How Should You Approach Holiday Meals With A Loved One Who Has An Eating Disorder

holiday-meal-family

Holidays can be especially triggering for those who are in recovery from eating disorders. If your loved one is coming home for their first holiday out of treatment, here are some suggestions.

Limit Negative Comments About Food And Eating

One of the ways we cope with feelings of guilt, remorse, or shame about food is talking about it. Rather than enjoy a holiday meal and carry on with our normal diets the next day, we have a need to make sure we are justified in our indulgences and committed to never eating this way again. Such comments can be extremely triggering for a loved one who is actually suffering from an eating disorder. Limit comments about calories, diets, detoxes, or how fattening a food will be. Try not to frame food choices as “naughty” or “cheating”. Instead, express gratitude for the special occasion to eat delicious foods you enjoy.

Don’t Comment On Their Portions

Even as parents, it isn’t one’s place to comment on another’s food choices. In fact, its a sign of personal insecurity when we do. For those in recovery from eating disorders, it is best to start off with small portions and have second larger portions if they are hungry. Trust their treatment and recovery. Support them by asking them how delicious everything is.

Avoid Asking Triggering Questions

We do it out of love and concern for our loved one. However, asking whether or not they kept down their dinner if they go to the restroom after the meal is damaging to them. We have to learn to trust them and their recovery. Rather than ask them about why there is or is not enough food on their plate ask them which dish they like best. You don’t need to ask them if they’re “okay” all throughout the meal.

Keep The Conversation Focused On Gratitude

The Holidays are, after all, about giving thanks and showing gratitude for life, love, and family. Rather than focus on the food and one’s relation to the food, focus on gratitude. Share stories, memories, and dreams for the future. Play fun games and enjoy company. If your loved one is doing well in their recovery from an eating disorder, there is a lot to be grateful for.    

 

Aurora Recovery Centre welcomes men and women suffering from eating disorders to be treated in our certified dual diagnosis treatment center. Eating disorders are often accompanied by substance use disorders. Our programs include nutritional counseling, cooking lessons, and education about mind, body, as well as spirit. For a holistic approach to healing and lifelong recovery, call Aurora today at 844-515-STOP.

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