Our posts are generally about caring for a child who has an eating disorder, but we also know that many times eating disorders run in families, and we also know that every parent who has had an eating disorder worries about passing ED on to their children.
So this post is written by Anonymous ED Mom, who shares with us what she’s doing as she heads into Christmas while in recovery for binge eating disorder and bulimia.
I’m doing pretty well in my recovery, and although I haven’t purged in a long time, bingeing is still something that sneaks up on me in times of stress. But as my daughter grows older, it’s more and more important to me that I model conscious eating when I’m with her.
She’s old enough now that I think she can sense when I get overwhelmed and anxious, and she also notices when I eat and drink in a mindless state. It’s so distressing to me to think of her having to see her strong mom (I really am awesome in every other way) having such a hard time dealing with stress, so I’m putting together a plan to avoid bingeing this Christmas.
We’ll be with my extended family for almost 48 hours, and eating may be a bit chaotic. I can’t control exactly when we will all eat, but I can plan to have healthy, nutritious food available for myself at all times. I’m going to eat when I’m hungry, no matter what everyone else is doing. By honoring and taking care of my physical hunger, I will avoid getting too hungry, which can often lead to binges.
Take time out
I tend to get really excited and engaged when I’m with the people I love most in the world. It’s really awesome, but it can also leave me depleted. I have a tendency to pour my heart and soul into my family when they are around. This Christmas, I’m going to take some time out for myself and make sure I replenish my heart. I’m also going to try to not pour quite so much of it out. My eating disorder makes me kind of an all or nothing gal, but I really think I can get a little more moderate with practice.
Connect for my sake
There are so many traditions, so many people to catch up with, and so many things to do on Christmas. All my nieces and nephews are adorable, and I want to snuggle them all and build out belongingness over the holiday. But sometimes I focus so much on building connection for others that I leave myself out and end up feeling disconnected. Weird, I know. But this Christmas I’m going to look for ways that I will feel connected to the people I love. Rather than just thinking of their connection needs, I’m going to actively seek my own. Revolutionary!
Pay attention at the table
After about 24 hours together, we will all sit down for the big event – the main meal. At this point, if I haven’t taken care of myself by following my three goals above, I could be in trouble. But regardless, once I sit down at that table, I’m going to pay attention to what’s on my plate and what’s on the table. I will work on ways to slow myself down while eating and drinking, and pay attention to what and how I am eating. When I do this, I’m more likely to actually notice feelings of being satisfied, and I’m less likely to binge.
That’s my plan! Wish me luck!