • A good general tip for appetizer parties is most “dips” will be a fat exchange if you have 2 Tbsp.
  • Grab a plate and portion out what you want ahead of time.
  • Lastly, remember the good times. Holidays are a time we get to spend with people important to us and even small memories can help future holidays continue to get easier.

Get help. Find hope.