Holiday Survival, ED Bites Style
So tomorrow is Christmas. There is a ridiculous amount of hoopla around Christmas, and parts of it I enjoy (lights, decorating, Christmas carols) and others I really don’t (the myopic focus on food, the expectation that you will have a happy holiday dinner with family, the commercialization). What helps me is to focus on the other name for Christmas:
Tomorrow might be Christmas, but tomorrow is also Tuesday. It’s just like any other day. It still has 24 hours, and it will not last any longer than that.
Reminding myself that Christmas is just any other day really helps me stay focused on what I need to do for recovery. I eat exactly the same as I would any other day. Yes, some of my food choices are a little different (I probably have less fruits, a little more veggies, and more fats over the course of the day), but in terms of calories and exchanges, it all equals out. For years, I ate the same meal plan I would any other day.
It really helped.
I don’t feel the need to stuff myself at dinner because it’s any other dinner. I don’t get as stressed because I got dinner handled. I know how to do it. Protein, carbs, fats, veggies, and salad. I also don’t skip meals or snacks in “preparation” for the big Christmas dinner because–yup–it’s just another dinner. If I can, I like to find the menu beforehand so I know what’s coming my way, and it helps relieve some of the stress.
I also eat my meals on (close to) my regular schedule. In my family, we usually have a brunch around 11am or so. I don’t do well at brunch. I can’t stuff myself to get all of the required food in, so I usually have a smallish breakfast at the regular time (assuming, of course, that I get up early enough). The “brunch” is my lunch, I have a slightly earlier snack and a slightly earlier dinner. My evening snack is dessert.
Like I said, I try to keep it like any other day.
It’s a balance between trying to be uber-flexible and pretending that the ED stuff doesn’t exist (which is ludicrous, because it does) and being so rigid that I can’t enjoy the holiday. Some people can go with the flow more easily. Others need much more of a structure. The important thing is finding what works for you. If your recovery would be stronger if you ate a bigger lunch in the privacy of your home, had a lighter dinner with family and then made up the calories when you got home, go for it. I did that for years when I would have to attend a gathering outside my home. It wasn’t ideal, but it worked. It kept me in recovery.
The combination of food and family is frequently a disaster waiting to happen. People say dumb things, they bitch about their thighs and talk about their New Year’s diets. They comment on your plate and your body as if they were acceptable topics for discussion. They’re not. We are thrown together with an array of neuroses, some of which are our own, and it frequently explodes into disaster. The Hollywood writers who portray happy meals clearly grew up on a planet that was very different from my own and the one that most of my friends occupy. Accepting that Christmas dinner just needs to be endured, not enjoyed, also helped me. I didn’t have any expectations to be crushed. Assuming everyone survived and no one was arrested meant victory.
So I hope you all have a recovery-oriented day tomorrow. It might not always be pleasant, but as long as you keep moving forward, Christmas will end after 24 hours…just like any other day.
Too add a little smile to your holiday, here’s a Grumpy Cat meme I made up just for you: