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7 Ways to Cope With an Eating Disorder on Thanksgiving

November 16, 2021
Everyday Health
Clinical Director Landry Yarborough shares advice for coping with an eating disorder during the holidays.

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Thanksgiving — a much-loved holiday filled with turkey, stuffing, pumpkin pie, and other fall favorites — can be anxiety-inducing and challenging for people with eating disorders.

Whether it’s fearing encountering certain foods, worrying about bingeing and purging, or anxiety about facing loved ones with whom they have a difficult relationship, there’s a lot more going on at the table for people with eating disorders than others may realize.

“As a holiday that’s focused almost entirely on eating, Thanksgiving emphasizes the very thing those with eating disorders are struggling so much with: their relationship with food,” says Carrie Wasterlain, LCSW, assistant director of The Dorm, which specializes in mental healthcare for young adults in New York City and Washington, D.C.

Abundant food options, inner pressures to eat — or not eat — or worrying that people will judge what you are eating can all make this holiday very challenging, Wasterlain adds.

“Society has also normalized disordered eating behaviors on this day, whether it’s ‘fasting until dinner,’ or ‘eating until I can barely move,’” Wasterlain says.
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