Treatment During the Holidays

Woman working on Eating Disorder Treatment During the Holidays

Contributed by Canopy Cove

Making the decision whether to enter treatment during the holidays can be a daunting task. It is understandable that there will be mixed emotions involved.

It is difficult enough to make the decision to enter treatment and to be away from family on regular days, and that decision just becomes more difficult at the idea of being apart from loved ones during the holidays.

While holidays ideally are about making memories with family members, they can also be a challenging time and a source of stress for some people.

Things like grieving loved ones, the pressure to meet others’ expectations, extra demands on time, shopping, making lists and menus, preparing food, and the decision to invite (or not invite!) Uncle Bill and his Doberman can all add to the stress and pressure of the season!

We set out to attend our holiday gathering with the expectation of a Normal Rockwell painting, and instead, it ends up a chaotic, stressful mess! Even things that are intended to be positive can be stressful. In the practice of Social Work, we call that ‘eustress’ as compared to ‘distress’!

Now imagine having an eating disorder and how much more stressful that time can be. Close your eyes for a moment and imagine it is Thanksgiving or Christmas Day.

Picture yourself in a room with all your family members and all you can think about is the exercise that you missed out on that day, wondering who is judging your appearance, being uncomfortable in your skin, and having awkward conversations with Cousin Roberta.

After that initial meet and greet with family, you can’t wait to escape all the social tension, and as you pass by the kitchen and dining room you notice that every available surface is covered with food! You immediately become preoccupied with the upcoming holiday meal.

There are questions of: “What will be there to eat? Will there will be lower calorie options? How can you justify eating a salad over turkey and dressing? How can you make it look like you are finishing your plate? How can you gracefully turn down Aunt Emma’s pecan pie?”

This is followed by the agonizing decision of whether or not you will choose to keep the food down or get rid of it?! If this is this your internal dialogue, then congratulations, you’ve just entered the holiday with your buddy, the eating disorder!

At that moment the stress and preoccupation with food and your own personal insecurities result in you being unavailable to participate in the joy of the moment. Thus one more holiday is lost because the eating disorder interfered with you being present in a meaningful way.

If you find yourself in that place, then I would encourage you to consider pursuing treatment. You can’t wish yourself into a better state and willpower will only carry you so far.

Handmade holiday starBased on what we know about eating disorders, they are relentless in their efforts to make you unhappy, while at the same time making false promises that following their rules is the only way to happiness.

Until you are in a place of having enough separation from the eating disorder and courage within yourself to challenge its rules and create new ones for yourself, you will continue to be miserable.

You deserve to enjoy the holidays in the way they were intended: free of the eating disorder and immersed in the festive chaos that only the holidays can bring!

Author: Rosemary Gamin, LCSW – Primary Therapist @ Canopy Cove

About Our Sponsor:

Canopy Cove Eating Disorder Treatment Center is a leading residential Eating Disorder Treatment Center with 25 years’ experience treating adults and teens who are seeking lasting recovery from Anorexia, Bulimia, Binge Eating Disorder and other related eating disorders.

We are a licensed rehabilitative provider accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities. Trusted and recommended by doctors and therapists throughout the country, our program provides clients with clinical excellence and compassionate care.

As one of the most experienced Eating Disorder Centers in the nation, we’ve developed a highly effective program that incorporates solid evidence-based therapies which have been shown to increase recovery rates.

  • Each person we treat receives a customized treatment plan tailored to their specific needs.
  • We increase recovery rates by simultaneously treating co-existing conditions such as anxiety, depression. (We also accept clients with an Eating Disorder and co-existing Diabetes).
  • We provide family education and family therapy throughout the recovery process. (Offered by phone for out of town families).
    Our Christian-based eating disorder treatment program warmly accepts all clients from various belief systems.

Get help now. Call 855-338-8620.

The opinions and views of our guest contributors are shared to provide a broad perspective of eating disorders. These are not necessarily the views of Eating Disorder Hope, but an effort to offer a discussion of various issues by different concerned individuals.

We at Eating Disorder Hope understand that eating disorders result from a combination of environmental and genetic factors. If you or a loved one are suffering from an eating disorder, please know that there is hope for you, and seek immediate professional help.

Published on November 15, 2018.
Reviewed & Approved on November 15, 2018, by Jacquelyn Ekern MS, LPC

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