This year Thanksgiving will perhaps look a little different from other years. In my own family, we will be celebrating as an immediate family only. Unfortunately, we have asked grandparents to stay at home so that we do not spread our germs. I am thankful that the airline industry is especially accommodating for last minute travel plans. I'm also thankful that I know we will be able to gather again soon. Until that time, I'd like to extend my thanks to my clients that have continued to support my business as their go-to resource for behavior change modification through Telehealth. I am thankful that so many health insurance companies continue to pay for nutrition counseling via secure video conferencing portals. While many people will feel stretched and over-scheduled, it's refreshing to know that my business can still be a source of information and support during the holiday season - all from the comfort of your home. So between preparing side dishes, wrapping gifts, writing out cards, or zooming with friends and family, don't forget to take care of yourself! Go for a walk, listen to an uplifting podcast, download some new music, take a bubble bath, try a new recipe or schedule time to check in with your favorite nutritionist.
If for you find that this holiday is a particularly stressful time, consider that following tips from Dr. Caryn Honig to help you have a healthy and happy Thanksgiving.
Build your support system. Identify supportive friends and family members who will be attending events and parties with you. Let them know you may want and need their help.
There are no rules for eating. Know that you can eat what you want. Allow yourself to eat intuitively. Stop when you are full and spend time enjoying the fellowship and conversation that surrounds your table.
Have a plan. Speak to your therapist and your dietitian and have a plan for ways to handle meals. Know how to handle your anxiety and still eat. Know what to do should a family member become critical, judgmental, or upsetting to you. A plan will help you feel in charge, and although you cannot plan for everything, it will help you feel like you know how to respond when things get challenging.
Know that all foods are OK. There are no rules for which foods to eat and which foods to avoid. All foods fit. Write this down if you need to. Perhaps a list of positive affirmations can help you get through the meal.
If you suffer from disordered food or exercise thoughts - those thoughts are lying to you. The thoughts you have may lie to you about your body, about the food, and about the others you are with. It is going to convince you of some really upsetting things. Know that these thoughts are lying to you. Work with your team to learn the difference between disordered thoughts and recovery thoughts, and have a plan to challenge those disordered thoughts.
Do what you can to enjoy this time. Spend time with friends and loved ones who truly support you. Start each day with thoughts of thanksgiving and choose to make the best out of any situation.
If you or someone you love, suffers from disordered eating please consider reaching out for help.