Thanksgiving is a time when many of us count our blessings. It’s a wonderful opportunity to gather with the people we love and acknowledge the things we value. However, it’s important to remember that for someone with an active eating disorder or in recovery from an eating disorder, the holidays can be a challenging time filled with complicated emotions.
Because Thanksgiving is so centered on food, you might feel like you have less control. Food might become an overwhelming fear, and urges for unhealthy behaviors could arise. With everything else also happening on Thanksgiving—attending parties, seeing extended family—it’s no wonder that stress levels are heightened at this time of year.
Keep in mind that these feelings are normal. Give yourself permission to take a little extra time for yourself. Practice self-care and self-acceptance. If you have been through eating disorder treatment, review the coping skills that you’ve learned.
Also, truly focus on the good in your life. What are you thankful for? The support you get from loved ones? Your treatment team? Do you feel thanks that you are committed to getting better? Look inside and outside yourself to find strengths, and recognize the things that give you hope and make your life worth living.
As we enter this time of year, The Emily Program wants to give thanks to our clients, their families, and everyone working with them. We hope that you will turn to us so that we can help you have the best holiday season possible.
Mark Warren is the chief medical officer of The Emily Program. He is also one of the original founders of the Cleveland Center for Eating Disorders, which became The Emily Program – Cleveland in 2014. A Cleveland native, he is a graduate of the Johns Hopkins University Medical School and completed his residency at Harvard Medical School. He served as Chairman of the Department of Psychiatry at Mt. Sinai Hospital and Medical Director of University Hospital Health System’s Laurelwood Hospital. A past vice-chair for clinical affairs at the Case School of Medicine Department of Psychiatry, he continues on the Clinical Faculty of the Medical School, teaching in both the Departments of Psychiatry and Pediatrics. He is currently a faculty member and former chair of the Board of Governors at the Gestalt Institute of Cleveland. Dr. Warren is a Distinguished Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association, a two-time recipient of the Exemplary Psychiatrist Award of the national Alliance for the Mentally Ill, and a winner of the Woodruff Award. He leads the Males and Eating Disorders special interest group for the Academy of Eating Disorders.
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