How To Get Through The Holidays When You’ve Struggled With An Eating Disorder

Black women deal with eating disorders; we just don’t always talk about them. Ahead of Thanksgiving, we’re ending the stigma by talking about getting through the holidays when you’re in recovery.

When you’ve struggled with an eating disorder the holidays can be difficult. Thanksgiving can be especially tough, since it’s a time that encourages folks to pile up their plates in the spirit of family, love, and gratitude. This year, we want to help our girls get through this holiday by sharing tips on making it easier.

I’ve been in eating disorder recovery for a few years. It’s a process that has had it’s ups and downs. But I know that I’m much better than I once was. Speaking with a specialist, keeping up with my regular therapist, and being truthful with myself have been crucial to my healing.

“[L]abeling food as ‘good’ or ‘bad’ is something I’ve had to let go of.”

Being open with a family member or friend helps during Thanksgiving. I have a cousin who is around my age and we both attend dinner. I’ve been honest about my history with binge eating with her. I know that I can talk to her if I’m having a hard time. Even if we don’t talk about binge eating specifically, I know that she knows me well enough to spot discomfort. I feel comfortable talking through my feelings with her.

Labeling food as “good” or “bad” is something I’ve also had to let go of. Now, there are certain things that I’m straight up not going to eat, like ham. But that’s because of my spiritual beliefs and not food restrictions. I try to avoid thinking about bread and sweets in a negative way, because eating is all about balance. So, I can have both green beans and a slice of peanut butter cake. I just need to pace myself and check in with myself when I’m eating.

Taking the power away from food and giving it back to myself has been the most helpful tool of all. I know that I’m in control of the experience. I reclaim my power by refusing to be afraid of food, or not eating because I’m scared that it will go wrong.

I’m determined to enjoy this time with my family and I won’t let anything stop me.

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