EDH Weekly Hope – Jena Margis – Pregnancy & Motherhood in ED Recovery – Part 5

Pregnant Lady dealing with an eating disorder during the holidays

Weekly Hope is a Facebook Live interview series with Kirsten Haglund. It airs on Wednesdays on the Eating Disorder Hope Facebook Page. The interviews with our guests cover a wide array of various topics that relate to eating disorders and mental health. The guests include leading doctors, clinicians, experts, advocates, and people with their own recovery experiences, offering their insight and sharing their wisdom.

This discussion was held on November 28, 2018, the day before Thanksgiving.

Kirsten: Absolutely words of gold! So my last question doesn’t actually have much to do with pregnancy or motherhood, but it is the day before Thanksgiving. As I mentioned at the beginning of the interview, it can be quite a challenging time for people dealing with an eating disorder during the holidays.

A huge part of the holidays has to do with food and family which can act as enormous stressors for some people, especially if they are in recovery. What kind of parting words of wisdom can you give for these people going into this holiday season?

Jena: Oh gosh that’s a tricky one, mostly because everyone’s families and their dynamics are so different. I think it’s kind of like the same principles apply here that we discussed earlier regarding going into the day or the season.

One is a sense of humor for all the crazy things that one person or another might say to you. For someone dealing with an eating disorder during the holidays, It is good to have your support system available so you can share these details or simply just vent to them. Where it is essential to give people grace, it is just as important and harder to give grace to yourself.

I specifically remember how Thanksgiving and the holidays used to be a very trying time for me, especially straight out of recovery. I remember the family dinners, and I felt like people were looking at me in the plate instead of looking at me in the face. They wanted to know what I was eating and how much I was eating and how fast or slow I was eating, and at a certain point, I was so done.

The fact that most people just simply do not understand or grasp the gravity of the situation is one of the most frustrating things in the world. Eventually, you have to accept the fact that most people will not understand and you cannot make everyone understand either.

Instead of bracing ourselves for the worst, just go into the holidays and focus on what makes you feel good, be it the family, the gathering, the food or the festivities. Whatever capacity you have for enjoying the food, make the most of it and let all the extra noise slide by.

So, for the person dealing with an eating disorder during the holidays or whatever day you are heading into or whichever family gathering you are going to, your goal needs to be getting through it with a sense of humor and then just being able to move on. It is not always as bad as we make it up in our heads to be.

Usually, these holiday gatherings are a single meal, and that’s one really important factor here that one meal cannot make or break your recovery. Regardless of how ambitious you are about how much you want to eat and indulge and be a recovery warrior, get through it, move on and the next year could be entirely different. Your goal should just be doing the best that you can.

Kirsten: Amen! Jena thank you so so much. It is always so good to have you here on our show and thank you for sharing everything directly from your heart and through your transparency and that wonderful sense of humor of yours. I’m sure everyone here really enjoyed our conversation. Thank you once again and have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving Harvest DollJena: Thank you so much for having me here. Happy Holidays to you all!

Kirsten: I hope all of you watching who are celebrating Thanksgiving tomorrow, please remember that tomorrow is just one single meal, it’s just one day, and you can do it. As Jena so eloquently put it, keep close to your support system and focus on the bigger picture.

I just want to add that if you need to take a break from people, or family gatherings, then just do so. If you feel the need to step in a silent room, or outside for that matter, it is totally legitimate to take that mental break from all the overstimulation presented from food, conversation, and people.

On this note, I just want to wish you all well and have a wonderful, beautiful Thanksgiving and week ahead.

Please See:

EDH Weekly Hope – Jena Margis – Pregnancy & Motherhood in ED Recovery – Part 1
EDH Weekly Hope – Jena Margis – Pregnancy & Motherhood in ED Recovery – Part 2
EDH Weekly Hope – Jena Margis – Pregnancy & Motherhood in ED Recovery – Part 3
EDH Weekly Hope – Jena Margis – Pregnancy & Motherhood in ED Recovery – Part 4


Weekly Hope Conversation with Jena Morrow, CADC on November 28, 2018.

Please visit the Weekly Hope with Kirsten Haglund page for other presentations.

About the Author: 

Jena MorrowJena Margis, CADC is the Alumnae Coordinator at Timberline Knolls. She develops and maintains relationships with former TK residents after they return home. This is accomplished via phone, email, social media, and other avenues of communication.

Jena is responsible for producing and facilitating various alumnae events, including monthly on-campus gatherings as well as an annual retreat in the Chicago area. She is constantly striving to grow and evolve the alumnae program, which she helped create, and manages an active Alumnae Board and network across the country and world.

In 2010, Jena authored Hollow: An Unpolished Tale (Moody), which chronicles her battle with an eating disorder since her teenage years. In her second book, Hope for the Hollow (Lighthouse Publishing), she offers a practical and relevant devotional guide/journal to gently encourage and inspire women who struggle with themselves and their bodies.

As a national eating disorders awareness advocate and professional speaker, Jena has traveled throughout the country sharing her recovery story and delivering a message of hope and freedom from disordered eating and distorted self-image.

About the Transcript Editor:

Sana Ahmed ImageSana Ahmed is a journalist and social media savvy content writer with extensive research, print, and on-air interview skills. She has previously worked as staff writer for a renowned rehabilitation institute, a content writer for a marketing agency, an editor for a business magazine and been an on-air news broadcaster.

Sana graduated with a Bachelors in Economics and Management from the London School of Economics and began a career of research and writing right after. Her recent work has largely been focused upon mental health and addiction recovery.

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 April 10, 2019.
Reviewed & Approved on April 10, 2019, by Jacquelyn Ekern MS, LPC

Published on EatingDisorderHope.com

About Baxter Ekern

Baxter is the Vice President of Ekern Enterprises, Inc. He is responsible for the operations of Eating Disorder Hope and ensuring that the website is functioning smoothly.