Thanksgiving – ideally a time to give thanks and spend joyous time with family. Unfortunately that's not how it works for a lot of people, especially those with eating disorders. For a person with an eating disorder Thanksgiving can be really challenging. After all, it's an entire holiday dedicated to food. It's hard to be grateful and to enjoy family time when you're freaking out over what you will or won't eat that day.
So let's make a plan. By making a plan you reduce the stress related to figuring out what and when you're going to eat. Keep in mind that restricting to "save up" calories for the meal only sets you up to overeat and feel guilty after, so eat as normally as possible leading up to your Thanksgiving meal.
Fill in the following blanks to create your holiday plan:
-Breakfast: Time _____ What I'll eat _____________________________________
-Lunch: Time _____ What I'll eat _____________________________________
-Dinner: Time _____ What I'll eat _____________________________________
-Snacks: Time(s) _____ What I'll eat _____________________________________
*Designate which meal is your Thanksgiving meal
Also consider the following:
-Will I need to set my phone alarm to remind me to eat at certain times?
-Do I need to bring some snacks with me?
-What can I do if I need extra support?
Remember that just because our culture normalizes overeating on Thanksgiving, this doesn't mean that you are obligated to do so. Stop when you are comfortably full. Remind yourself you can have more later. If you are on a meal plan trust that by eating according to your meal plan your body is getting what it needs.
Finally, take a deep breath and relax your muscles. Close your eyes and identify something that you are grateful for this year. Gratitude can be a powerful way to get out of your ED mind and into your wise mind. Happy Thanksgiving.