Eating disorders during the holidays: Be mindful

Published on Dec. 6, 2016 with Open Mic Rochester. 

I am currently the heaviest I have ever weighed. If you’d told me four or five years ago that not only would I weigh close to 130 pounds, but that I’d be announcing it to the world through my writing, I would have laughed so hard in your face.

And then I probably would have skipped dinner.

But I’m actually okay with it this year. I’m not in love with my weight, but it’s been quite some time since I’ve skipped a meal on purpose, worked out way too much or thrown up after eating a meal. It took a long, long time (and a lot of love) to get to this point.

That’s not the reality for a lot of men, women and everything inbetween out there, and my heart is breaking for them this holiday season. I don’t know how many people know it, but this time of the year is really difficult for a lot of people struggling with eating disorders.

For so long, food was my enemy, until I realized it wasn’t food but that I was my own enemy. A lot of strong, brave people are still fighting that battle.

Being surrounded by mashed potato leftovers, cookies and decadent food is anxiety inducing, as is giant, family dinners. When you have an eating disorder, just leaving your house and having people see you can be crippling, and the holiday season is all about visiting with loved ones.

I see a lot of support for people with eating disorders and body image issues during National Eating Disorder Awareness Week in February, I never see much during November and December, perhaps when it’s more difficult than ever to deal with those demons inside of you.

If you know someone who is struggling or has struggled with an eating disorder, reach out to them. Ask them how you can help if you’re comfortable. If not, just give them some extra love this month without mentioning their looks or weight.

But really, this post is for the men and women who are out there combatting food, judgemental looks, snide comments and their own inner demons.

To the person who is struggling to leave the house because they are ashamed of how they look; to the person sneaking away from Christmas dinners to find a quiet place to puke; to the person binging on 30 holiday cookies: I see you, I love you and I understand what you’re going through.

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