Happy Monday from me and my delicious bowl of oatmeal! One of my favorite holidays is this week, Thanksgiving! I love getting to spend time with family and eat delicious food. I feel very fortunate that I have the opportunity to spend time with my loved ones, bake, and eat! Lately I have been thinking a lot about this time of year can be hard for someone who struggles with an eating disorder / body image / disordered eating. I use to struggle during this time of year and I was scared to eat anything coated in sugar or cooked in butter. I also thought I had to workout out 10x harder in order to “burn off more calories”. I thought it would be fun to share some tips that have helped me change my mindset over the past few years around the holidays. I am not a certified professional in any way when it comes to this stuff… I am just a girl who has been through an eating disorder and I am here to tell you – you can get through this! The holidays are just a special time. I should also say, I am so far from perfect. I still struggle with some of these things! I wanted to write this post to help encourage me just as much as I hope it encourages you. So, here are a few things that have helped me…
- Remember your identity is rooted in Christ, not in your appearance.
- This was a game-changer for me. When I fully accepted that my identity is rooted in our Savior, I spent less time worrying about myself and my appearance and more time working on who I am in Him. “He must become greater; I must become less.” John 3:30 When I find myself worrying too much about what I look like and what I am eating, I know I need to spend more time with God.
- Remember the holidays are just a few months out of the year!
- Ok, the holidays are typically just the end of October – early January, That’s like 2.5 months. You will be FINE if you eat puppy chow and peanut brittle over coffee with your mom. You aren’t eating puppy chow every single day of the year (and if you are, props to you!) so it is OKAY to enjoy the wonderful desserts this time of the year brings! Just yesterday my dad offered me a piece of chocolate covered peanut brittle and I was hesitant to try it but my mom reminded me “’tis the season!”. And let me tell you, it was delicious! I am not saying make yourself sick with sugar. I have just learned over the last few years that everything really is fine in moderation! I always look forward to puppy chow around Thanksgiving and Christmas so I make sure to really enjoy it during these months!
- Surround yourself with positive people & positive content.
- This one can be tricky. I know that a lot of people don’t have a positive community of people they can turn to. Maybe you have a family member who makes negative comments on food or you have a group of friends who aren’t understanding of what you are going though. If this is you, it is SO important to make that positive environment for yourself so that when you do encounter not-so-nice people, you can remind yourself that you are rooted in Christ, not in the opinion of others. I spent several months actively unfollowing anyone on Instagram who wasn’t sharing content that left me feeling positive. I also really narrowed down my friend group to people who are kind and Christ-like. Here are a few of my favorite positive accounts to follow (food & nonfood related):
- Remember it’s okay to take a step back.
- Take deep breaths. Go for a walk. Spend time in the Word. Journal. Pray. Go to the bathroom and give yourself a pep talk in the mirror! (LOL, I am serious!) Life can get overwhelming, especially around the holidays! I have to take time for myself and fill up my cup before I can give to others. I usually start my day with reading the Bible, praying, and journaling to set myself up for success. When I feel overwhelmed by food or family, I just take a step back, focus on a prayer, and remind myself I am a child of God. I don’t have to be perfect because He is already perfect!
- Don’t exercise more, PRAY MORE.
- I used to think exercising more would make me feel better about the different desserts I was eating and the extra Holiday food I was consuming…that worked for a while but it didn’t last because I was putting all my worth in how many calories I could burn off. What I needed to do was PRAY more! My favorite form of exercise right now is walking and I LOVE talking to God on my walks, so you could always try that too! Prayer can solve literally everything. Stressed? Pray. Worried? Pray. Anxious? Pray. Just feeling grateful? PRAY! You don’t just have to pray when you are overwhelmed! Thanking God for all He has provided is so powerful. How lucky are we that we get to talk to God whenever we want?! If you feel like you need to go run x amount of miles from the slice of pie you ate, maybe try switching your mentality! Run if you want, but don’t base your worth on that!
There is so much more I could say on this topic – overall, I hope you realize that your worth is rooted in Christ and if God is for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31). I would encourage you to give some of the people I mentioned a follow! Some of them are way more qualified on this topic and the others just spark genuine positivity and authenticity!
I am praying for you! You’ve got this!