Surviving the Holidays with Binge Eating Disorder - Dr. Julie Friedman & Robyn Cruze
We’ve been talking a lot on our page about the many challenges we face during the holidays and how to overcome them.
If you missed Binge Eating Connection’s Facebook Live discussing binge eating recovery and the holidays, get help with these three tips from binge eating expert Dr. Julie Friedman and our National Recovery Advocate Robyn Cruze.
- Avoid isolating yourself
If you have a tendency to withdraw and isolate yourself when life gets rough, you are not alone! However, isolating yourself can increase feelings of self-loathing and shame. And, isolating yourself might even increase binge eating episodes — which could make you feel even worse over time. Instead of withdrawing from friends and family, reach out to those you trust. Instead of avoiding friends and family, visit with them anyway, at least in small does. And, if you are working with a treatment professional, discuss self-care strategies for times when holiday stress gets the best of you.
- Have a plan
You’re far from alone if you get anxious before big holiday parties and gatherings. We’ve suggested above that you avoid isolating yourself when stress gets high during the holiday season. But, if social events are hard for you, seek support by confiding in your favorite people. Discuss how hard this is with a trusted friend or relative. Ask them if they can accompany you to holiday gatherings. If they are unable to, ask them if you can call or text them if you become anxious or upset at the gathering. If need be, feel free to limit the amount of time you plan to stay at parties. And, if you know that you have a tendency to binge at parties, plan your meal ahead, if possible. This can help you avoid impulsive overeating. Dr. Friedman suggests that you have a normalized portion of food at the meal and then treat yourself to one special dessert or appetizer that you really enjoy. Research shows that if you load small servings of many different items on your plate, you’ll end of feeling unsatisfied, deprived and out of control. Instead, put the three things that you like most on your plate and, once you eat those, get up from the table or leave the meal. If you are working with a dietitian, ask them what a holiday meal plate might look like for you.
- Accept where you are now
Many people who binge eat feel inadequate or may even have feelings of low self-worth. If you are not happy with your size, or if you are worried that family members will be watching you or criticizing you, we encourage you to believe in yourself. The worse you treat yourself, the more out-of-control eating may become. The more you criticize yourself, the more that shame might build up. Instead of feeling pressure to lose weight before the holiday parties take place (again, you are NOT alone in wishing that this would happen), remember: there is no such thing as perfect. And, if someone does comment on your plate or your weight or other behaviors, quickly change the subject. If you can have a safe conversation with them later, do it. In a respectful way, when you’re not upset or feeling too vulnerable, let them know that you don’t appreciate those types of comments.
Dr. Friedman shares, “when it comes to binge eating, the longer you behave in a certain way, the harder it will be to break those patterns over time. Break the cycle of binge eating now and it will be easier to refrain from binges in the future.”
If it feels impossible to stop the cycle of binge eating, please know that binge eating treatment is available. You do not have to deal with this alone. If you have any questions about how to find a qualified professional, please private message us. We’re happy to help.