Eating Disorder Recovery during the 4th of July

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Holidays are often a challenging time for those struggling with an eating disorder or those in eating disorder recovery. With the added emphasis placed on food and celebration, those afflicted with disordered eating may feel ostracized or struggle to cope with the circumstances. If you find yourself at odds with the holidays, here are five ways you can work to reframe them as positive experiences.

1. Embody true holiday spirit

The definition of a holiday is, “A day of festivity or recreation when no work is done.” While not all folks are exempt from work during the holidays, everyone can use the date to celebrate in a way that makes sense for them or they can find a recreational activity to participate in. These moments of festivity and recreation can be big or small—from setting aside 10 minutes in the morning to reflect on our freedom to celebrating with a big group of friends—it’s important to celebrate in a way that is authentic and uplifting to you. 

2. Make good choices

Holidays are a great time to check in with ourselves about what experiences or acts bring us joy, peace, and wellness. We don’t have to do things that make us miserable, unwell, or triggered. If attending a 4th of July party at the beach where everyone is wearing bathing suits makes you feel bad or uncomfortable, it’s okay to skip it. Instead, ask yourself what activity you would enjoy. Would you rather spend a day in relaxing alone or catching up on household chores? Would you prefer to connect with close friends or spend time with your family? Would you actually like to go to the beach party, despite it being challenging? If that’s the case, go for it! Sometimes working through triggers and negative emotions can be just what we need to progress on our recovery journey. Whatever you choose to do, make sure that it’s your choice and not something you feel pressured into.

3. Wear what makes you feel comfortable

If rocking a bikini makes you feel confident and comfortable, do it! If wearing a bikini makes you feel self-conscious, skip it! Exercising your autonomy with what you choose to wear can be an empowering step in the right direction. In the same vein, remember to allow other people the peace of making their own clothing choices as well. Don’t comment on other’s bodies, clothing choices, or anything else about their appearance. Keep in mind that what others choose to wear is their business, not yours. If someone makes a comment about what you are wearing, simply remind them that you are wearing what makes you comfortable or remind them that it’s not always productive or helpful to have comments about others’ apparel choices.

4. Nourish yourself

Food is just food and no food is good or bad. The important thing is that you nourish yourself and your body. With large, food-centric gatherings or lake get-togethers, those in recovery can have a particularly hard time eating or sticking to a meal plan. If this is the case, it’s best to plan for the holiday. You could meal prep, think about how you will nourish yourself, or enact coping skills if you know the day will be tough. Just remember, keep making the next right choice for your health. Make your wellbeing the priority. 

5. Connect

The holidays often open up time to connect with yourself and others. Try to use the holiday to connect with yourself and continuously check in. How are you feeling? What are you looking forward to? Is there anything you need to or could do to improve your wellbeing? Oftentimes, reconnecting with ourselves and how we are feeling is a great way to feel at peace and promote a sense of calm. We can also take this holiday time to reconnect with recovery and reflect on all of the good it has brought to our lives. In addition, holidays are a great time for connecting with others. Spending time with friends and family is often a great way to celebrate a holiday and can bring you a sense of community and support.

If you are struggling with an eating disorder during the 4th of July, you are not alone. Eating disorders are common and thrive in secrecy—which is why it can be so challenging to take that first step and reach out for help. However, when you are ready, The Emily Program is here to support you through the process and find recovery. From our experience helping thousands of individuals find long-lasting healing, we know recovery is possible for all. Take the first step. Call us at 1-888-364-5977 or visit us online

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