Thanksgiving: Survival Guide for a Healthy, Happy Holiday!

Sometimes in friendly holiday movies, Thanksgiving is depicted as smooth going, serene and an uber friendly time to family bond, but in real life it can be super stressful. You have to hang with every cousin you ever met, defend your career choices and eat bulging turkeys all on one night!! It seems like there’s so much pressure to have this perfect family dinner that it can almost be debilitating.

For people struggling with disordered eating, the holidays can be an especially triggering time: questions like “what exactly should I eat? How do I not binge? How do I handle all this stress?” usually occur. But don’t you fear!! This is super common and hopefully this article will provide some coping tips for the holidays!!

One of the reasons Thanksgiving can be especially triggering is its major focus on food and communal eating. People struggling with eating disorders sometimes do not like to eat in public or hate getting into situations when there’s a lot of pressure on eating certain things. I personally struggled with binge eating before so sometimes I get nervous that at meals like this one, I will be tempted to lose control and just eat everything to prove I’m having a good time and to help fit in. But just remember, you can eat as much or as little as you want; and if you do have dietary restrictions, you can email the person cooking ahead of time. Even if it seems like there’s a ton of focus on this big meal, the holiday really is focused on relaxing and spending some high class quality time with yo family!

Another thing about Thanksgiving that can be difficult is the focus on proving how well you are doing with your life in conversations with family members. Just remember that some of this can be in your head. Your family members hopefully want to talk to you to see what you are up to and do some fun chit chat, not just see if you landed a fancy fancy job and are marrying a prince. Also remember if there is a family member that seems to be pushing you on your career choices and you are starting to shut down, you can always step away from the conversation and talk to someone else. Talk to the family members that help you feel comfortable and are good at the talking!

Ok here are some helpful, fun tips for a body positive thanksgiving! Happy holidays from RYB!

-Forgive yo self- If you eat a bit more food than you usually do in your typical diet, don’t beat yourself up!! When the table looks that good with all that colorful fancy food, it’s hard not to dig in. Just remember, you are so much more than how much food you have at a meal, you are an awesome, beautiful person with so many unique qualities!
-Have Support Networks/where ma girls at!!- Don’t ever be nervous to reach out for help if you are feeling overwhelmed or triggered during the holidays! Sometimes it can be hard if you are not feeling good, to just tell yourself to suck it up or deal with it. A great resource is the National Eating Disorder Helpline (which is totally free and anonymous): 1-800-931-2237 or you can call a friend or loved one who has an idea of what you’re going through and is willing to talk through your feelings. Just remember you are not alone, the holidays can be a very hard time but there are people who love you and will be there for you if you need them.
Find some fun, sexy activities! If your family is sitting around talking about why you are not in law school, it’s totally fine to ask to change activities. You can suggest everyone taking a walk or watching a trashy movie. Or you can always take a time out and go to your room or take a phone call and get a little break from the family bonding. A low key Thanksgiving without too many people asking me what a playwright is and will I ever make money, is usually my secret goal and hope :)

Written by Catherine Weingarten

More resources!
  • Realize Your Beauty recently took part in a Twitter Chat hosted by Proud2BeMe, focused on holiday triggers, with tips & advice. You can read highlights here: Proud Chat
  • #thx4support: Need some extra support on Thanksgiving Day? Help is out there via social media, using #thx4support on Twitter! Search the hashtag for inspiration & support. You can also participate by tweeting your support to those in the community!

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