Preparing for the Easter holidays when you’re recovering from bulimia

Catherine Liberty's picture

If you celebrate Easter then you’re probably already feeling those anxiety levels increasing as the holiday rapidly approaches. Especially so if this is your very first Easter in recovery!

I was luckier than most people because I’d already been in recovery for 9 whole months when my first bulimia-free Easter Holidays came around. I'd also learned so much thanks to the online bulimia treatment I'd received here at Bulimia Help.

But no matter what stage of recovery you’re at, having a well thought out and well-rehearsed plan of attack is essential if you’re to remain relapse-free during this time. 

Here are some of my favourite tried and tested tips for surviving the Easter Holidays when you’re recovering from an eating disorder.

Surviving the Easter Holidays in recovery

1. Only accept the challenges you are ready for

I remember reading an article that explained the importance of “getting out there”, saying yes to invitations and not letting your eating disorder take away another second of your life. 

And as much as I love that idea, you know what?  Sometimes it is okay if you just don’t feel ready to take on such a huge challenge. Family gatherings, large meals and unstructured environments can be incredibly stressful so ask yourself “am I really ready for this?” If not consider alternative plans for the Easter Holidays that may be a little less triggering and a little more recovery-friendly. 

2. Make regular eating your main priority

Even if you’re unable to follow your usual structured eating plan over the Easter Holidays, that doesn’t mean that the concept of structured eating has to be thrown out of the window entirely. By becoming more flexible and relaxed in your approach to meal planning you’ll be able to find a great compromise that enables you to eat regularly, even when you’re not always able to plan those meals and snacks in advance. 

3. Make important decisions in advance (especially those concerning Easter eggs and chocolate!) 

It’s a great idea to allow yourself some Easter candy and chocolate over the holidays, because we all know that avoidance of specific foods can lead to increased binge urges. But rather than waiting until the big day, try to decide how much of these foods you'll feel comfortable eating, how you'll add them into your meal plan and how you'll prevent binging on them ahead of time. 

4. Keep triggering foods out of sight 

Last year Brian Wansink, professor of nutritional science at Cornell University in New York conducted a study that found people have a very strong tendency to eat foods that are clearly displayed, rather than foods that are stored out of sight. Of course this study does not consider bulimics in recovery, but having kept all of my previously triggering foods out of sight during my own recovery I can tell you that this tip really does work wonders!

5. Watch out for all or nothing thinking

We’ve all heard that bulimic voice in the back of our minds that tells us things like “you’ve already messed up so you might as well keep going.” So if you do find yourself eating more food than you had planned, overeating or even binging, really try to keep your cool and remind yourself that one slip does not have to ruin your entire day. 

Further advice on getting through the Easter holidays without binging and purging...

If this is going to be your first bulimia-free Easter holiday I really wish you the best of luck.

If you’d like some more support and information on how to deal with the triggering aspects of this or any other holiday season then please do check out the following articles which contain lots of useful information for navigating those chocolate minefields this weekend:

4 comments

Sanet
Sanet's picture
Thanks so much for the advise

Thanks so much for the advise - we are going camping and are planning do some hiking as well. I taking along loads of healthy snacks! If I succeed, this will be my first successful trip! So, hold thumbs please! Good luck to all the girls for this weekend and have a blessed easter!!!!

SG

Determined 86
Determined 86's picture
This is a great article and

This is a great article and what I find most helpful about it is the fact that it's ok if I don't feel ready to tackle some of the more triggering aspects and that it's ok to say no sometimes. Thank you so much, I sometimes worry that if I say no to an invitation that the ED is still controlling my life but this helps me see that it's not and that recovery just takes time. I'm focusing on baby steps this Easter, my first in recovery and so far so good. Shared easter eggs with my parents this morning which is the first time in a long time that I have been able to do that without worrying! :)

Just be happy with yourself and its so simple to grow <3

Catherine Liberty
Catherine Liberty's picture
Hi Sanet, That sounds so

Hi Sanet,
That sounds so exciting, I hope you had a lovely time away. It's great to hear that you were planning to take a lot of snacks with you, with all of that physical activity your body will definitely thank you for that.

Hi Determined!
Thank you so much for your lovely comment, I'm really glad you found the article helpful. It sounds like your Easter started wonderfully, I hope the rest of it went just as well.

That's it really, of course we need to push ourselves a lot of the time, but knowing that it's okay to take it easy on yourself, especially at such daunting times of year, can be just as helpful in the recovery process.

Catherine x x

Massachusetts2012
Massachusetts2012's picture
Thanks i made a plan and went

Thanks i made a plan and went shopping and read over the book on Bulemia self help.Now im going to read your suggestions as this has been a tough day.Thank you.laurie

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