How to talk to someone with disordered eating during the holidays

How do you talk to someone with disordered eating around the Holidays? The Holiday season is a time of gathering and lots of food. The average person may complain of overindulging and gaining some turkey or pie weight. But for the person with an eating disorder, the joy of the Holidays can be a time filled with anxiety (Surviving (and Thriving) During the Holidays With An Eating Disorder). Food is a part of celebration, but for those with disordered eating it can be difficult to maintain stability or stay on the recovery path. Added to that stress, are the dreaded looks or awkward questions of friends and family members. Here’s how to be a supportive person and talk with someone with disordered during the Holiday celebrations.

Disordered Eating Can Affect Anyone

>Not all people with eating disorders look as though they have an eating disorder. There are many people that appear average in body shape that are secretly struggling with disordered eating. You don’t have to be extra thin or skeletal to have a serious disorder. Just because you see Monica with a full plate of food, and a smile on her face, we can’t assume that she’s internally peaceful. Keep in mind that a majority of women, although they don’t fit the criteria for an eating disorder, may have shame or preoccupation with food (Eating Disorder Symptoms).

Disordered Eating Isn’t About the Food

In my experience, if people see you eating they think that you’re okay, but often that’s far from the truth. Food, like substances, are simply a band aid for the discomfort underneath. If we think about an eating disorder as being the only coping mechanism for Monica, then at the dinner party whenever she’s happy or uncomfortable she’s going to want to reach for her closest coping tool – the eating disorder. Holiday parties are triggering because of the mass amounts of food and navigating all the people at the celebration (Using Coping Skills In Eating Disorder Recovery).

Say These Things to Someone With Disordered Eating

As we talked about above, it can be good practice not to assume that people do or do not have an eating disorder. Still, let’s say that we know that cousin Monica was in treatment and she’s in recovery from an eating disorder.

Here are a few things to talk about that may make her feel more comfortable.

  1. Comment on something, not physical, about them.For example: “I noticed and really appreciated how you included everyone, including me, in that conversation.”
  2. Don’t Talk About Food (remember food is the band aid).Ask them about something they’re excited about in their life right now.For Example: Tell them something that you’re excited about in your life. For those of us who are introverted, and have an eating disorder, the anxiety of being in conversation can be excruciating. It helps a lot to have someone who can take the lead.
  3. If You’re Seriously Concerned About Monica’s Health, Be Classy.Please do not out her in front of others, ask how her recovery is going, or comment on anything she is, or is not, eating.It’s humiliating to the person with the eating disorder. Ask if you can speak to them later, privately. Then in private, tell that that you love them (if you do) and you’re concerned for them and want them to be happy and healthy. Ask how you might support them (knowing they might not let you.)
  4. Let Them Eat What They Want.The more stares Monica gets, or the more people try to make her eat, the more uncomfortable she’s going to feel. Especially if Monica’s in recovery, she knows what she’s comfortable eating. Trust that she can take care of herself.

These suggestions are not an end all be all, but rather some things I wish people would have known about me when I was in my eating disorder and going through recovery. Have a wonderful Holiday. Nourish yourself with yummy food and safe, loving, supportive people.

How do you talk to someone with disordered eating around the holidays? The holiday season is a time of gathering and lots of food. The average person may complain of overindulging and gaining some turkey or pie weight. But for the person with an eating disorder, the joy of the holidays can be a time filled with anxiety (Surviving [and Thriving] During the Holidays With An Eating Disorder). Food is a part of celebration but for those with disordered eating, it can be difficult to maintain stability or stay on the recovery path. Added to that stress are the dreaded looks or awkward questions of friends and family members. Here’s how to be a supportive person and talk with someone with disordered during the holiday celebrations.

Disordered Eating Can Affect Anyone

Not all people with eating disorders look as though they have an eating disorder. There are many people that appear average in body shape that are secretly struggling with disordered eating. You don’t have to be extra thin or skeletal to have a serious disorder. Just because you see Monica with a full plate of food and a smile on her face, we can’t assume that she’s internally peaceful. Keep in mind that a majority of women, although they don’t fit the criteria for an eating disorder, may have shame or preoccupation with food (Eating Disorder Symptoms).

Disordered Eating Isn’t About the Food

In my experience, if people see you eating they think that you’re okay, but often that’s far from the truth. Food, like a substance, is simply a band-aid for the discomfort underneath. If we think about an eating disorder as being the only coping mechanism for Monica, then at the dinner party whenever she’s happy or uncomfortable she’s going to want to reach for her closest coping tool – the eating disorder. Holiday parties are triggering because of the mass amounts of food and navigating all the people at the celebration (Using Coping Skills in Eating Disorder Recovery).

Say These Things Around the Holidays to Someone with Disordered Eating

How to talk to someone with disordered eating during the holidaysAs we talked about above, it can be good practice not to assume that people do or do not have an eating disorder. Still, let’s say that we know that cousin Monica was in treatment and she’s in recovery from an eating disorder.

Here are a few things to talk about that may make her feel more comfortable.

  1. Comment on something not physical about the person. For example: “I noticed and really appreciated how you included everyone, including me, in that conversation.”
  2. Don’t talk about food (remember food is the band-aid). Ask her about something she’s excited about in her life right now. For example: Tell her something that you’re excited about in your life. For those of us who are introverted and have an eating disorder, the anxiety of being in conversation can be excruciating. It helps a lot to have someone who can take the lead.
  3. If you’re seriously concerned about Monica’s health, be classy. Please do not out her in front of others, ask how her recovery is going, or comment on anything she is, or is not, eating. It’s humiliating to the person with the eating disorder. Ask if you can speak to her later, privately. Then, in private, tell her that you love her (if you do) and you’re concerned for her and want her to be happy and healthy. Ask how you might support her (knowing she might not let you).
  4. Let her eat what she wants. The more stares Monica gets, or the more people try to make her eat, the more uncomfortable she’s going to feel. Especially if Monica is in recovery, she knows what she’s comfortable eating. Trust that she can take care of herself.

These suggestions are not an end all be all of talking to someone with disordered eating around the holidays, but rather some things I wish people would have known about me when I was in my eating disorder and going through recovery. Have a wonderful holiday. Nourish yourself with yummy food and safe, loving, supportive people.

Home » Eating Disorders on College Campuses During COVID-19

Eating Disorders on College Campuses During COVID-19

How to talk to someone with disordered eating during the holidays

by Julianna Strano

College students remain isolated as the uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic continues. As the stress and uncertainties remain constant, the number of individuals experiencing disordered eating and body image issues rises.

For many people, disordered eating begins as a way to cope with uncertainties or stresses in life. The National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) reported an enormous spike in the number of calls and online chats to its Helpline as compared to the same time period last year.

Edie Stark, who is the founder and owner of Edie Stark Therapy, explains how college students are missing out on a lot and are having to adjust. She specializes in emerging adults and runs @ediestarktherapy on Instagram, where she posts content to educate and inspire others.

Edie knew she wanted to have a career in this field when she was 12. In middle school, she had friends struggling with eating disorders.

“I checked out every book in the library to understand what they were going through,” she said.

The pandemic is something that is out of everyone’s control.

“Living in a worldwide pandemic for a year causes stress,” Edie said.

She explains how some people deal with the stress and what they may do to feel in control of the situation.

“I can’t fix that, but what I can do is not eat,” she said.

Students are spending more time online for their classes, which means they are being influenced by the media more.

“More time with screens, more time online, more seeing things in the media,” Edie said.

Due to lockdowns, college students no longer have as many outlets to socialize in.

“We don’t have any outlets. We are stuck,” she said.

Edie discusses how college students and young adults have many stressors. In this age group, people are adjusting with moving to college, leaving friends and family, and their childhood behind. COVID-19 and the uncertainty of the pandemic is another stress being added to their lives.

Danielle Hoffman, who is a licensed marriage and family therapist specializing in eating disorders, anxiety, and adolescents, explains the connection between COVID-19 lockdowns and eating disorders.

“They 100% connect. Eating disorders are worse than they have ever been during the pandemic—the uncertainty and lack of feeling like you have a purpose,” Danielle said.

With the increase of screen time and stress, eating disorders are becoming more normalized by college students. Some people do not realize that the habits they have begun and the phrases they say are signs of an eating disorder.

“It is easy for people to fall into it without even realizing,” Edie Stark said.

College students, for example, will often skip meals to “look better at pool parties” or skip a meal to “save calories” for later because they want dessert or a drink with friends.

Edie explains how just because these behaviors are normalized and popular, it doesn’t mean they are healthy to engage in.

“[It] makes me cringe. It’s what everyone is fed. It’s all you know unless you know different.”

Danielle said, “We all have different bodies and can’t play games or bully our bodies. It’s hurtful.”

Students are spending more time in front of their screens compared to previous years.

“There is this idea that is put out there that there is one body that we all should have that is good and healthy. Less than 1% of the population has that body,” Danielle said. “We are fed this idea that if you are anything but this then it’s wrong. If you are constantly bombarded with ‘this is what you should be,’ it will have negative effects.”

Danielle was inspired by her own personal experience with recovery to spread awareness. Through her Instagram account, @danihoffmanmft, she motivates others and spreads awareness about eating disorders.

Danielle’s favorite post on her Instagram is what she posted from her wedding. She shared why her recovery was worth it and gave others inspiration.

“THIS. THIS is why recovery is worth it,” she stated in her caption.

Jan Courtney has been working as the group leader of C.E.D.A.R. (Campus Eating Disorder Awareness and Recovery Group) at The University of Arizona for about 4 years. Jan explains how we are aware of the problem and need to have more discussions. C.E.D.A.R gives students that opportunity.

“It creates a safe place to talk about the types of things—how women feel about their bodies and their relationships with food,” she said.

As the uncertainty and stress of the pandemic continues, many agree that it is important to have conversations, educate, and support each other.

“Across the board, having conversations is the most important part,” Jan said.

Non-Diet Accredited Practising Dietitian

Many people view food as “good” and “bad” which naturally flows onto seeing themselves as “good” and “bad”. This black-and-white thinking leads us to make choices we may not naturally make – ones that are aren’t guided by our own intuition or internal body cues. When this happens, we find it hard to meet our basic needs causing us to become distracted. Our self-care then suffers.

The following list details situations where we may not be eating for the ‘right’ reasons:

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How to talk to someone with disordered eating during the holidays

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Ashley Jackson opens first luxury portrait studio

that focuses on female empowerment

Ashley Jackson started photographing intimate portraiture in her clients’ homes over 2 years ago. She felt a need for an accepting environment that her clients could come to, to receive their own portrait experience. The body positive movement has fuelled Ashleys belief that all bodies are worthy of being photographed and women especially, can benefit from seeing their true selves shine in an intimate and empowered state. The studio officially opened in mid October in Red Deer.

The luxury lifestyle studio provides a space for beautiful, unique portraits in her distinct style. Ashley offers intimate boudoir style portraits, or non traditional and fun headshots that capture her clients personality. The welcoming environment is as much a safe hang out space as it is a studio. From the moment you walk in, Ashleys’ goal is to make sure you have the most supportive experience possible.

She truly believes that the portrait experience can be a life-changing one for those that are open to it.

“Many women have a hard time liking the way they look in photographs. It’s actually a biological response to be uncomfortable with a literal image of ourselves, we are conditioned to the image we most often see; a reflection in the mirror. My goal is to empower with a session that guides my clients into a place of bravery. We walk up to their comfort zones, acknowledge them, and then walk right past. In my studio there is no judgment, only a feeling of absolute safety, love and acceptance.”

Since 2016, Ashley has been empowering clients through her portraiture. This exciting new acquisition of a studio space will allow clients to have a luxury self love experience. To see more of what this looks like, visit: www.ashleyjacksonboudoir.com

That’s What She Said (V.2)

September 26, 2018

How to talk to someone with disordered eating during the holidays

What made you decide to book a boudoir session?

How to talk to someone with disordered eating during the holidays

Did you have any fears about proceeding with the session?

Being nude in front of a stranger! That could be awkward!

How to talk to someone with disordered eating during the holidaysHow to talk to someone with disordered eating during the holidays

During the shoot, what kinds of thoughts were running through your mind? What kinds of emotions did you recognize?

I cannot believe how NOT weird this is. I feel sexy! And this is fun! Also her playlist is fantastic! Ashley might be lemon gin in human form.

Discussion Without Limits

Dealing with an eating disorder during the holidays

Eating disorders are hell on their own, but dealing with one during the holidays adds an extra emphasis of anxiety that most people are unfamiliar with.

While I have been in remission of my own eating disorder for a couple of years now, I still have thoughts that arise almost daily, attempting to convince me to fall back into destructive habits.

And I can vividly recall the stress and unhappiness of dealing with my own eating disorder during the holidays.

For such a wonderful time of year, the holidays can prove to be quite challenging for people dealing with an eating disorder. Endless food, most of which is, in the disordered mind, rich with calories, fat, and struggle.

You feel the temptation when scanning the dinner spread on Christmas Eve or Day, and as badly as you wish to quiet the voices in your head telling you not to eat more calories than normal, you succumb to their power, and settle for a few slices of turkey, some veggies, and maybe a scoop of potatoes.

Perhaps you’re bulimic, and you eat your fair share of delicious Christmas dishes, only to visit the bathroom after you’ve finished eating and force it all back out.

You may encounter friends and family questioning you about your appearance. You’re too thin, you need to eat more, you can afford it with your metabolism … you’ve probably heard it all, however, these comments tend to only intensify the situation in your own mind.

Unless you have experienced these disordered thoughts yourself, it is extremely difficult to comprehend their persuasion and intensity. They always win, these thoughts, and in the process make a person feel weak because they’re unable to suppress their power.

If you’re someone struggling with these exact thoughts, please feel free to comment down below, with your email address, so we can chat. If you suspect someone in your family is struggling with an eating disorder, give them their space. The only person who is capable of overpowering their eating disorder is the person suffering from it. Be patient, understanding, and offer an ear, if anything. If they wish to open up to you, they will.

How to talk to someone with disordered eating during the holidays

Thanksgiving, while typically viewed as a holiday where people are free to stuff their faces, can be a difficult experience for others. It is impossible to know the details of another person’s relationship with food, and the way we talk about food can have a huge impact. Anyone who has ever been sensitive about their body can agree with this statement, but it especially rings true for those suffering with an eating disorder. At best, it can ruin a meal, and, at worse, trigger a relapse. Sometimes, the offense is obvious, but at other times it’s more innocuous, and the offender might not even know they’re saying the wrong thing.

To be on the safe side, do not offer unsolicited commentary on the food that is (or isn’t) on someone else’s plate. Steer clear of statements that imply what you ate is something you have to punish yourself for. Eating disorder patients have been struggling with punishing themselves for the duration of their illness, and hearing phrases like, “I’ve been so good until today,” and “I’d have to run for three hours just to work this off,” can trigger feelings of self-hatred and urges at best. Avoid language that categorizes certain foods as “bad for you”.

For example, steer away from phrases such as, “I’ve been trying not to eat ___,” or “Are you sure you want to eat that? It’s loaded with fat.” Instead, just keep your own diet to yourself. More than likely, the person knows what they’re eating isn’t as healthy as a salad. It doesn’t need to be pointed out.

Avoid urging someone to indulge in a food they don’t want to eat. Certain foods, especially dessert, are extremely high in sugar and fat. Urging someone to eat these foods can trigger a spiral of self-hatred, making the person feel guilty and angry with themselves for eating it. To prevent this, avoid phrases such as, “one slice of pie won’t kill you!” Try not to point out how much someone is eating.

Phrases such as, “wow, that’s a really big piece,” or “how many rolls have you had?” could trigger a relapse. The person has already been eating very little or not at all, and eating should be encouraged, not looked down upon.

Thanksgiving is a time for friends and family who are there to help and support each other. Be nice to yourself, and don’t be afraid to reach out for help if necessary. Eating disorders affect eight million people in the US alone. It’s hard to decipher what people’s relationship with food might be, so be careful this holiday season. The holidays are a time for joy, family, friends, and good food as well. Enjoy yourself and your meal- without justification or apology.

This article provides information for people who have eating disorders or loved ones with an eating disorder ways to survive the Holidays

    Michael Rubino, Ph.D, MFT , Community Contributor

How to talk to someone with disordered eating during the holidays

The Holiday Season can be difficult for many people for various reasons. The Holidays can exacerbate family disagreements, someone may be grieving the loss of a loved one or some people are barely surviving financially and have no idea how they can afford gifts for their children. Another major stressor during the Holidays is food.

There are a number of Holiday parties and family dinners. They all revolve around food. Many people are concerned how they will survive the Holidays without gaining a lot of weight with all the food they will be eating. However, if you have an eating disorder, the Holidays can pose a different problem. How do you survive the parties and dinners without drawing attention to yourself because you do not want to eat? What do you do if people are telling you to eat? This can be a very uncomfortable situation.

Dr. Pooky Knightsmen has created a video dealing with how to cope with the Holidays if you have an eating disorder. She offers some very good strategies to help a person cope with the Holidays. Also if you have a loved one or close friend with an eating disorder, I would strongly recommend you watch it too. This will help you understand what your loved one is dealing with during the Holidays and provide you with ways that you can help make the Holidays less stressful for your loved one with an eating disorder. Here is the link to the video. Eating Disorders: Managing the festive period via @YouTube.

Find out what’s happening in Pleasant Hill with free, real-time updates from Patch.

Dr. Michael Rubino is a psychotherapist with over 20 years experience treating children and teenagers. For more information about his work or private practice visit his website www.RubinoCounseling.com or his Facebook page www.Facebook.com/drrubino3