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Ringing in the New Year with an Eating Disorder: Coping Tips

By HERWriter
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 how to cope when ringing in the New Year with an eating disorder Andy Dean Photography/PhotoSpin

Most of the holidays with an emphasis on food consumption have passed, but we still have New Year’s Eve coming up. And that means a focus on New Year’s resolutions, which tend to be weight-related.

This focus on food and weight during the holidays and New Year is not easy for the average person to deal with, let alone someone who is suffering with an eating disorder.

Fortunately experts have some ways for us to cope with disordered eating or a diagnosed eating disorder during this hectic time of year.

Lauren Smolar, a Helpline manager at the National Eating Disorders Association, said that one of the best ways to get through the holiday season is to seek professional help.

“We recommend making sure that you know your boundaries and have planned a system of support to get you through some of the stressful times associated with the holiday events,” Smolar said in an email.

She agreed that this is sometimes not the most wonderful time of year for someone struggling with an eating disorder, and that’s why it’s important to ask for help.

“The holidays and new year expectations can certainly provide some challenging times for someone struggling,” Smolar said.

“There can be a lot of extra pressure with large gatherings of food and resolutions that are often surrounded by potentially triggering weight goals, which can be tough for someone who is struggling with an eating disorder.”

For someone with an eating disorder who may not have already reached out for help yet, her suggestion for a New Year’s resolution is to make that final push to ask for professional help.

Shoshana Kobrin, a psychotherapist specializing in eating disorders, has some extra tips via email to help put people with eating disorders and food/weight issues at ease during the holiday season:

1) “Take care of yourself. Plan treats that don’t involve food: a walk in the snow or to see the holiday lights, a new book, movie, or some gentle music, a massage or spa treatment ... buying a special notebook to journal or draw your feelings.”

2) “Prepare yourself.

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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