This blog is geared specifically for people who are currently living with an eating disorder and might find themselves in various stages of recovery during the holidays. As always, we encourage you to be brave and take good care of yourself.
What does your relationship with food look like? It may sound like an odd question, but food can be a source of comfort and a communal act with loved ones or in some cases extreme distress. If you find yourself in a strenuous relationship with food, or at gatherings with food and friends, or lingering at food or body image posts, your struggle is valid. You are seen and you do not have to do this alone.
Rushing to the gym or pantry may find you temporary relief, but the pain always comes back. That part of you that is driven to run one more mile rain or shine never seems to get quiet, does it? That part promises a certain weight or body shape will get you a step closer to your dream goal, but it doesn’t, it leads you on to the next number.
That part of you is trying to protect you, shield you from pain. It might have worked in the past, but now this part of you is in the driver’s seat and controlling your journey in life.
You may feel like you are in control, but if you feel lost and hurt, or beholden to this part of you please take a moment and read through these questions to see where you are. There is hope. There is healing. It is hard, but nothing is more difficult than living with an eating disorder.
- Do you deliberately alter the food you eat in hopes of influencing your shape?
- Do you have a strong desire to have a totally flat stomach? That perfect thigh gap?
- Has thinking about food or caloric intake gotten in the way of your social life? Or gotten in the way of doing things you once enjoyed at school or work or in a hobby?
- Have you had a strong sense of disgust or feeling out of control, and the only thing that soothed that panic was to vomit?
- Do you ever feel guilty about what you ate? Scared it will influence your body shape in a negative way?
- Do you define yourself by the number on the scale? Or the number on the string you measure your thighs with?
- Can that number measure your soul? Your wit? Your kindness? Your competency?
- Do you cover your mirror? Do you hide from yourself?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, please know support is available. As we go into the holidays surrounded with meals, meal prep, and food advertisements, know you do not have to suffer in silence. Please seek out a licensed professional therapist who specializes in ruptured and broken relationships with food. You may not feel worth it, but you are loved, seen, and can be known and understood – sometimes it starts with a therapist.
If you are not sure about seeking professional help, follow this website to take a free screening. And then reach out to get connected with someone who can step in and help.
Written by: Catherine Virden