Supporting a Loved One Recovering from Bulimia Through the Holidays
While many enjoy a holiday feast, a loved one recovering from bulimia might feel stressed and overwhelmed. He or she might feel pressured to eat multiple courses because he or she doesn’t want to dampen anyone’s spirits. He or she might face relatives who point out the amount of food on his or her plate. The person might receive boxes of luxury chocolates and other food that he or she can’t refuse.
As a result, your loved one might not enjoy the festive atmosphere in Westport. Worse, it might throw his or her eating disorder treatment plans out of balance.
Take heart in the fact that there are many ways you can make the holidays more enjoyable for your loved one. Start by accepting that your family doesn’t have to follow holiday conventions. After all, Christmas is all about spending time with people that matter the most. It’s alright if you don’t serve dinner that looks good on social media; what’s important is that each member of your family has a good time.
Make the Holidays Less Food-Centric
When people think of Christmas, one of the first things that come to mind is food. For a person recovering from bulimia, however, this abundance causes stress. So, make the holidays a little less food-centric.
Focus on other traditions that your family enjoys, such as playing Christmas games, watching movies, or singing carols. Share stories or make arts and crafts. Give and open gifts. You can invite them to go light sighting or volunteer at a Christmas shelter.
Be Mindful of the Food
Celebrating the holidays without festive food is hard. To accommodate a loved one recovering from bulimia, involve him or her in the preparations. Ask what he or she would feel comfortable eating. Encourage the person to help you make that dish from scratch.
During dinner, be mindful of how you serve food. You can plate up meat and potatoes for everyone, for instance. You loved one will not feel singled out and, at the same time, have an agreeable amount of food on the plate.
A little encouragement to eat is enough; don’t push him or her to try each dish. Similarly, avoid praising the person when he or she eats. Don’t take offense, too, if the person refuses the chocolate soufflé you’ve worked on all day. Support your loved one in his or her mindful eating.
Steer Clear of “The Talk”
Many people invite extended family over for Christmas. While your family knows what subjects to avoid over dinner, the relatives you’ve invited might not. They might make comments that, though well-meaning, make a person recovering from bulimia feel uneasy.
So, before the get-together, gently remind your relatives to avoid talking about appearance, diets, and weight loss or gain. People recovering from bulimia tend to be self-critical towards their body image, and these discussions might fuel negative behaviors. They, however, welcome conversations about other subjects that take their mind off the food.
If your loved one excuses him or herself during the celebrations, allow them to spend time by themselves. This would help him or her cope with the flurry of activities and regain composure. You wouldn’t want to have disagreements during Christmas, after all.
Recovering from bulimia is not a one-person battle. Your loved one needs your support to overcome the disorder, especially during the holidays. For more information about bulimia recovery, don’t hesitate to contact us today.