You Don’t Need to Diet After (or before) the Holidays

I have a love hate relationship with the holidays. I love seeing my family and my friends. I love the idea of gathering around and being thankful for one another, opening Christmas gifts together, and saying goodbye to the previous year while celebrating a new one. I love the idea of it.

What I hate, is the reality. The reality is that the holidays are anxiety inducing for me. Not only does money and gift buying stress me the fuck out- but this time of the year is carb city and honestly that’s more anxiety provoking than the one dollar in my bank account and ten people that deserve a ten day trip to some tropical island.

I like food. I like carbs. I actually love carbs. Which is probably why I hate this time of year. My eating disorder is a shape shifter. It finds its way into any role it can take. Anorexia is my diagnosis but during the holiday season, regardless of any declaration I have made or diet I wanted to stick to, I always end up binging and purging, over exercising, and trying to heavily restrict the days before and after each celebration. That is just how it has always been.

If you are reading this and have struggled with an ED, maybe you can relate to the shame and guilt and feeling of disgust and frustration that takes over after a binge. Honestly writing about it gives me a lump in my throat and a knot in my stomach.

Then, to make matters worse, throw in the holiday diet talk- and you have yourself the perfect storm. A relapse waiting to happen. Is it fucked up that in some ways that excites me? The thought of having an excuse to relapse. The idea of planning this sick cycle out in my head to jump right back into the warm embrace of my ED. Jumping into a coffin in the ground.

So how do I not do this. How do I break this pattern that I’ve been stuck in for as long as I can remember? How do I stop myself from going to a 90 minute spin class before thanksgiving dinner and to the gym after? How can I not eat Christmas cookies until I puke? How do I not decide to lose a couple pounds for my New Years resolution? How do I tell people they are triggering the fuck out of me when they talk about how mashed potatoes aren’t Keto?

If you are looking for answers I don’t know if I have them. I honestly don’t know if I have anything. Besides a little bit of hope that I maybe can learn from my past mistakes. So I guess here it goes.

Remind yourself that you don’t need to exercise to earn or burn calories. You don’t need to earn your food. Food is a necessity, even when it feels like the enemy. It isn’t. You need to eat. And the holidays can be a great time to eat with people you love and feel connected.

You don’t need to be punished for eating “bad.” Food has no morals. Food is not bad. Potatoes aren’t bad. Pie is not bad. Food is not bad- unless it is expired or moldy, then maybe it is bad.

Block people on social media that begin sharing things about the amount of burpees you have to do to “make up for” a turkey leg. They are stupid. They are not nutritionists. If these people aren’t on social media and are in real life, kindly tell them to shut up. Just kidding, unless you are okay with being super aggressive.

If diet talk is making you uncomfortable advocate for body neutrality. Or if you want to get a good laugh ask this person about why there last diet did not work. Explain to them that diets don’t work. Explain to them that they deserve a better resolution that one that focuses on shrinking themselves. And if they continue to argue that they are going to try intermittent fasting in 2020, tell them they are stupid and annoying.

Do not skip eating all day to only eat one giant meal. Listen to your body. If you skip eating all day you are setting yourself up for a binge and you don’t have to do that. You don’t have to fail.

Excuse yourself from situations that don’t make you feel okay. Literally, walk away. You don’t need to kill yourself and your progress for someone else.

Try positive affirmations and that might sounds super lame but sometimes when you read them and say them out loud they really do work a little.

Make goals that have nothing to do with your body and more to do with your mind. We are healing and growing in 2020.

Have someone you can talk to that supports you. Also make a therapy appointment. You don’t have to do this alone anymore.

Focus on the good. So many great things happened this year and so many great things are coming in the future. Please dear god stop focusing on the negatives.

Don’t weigh yourself. Literally do not weigh yourself do not look for a scale in your moms bedroom or at the gym. Literally stop being a psycho. Do not weigh yourself before you eat or after you eat. Do not do it.

Wear comfy pants nobody cares what you look like you are in your living room.

You don’t have to relapse. You don’t have to use the same excuse you always have. You don’t have to do this again. Even if you want to. You don’t have to.

If you are reading this and you have never had an eating disorder then I want you to listen closely. You do not need to go on a diet in 2020. You do not have to fast all day before thanksgiving. You can be an ally to someone and not know it by just letting other people know that this shit is stupid. We don’t have to earn our food. We don’t have to cut out carbs or fat or anything else for that matter. We can talk about something other than diets and hating our fucking bodies.

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