How to Handle Holiday Feasts When You Have an Eating Disorder - Robyn Cruze on

Robyn Cruze, MA, National Recovery Advocate, shared perspective for Refinery29 on how to handle holiday feasts when you have an eating disorder.

If you struggle with disordered eating, you may find that the holidays challenge your relationship with food like no other time of year. (Even those who don't struggle with disordered eating often face eating anxiety in this feeling-heavy, food-stuffed, family-centric season, as wonderful as it may otherwise be.) Speaker, author, and Eating Recovery Center's National Recovery Advocate Robyn Cruze understands this battle firsthand. In a recent live webinar, Cruze shared what her own eating-disorder recovery over the past 10 years has taught her about navigating the holidays with confidence. While her tips are tailored to others with eating disorders, her insights are valuable for anyone who gets a little stressed when Aunt Mabel starts pushing a third slice of her famous sweet potato pie. "The holidays are usually going to have three things: family, emotions, and food," Cruze said during the webinar. "I remember my years in my eating disorder... It was really hard for me to show up for my family members, so most of those holidays were spent sleeping all day or trying to find a way to disconnect myself from the family, because I felt like I was this burden." Read on for her pointers on banishing shame and guilt during the holidays — and actually enjoying the festivities.

1. Equip yourself with a mantra.

Before joining the revelry, pick a phrase or phrases to say to yourself when you start to feel overwhelmed or disconnected. Cruze recalls that when she was in recovery, she still found herself lamenting that she wasn't "perfect" around food. She had to remind herself to accept where she was in that moment — "letting go of what you think you should be and making room for what is," as she puts it. A mantra is a powerful way of doing that. Cruze offered her own examples: "I am worth recovery. I am deserving of experiencing a full life. I am exactly where I am meant to be. I will ask for help when I need it. I will not be ashamed of my story. I will show up for my life. I am recovery." Read the full article.

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