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Prepare for Holidays in Early Eating Disorder Recovery & FAMILY MEAL by Bryan Washington

Cover of the book Family Meal by Bryan Washington used to teach healthy and happy ways to handle holidays during early recovery from eating disorders

Cam is trying. His boyfriend recently died, prompting him to move back to his hometown. Now, his past life is haunting him. In his despair, Cam uses a bevy of unhealthy coping skills – including disordered eating.

Let’s say Cam achieved early recovery (which, given his fantastic support system, I think is entirely doable). Here are some tips he, or anyone else in early recovery from an Eating Disorder, could use to prepare for a healthier and happier holiday season.

Prepare: Plan your healthiest responses to stressful situations, like feared foods or triggering people.

Gather Your Team: Make 2 lists: (1) People who will be with you in potentially challenging situations, and (2) People you can call for support. Teach them about your worries and specific ways they can help if you are struggling.

Avoid Conversations About Weight, Body, and Good / Bad Foods: Role play redirecting those conversations. If you can’t navigate changing the topic, be prepared to walk away from these (and any other) triggering conversations.

Follow Your Meal Plan: Make sure you have a meal plan that meets your needs and follow it.

Bring A Dish: If you are worried about having preferred food available, make something you love and bring enough to share.

Practice Gratitude: Instead of focusing on stressors, shift your attention by noticing and journaling 5 things you are grateful for each day.

Give Yourself Grace: Strive to do your best, whatever your best is that day. When you make mistakes (which is inevitable; nobody’s perfect), treat them as opportunities for growth.

Pack Your Toolkit: List your most effective coping skills so you aren’t brainstorming when you need to be calming. Bring any required supplies (headphones, journal, paint, etc) with you.


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