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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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:
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