Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year; family, friendship, frivolity and food. To most people, this is a time of celebrating, to not worry about the additional few pounds, and excuses to eat and drink a little more than usual. But this isn’t the case for everyone. Those with eating disorders or in eating disorder recovery can find the Christmas period extremely triggering. With everything being focussed around meal times, it can feel very overwhelming.
We sat down with Nutritional Therapist, Life Coach, NLP Therapist and Master Practitioner Sasha Paul to discuss how Christmas can affect those suffering, in recovery but also how friends and family can support them if they know, or if they suspect.
“Firstly, I want to highlight the fact that there is no one rule for someone who is in recovery or battling an eating disorder, nor is there a rule for family and friends to support them.”
There will be increased anxiety this year around food this year due to the pandemic. Those with eating disorders have been tucked away for a long time and now socialising around food is back in full force which could be more overwhelming than before.
Having an eating disorder can be very isolating, try and find someone you can talk to, who will understand or who can support over this period; a friend, family member, or an organisation (I recommend BEAT who have a helpline, resources on the web and offer free support).
If you are finding that being around food and meals is overwhelming, don’t be afraid to set boundaries. Ask to be excused, keep meal times flexible, and ask to keep the process relaxed and remind yourself, as long as you are trying, you are healing. You are not going backwards.
For family members who have a loved one with an eating disorder, in recovery or you suspect someone may be suffering, don’t comment on their weight. Whether it is complimentary, or positive, it is a very triggering subject. Be relaxed and patient and honour they may be finding it difficult.
Please if you are suffering, ask for help, if you have been to your GP and you have been turned away, go back to a different GP or reach out to BEAT, or a friend or family. Recovery isn’t possible alone and you don’t have to face it alone.”
Amazing words from Sasha there, be kind to all you never know the battle they may be facing.