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How to cope with an eating disorder at Christmas - tips from The Mix

AifeAife Community Manager Posts: 3,012 Boards Guru
edited December 2023 in Health & Wellbeing
The holiday period can be tough, especially for those struggling with negative body image, body dysmorphia, or an eating disorder. It's a challenging and sometimes frightening time. We've put together some helpful tips for you. Remember, you're not alone, and we're here for you. Sending everyone lots of strength <3

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Christmas can be a really hard time. For anyone that's struggled with negative body image, body dysmorphia or an ED, it can be especially challenging and scary. Whether at Christmas dinner itself, advent calendars, mince pies or additional sweets or chocolate around the house, food is central to the festivities. This can feel very suffocating and exhausting for people struggling with their relationship with food.

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Remember that we can get through this and that we should be proud for making it to this point.
For Christmas this year, try and focus on baby steps, and take every day as one little step at a time. Instead of challenging ourselves or our ED during this already intense time, let's focus on surviving through it.

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If a family member or friend makes an unwanted remark about our eating or appearance, try to ignore it by remembering that what they think is irrelevant to us and our recovery. We don't need validation from anyone other than ourselves. Perhaps try and steer the conversation onto a different topic, ask them a question about their life, or just be honest and say that we don't want to think about our body or food right now.

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We can eat however much we feel comfortable eating, and if it makes us feel safer, we can try to just eat the foods that we know we can. If we feel able to, let a loved one know that we're struggling so they can be mindful of what we choose and choose not to eat. There are also support services available all around the Christmas period who want to help - reach out and speak to someone.

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Remember that we deserve food, and we are worthy of eating. We do not have to earn our food through exercise or any other means of movement. We always deserve to eat, and this applies to every single day, not just Christmas. We can write this on a sticky note, or on our phones, so we don't forget it.

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If we feel like we're losing control, or becoming extremely anxious, we can try and distract ourselves.
We can take a walk, go to our bedroom and listen to some music, read our favourite book or put on some TV. Or surround ourselves with people and play a game.

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Most importantly, tomorrow is a new day and we've done SO well to get through this one! We should be gentle and kind to ourselves as each day goes by and remember that our bodies will always fluctuate and go through many changes in life, and they are beautiful at every single point. Our bodies give us power, give us energy, and make us who we are - they are our home.

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Christmas is just another day in the year, and we can get through it as we did yesterday, and the day before.
Every-day is an achievement worth being proud of - we've got this. If we want to speak to someone going through the same thing we are, head to The Mix's free and confidential community space via community.themix.org.uk. Find expert support through Beat, by heading to beateatingdisorders.org.uk

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Maybe somethings don't get better, but we do. We get stronger. We learn to live with our situations as messy and ugly as they are. We fix what we can and we adapt to what we can't. Maybe some of us will never fully be okay, but at least we're here. We're still trying. We're doing the best we can. That's worth celebrating too ❤
Gemmakaii
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