Author: Kenneth L. Weiner, M.D., FAED, CEDS
The holiday season can be a particularly challenging time of year for individuals struggling with eating disorders. The food-centric festivities surrounding most holidays can feel overwhelming to patients, regardless of their stage in the recovery process. In response to the anxiety that can accompany heightened exposure to food and gatherings of friends, family and colleagues, treatment professionals often observe an escalation of eating-disordered thoughts and behaviors and lapses in recovery during this time of year.
From Halloween through New Year’s Day, gatherings can tend to feel like a constant focus is placed on food, and the food served isn’t often the healthiest of options. For some, being surrounded by comfort foods and sweets can make eating in moderation a difficult task. For others, the overabundance of food and a focus on sitting down together for family meals can cause anxiety.
According to Marla Scanzello, MS, RD, director of dietary services at Eating Recovery Center, the key to navigating holiday eating with confidence lies in planning for challenges that may arise, as well as placing an emphasis on practicing flexibility and asking for support.
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