Transforming Christmas - Dealing with an Eating Disorder


As we all know Christmas is one of the merriest times of the year. Full of smiling, singing, munching and being happy. We go out, party, shop and relax over a delicious Christmas lunch, maybe a chocolate or two or three.. It's a time of joy with our loved ones and enjoying the season however for many of us it can be proven to be extremely difficult. For so many people Christmas can be tough due to losses, stress, illness and it can bring so much of a daunting dread rather than an excited countdown. 

I love Christmas as you all know! But despite my joy for the season, I find it incredibly difficult. That's down to one thing... my Eating Disorder. For anyone out there with an Eating Disorder, of any kind, Christmas is probably one of the hardest times. The whole season is practically revolved around food and over indulging, which is a recovering Anorexic's worst nightmare. You spend enough time stressing and fussing over food as it is, and now the rest of the world is doing it to!

 Of course the whole season is tough but one of the biggest challenges is Christmas day itself. The thought of a big meal with your family around you, happily eating and letting go for the day can be a big challenge for anyone with Anorexia. For myself personally It's triggered extreme urges to restrict and binge, only leading to feeling lack of control.

 Unlike everyone else your anxiety around food becomes sky high and the pressure grows. When wanting to fit in and enjoy the time with your family, it isn't the best when your head turns into the worlds biggest bully. It feels ridiculous that the rest of the world can take on this time of year so easily while you go into extreme panic over a mince pie or social gathering.

 I firstly want you to know that this one big meal everyone finds so special is in fact simply like any other meal and this day is simply the same as any other day. I hate the term 'challenge' however you may feel the need to 'challenge' yourself, maybe in attempt to feel normal. I can assure you there is no need to place unnecessary pressure on yourself. Take your time, relax and only take on what you can manage, Christmas is what you make it, it doesn't all have to be about food. Make a little plan if need be, find your perfect distraction and ways to relax. It may be singing or watching a Christmas film, for me I love to enjoy laughter and a game or two with my family, it sends me back to my child hood and to a place of relaxation.

One of the biggest fears isn't just the food however the fear of explaining to friends and family or the fear of your illness upsetting their Christmas. It's understandable you don't want it to be an issue and don't want your eating disorder to feel like burden. This is something I've struggled with, not just at Christmas but Christmas especially. I feel guilty for past Christmases, the ways my eating disorder has upset my loved ones and caused stress. It's sometimes difficult to open up and discuss your feelings however in my experience I've found this leads to disruption and arguments. It's so important you remember your family do in fact love you and are trying the absolute best to make the whole experience as comfortable as possible. Nobody should have to feel alone at this time, don't begin to isolate yourself as it will only make thoughts and feelings more extreme. Remember accept the love and support around you.

One thing I find helpful is doing Christmas related things with my family that are anything other than being food related. Try some Christmas games or crafts, have a festive wrapping session, watch a Christmas film, or have a lovely festive pamper. I find taking the love and support from my family, doing things we all love, far easier than isolating myself.

The comments towards weight, bodies and 'post Christmas diets' come to highlight an awful lot around this time of year. It seems every woman becomes obsessed with the thought of relaxing over Christmas to then only go on a serious 'diet' when the season is all over. The typical New Year's resolution 'I'll start the gym' or 'I want to give up chocolate' flood the air. I cannot express enough how pathetic these sound! What's a life without chocolate? Why not enjoy the chocolate before Christmas without over indulging and carry on simply with a balanced lifestyle after? Of course it's the time to let go a little however I don't think anyone should feel the need to go on all crazy restrictions when the new year begins.

With all the yummy, indulgent foods around it can be seen that this time of year is an unhealthy period. Dealing with not just Anorexia however Orthorexia, I know the thought of all amounts of fat, sugar and variety of foods send my mind into overdrive. It almost feels like just looking at the food will allow it to consume me. It can often feel pressuring for someone who wants to try their very best not to obsess over the whole situation yet cannot stop themselves. You may even feel like everyone will begin to judge you for the way you eat or want to eat when half the time no one is really interested, remember your eating disorder tricks you.

I'm going to come back to the idea that Christmas is what you make it. With all the different foods, recipes and preparation for the day there is no reason whatsoever in why it cannot suit your preferences and needs. If you prefer to eat a little healthier that's perfectly okay and if not? that's okay to.
 I prefer raw/dark chocolate to milk, I love eating veggies and I'm also making a Deliciously Ella's healthy apple crumble for dessert this year! All this helps suits what I love to eat and prefer. Just because someone else enjoys an indulgent goey chocolate pudding or plate piled high with Yorkshire puds doesn't mean the person next to them does. Everyone is different, everyone has different preferences and that's perfectly fine.

For the past few Christmases Anorexia has sadly took over for me however this year I am determined to make sure the day is everything other than my fears of food. Like I said it's what you make it, for me I feel like it needs to be more about love and laughter rather than food and eating. I want to appreciate the more important things and traditions around me. I've enjoyed putting my tree up again this year and cuddling up to watch Christmas films. I've also felt comfortable enough to enjoy a chocolate or two without feeling the need restrict or leading to a binge. With recently deciding to go vegetarian, believe it or not I'm actually really excited for my first vegetarian Christmas dinner. I want to make it enjoyable rather than something I 'regret'. I've even got my Nana (the brilliant cook for the day) to whip out some Deliciously Ella recipes, which my whole family have actually been loving! I cannot wait for a loving and fun day spent with my loved ones who all support me massively and I feel satisfied this year will be a whole lot easier.

Most importantly make sure you enjoy Christmas for what it is not what you've situated in your head. It doesn't have to be as stressful as your Eating Disorder is telling you, trust me.

Speak soon,

Holli xxx

You Might Also Like


Don't Miss

Contact Me


Email *

Message *