Tips for Handling the Thanksgiving FeastIf you are in recovery from an eating disorder, how do you handle a Thanksgiving Feast without completely sabotaging your hard-earned eating plan? Simple. You handle it by prepping! While other sit down and make lists of fixings and ingredients, you can create a personal list of Thanksgiving to-do’s. Here are some suggestions:
- Enlist the help of someone in your family who supports your recovery in a positive way, and make sure they are next to you at the table. Share your fears with them, whether it’s overeating, fending off well-meaning but painful comments from other family members, or being able to eat in a group.
- Review the tools that have helped you in general, and then ramp them up. Practice ahead of time, aloud or with a peer who has an eating disorder.
- Thanksgiving often tends to have family favorites and a standard table of good eats. So plan ahead on this point, too. Choose a special treat to have in advance – or mentally plate out what you are going to have ahead of time.
- Practice compassion. For yourself, and also for family members who may be unsure of what to say, or worry that what they say or do will cause you pain.
- Whether you have binge eating disorder or restrictive eating issues, consider spending part of Thanksgiving Day volunteering at a homeless shelter or community venue that is providing a hot holiday meal for those less fortunate. This doesn’t minimize the severity of your own eating disorder, but it does help you recognize that your personal blessings are real and present. If family pressures or relationships make feasting at home more toxic than supportive, volunteering is a balanced way to spend part of your Thanksgiving Day.
- If you aren’t quite at that point where you feel you are able to face Thanksgiving Day without working out a strategy with your therapist, be proud that you have recognized this—and call for an appointment.