5 Keys to Surviving Holidays with an Eating Disorder


As the holiday season approaches, consider these 5 keys to surviving holidays with an eating disorder. The holidays alone can feel overwhelming, but that stress is magnified when you’re struggling with an eating disorder. These 5 keys, in reverse order of importance, will make navigating the season more enjoyable and manageable.

5 Keys to Surviving Holidays with an Eating Disorder


1) Shift your focus.

What you FOCUS on, you FEEL. Shift your focus away from the eating disorder and towards something that will make you feel good. Music? Maybe a particular person or tradition? If nothing’s got you super revved up about Thanksgiving, schedule a call with a good friend that day or take a 15 minute breather to do some light stretches or breath work during the festivities. Don’t feel bad about taking a few minutes to yourself to get your head in the right place.


2) Change your physiology.

Before you host or go to the host’s home, shift your state, your physiology. This can be done in a number of ways, but the idea is to get OUT of your head. The best way to stop overthinking, is to MOVE your body. Try singing your favorite song, dancing, a few jumping jacks or some breath work. Do this right before you leave – you will feel energized and refreshed.



Don’t wait to eat until it’s time for the festivities. A secret I share with clients (one many have had success with) is to eat a small meal before you go. Then, the food that’s out will not seem so overwhelming and you won’t feel so frazzled. Before the holiday, think about a filling snack you might prepare and eat before hand. Also, dress for comfort and for YOU. Not for anyone else. There’s nothing worse than tugging at your clothes or constantly adjusting your top. Find something that allows you to move and easily focus on Key #4.


4) Serve others.

Holidays can feel overwhelming for anyone. Especially when struggling with an eating disorder, you feel like no one is sensitive to your needs. There is a big focus on food and you can also feel that people are judging you. Similar to Key #2, get out of your head by doing. Help out in any way you can. Do the dishes or clean up. Serve others and ask how they are doing. Be genuinely curious about others – everyone has something they’re struggling with or something they want to open up about. Be there. Be present.


5) Gratitude.

The most important of all five keys. Gratitude. What can you choose to be grateful for? Gratitude is the cure for suffering. So, when you’re feeling down or like no one understands, quickly jot down three things you’re grateful for in that moment. It could be as simple as having a roof over your head or having a place to go during the holidays.


The holidays are a special time to be around loved ones. Surviving the holidays with an eating disorder shouldn’t be the goals; enjoying the holidays is what you seek. There are so many opportunities to feel joy and find gratitude. You just have to look.


Lindsay Ronga, Food & Wellness Coach, guides and empowers women to heal their relationship with food and their body. Lindsay works with those ready to let go of binge, stress and emotional eating through Wellness & Food Freedom individual coaching and through Break the Behaviors group coaching. Learn more here: https://www.outshininged.com/food-coach/
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