The coming year brings about a slew of New Year’s resolutions from friends and family alike. While some seem trivial and easily achievable (or commonly broken), such as trying something new or following an exercise regimen, others are much more serious and necessary for better health.
Loved ones who are recovering from eating disorders like binge eating , bulimia, or anorexia need and deserve all the support you can give them. This is especially true as the holiday festivities kick it up a notch as the New Year approaches. With the holiday season sometimes feeling like it’s all about food, your loved ones may struggle to keep their eating resolutions.
Embrace the Holiday Spirit and Togetherness
Rather than focusing on the food, focus on the holiday spirit and the company. When you accompany your loved ones to a social gathering or party, help them connect with old friends or meet new people.
Try to avoid the going straight to the food spread, too. Go around the room and strike up conversations. Just be careful of sensitive or potentially triggering topics.
Avoid Touchy Conversation Topics
Talking about or commenting on weight loss or gain and body size are rarely appropriate in social events. These topics can discourage someone who’s recovering from an eating disorder and is in a vulnerable state. Unfortunately, “ate too much” or “try eating there” conversations are a staple at holiday gatherings.
Reframe discussions about food so the focus is on nourishment and health, rather than the negative effects on body shape. If you can’t avoid these sensitive topics, then try to steer your loved ones away. Mingle with other people, talk about other topics, and help them have fun to forget the conversation.
Coming to holiday parties where there’s a lot of food is a step out of the comfort zone for your loved ones who are recovering from an eating disorder. So, remind them of how brave they are to face their fears. Also, support their decision should they want to leave early. Give comment on how well they’ve done and accompany them rather than force them to stay.
Encourage them to practice self-compassion instead of beating themselves up out of self-consciousness. A little extra self-care before and after the party like a relaxing bubble bath or getting a massage can go a long way.
Hide the Scales
Don’t leave the weighing scales out in the bathroom! If you’re hosting a get-together, remember to put away put away the scales. Having it out in the open will only make your loved ones more self-conscious. In fact, it might even be better if your loved ones hide their own scales for good in the coming year. Keeping it hidden will help curb their urge to constantly weigh and judge themselves.
It’s not just this holiday season that your loved ones will appreciate your full support. After all, recovering from an eating disorder is a constant battle — one that is tested nearly every single holiday and large social gathering.
If there’s one thing you can add to your New Year’s resolution, let it be your unconditional support for your family and friends’ journey to be a physically, mentally, and emotionally healthy version of their selves. As the saying goes: New Year, new you.