I have worked extensively with those suffering with eating disorders in the past, and I know that Christmas time can be the most challenging time of year. It’s incredibly difficult to get away from food, alongside comments that people may make and the pressure to be 'festive' around food. Christmas is a time that the eating disorder thoughts and feelings are trying to battle and punish you. It wants you to feel anxious and afraid so that you will want to stick to the routines and rules even more. So, planning in advance can put the power back in your hands.
· First things first: Be aware of your inner critic and negative comments. If you are feeling overwhelmed, don’t be hard on yourself. Ask yourself, ‘what do I need to do to make my Christmas day enjoyable and not make me panic?’
· Planning Christmas dinner in advance. This may range from portions sizes, distractions after dinner (if purging is something that happens for you), serving yourself/serving away from the table.
· Understanding who may be there on Christmas day may assist also, in which case you could do a seating plan so you’re not sitting beside the family gossip!
· Hopefully you have a loved one who you can talk to about what is worrying you most about this time of the year and can perhaps assist you. Asking them to tell family/friends not to comment on weight or appearance, developing a little signal between the two of you for when things become too much, explaining to them what your triggers may be and what coping mechanisms may help.
· SEED has some great downloads that may be of use to you, or family members on their website.
· BEAT have their helpline open over Christmas