Tips for Binge Eating Recovery During the Holidays

November 30, 2022 Emma Parten

The holiday season seems to put pressure on indulging in big meals and celebrating with people you haven't seen in a while. These holiday traditions also disrupt one's routine, which is helpful to have in recovery. The pressure and disruption of the holiday season can cause elevated stress and discomfort around food, especially if you are in binge eating disorder (BED) recovery. 

My Experience with Binge Eating Disorder Recovery and the Holidays

Recently, while driving to visit my family and celebrate Thanksgiving, I decided to try a new strategy to help keep my focus on the people I care about instead of fixating on food. I decided to pick a one-word intention to hold onto throughout the weekend as a reminder of how I want to feel. The word I picked was "savor" to remind myself to slow down, relax, savor my food, and savor the time with my family.

I experienced successes and struggles during my Thanksgiving weekend. I successfully remembered my one-word intention several times, and that helped me focus more on what was going on around me. I still struggled with feelings of guilt after eating too much, and I wore an outfit that felt uncomfortable and tight for the sake of fashion. Overall, I felt more connected to feelings of gratitude and growth this year.

Even though Thanksgiving has passed, more holidays are coming up, and I'm going to stay alert to the stress this can cause during eating disorder recovery.

Tips for Holidays During Binge Eating Recovery

The way I define recovery isn't dependent on the absence of struggling with thoughts and behaviors around food. I focus on my ability to recognize what is going on and redirect myself accordingly.

As we navigate the holidays, these are the strategies I use to be present with what is happening around me, especially during gatherings where food is involved.

  • Step away to recalibrate -- I try to remember to step outside when I'm drawn into feelings of guilt about eating too much. The fresh air, or the quiet of a room without other people, helps me refocus on what is important. 
  • Redirect attention -- If I sense I am lost in thoughts about food, I try to engage someone in conversation, get a game started, or maybe go for a walk with a group of people. I redirect my attention when I notice I am thinking about food.
  • Wear comfortable clothing -- I wear something that is comfortable and makes me feel at ease. When I am full of food, the sensation of tight clothing makes it difficult to relax and be attentive to the people around me.
  • Remind yourself why you are celebrating -- I think about my big-picture reason for practicing the traditions of this time of year. I try to remember I am celebrating being alive and having the means even to afford food.

I hope you stay alert and compassionate toward yourself during this time of year. Whatever this season brings up for you in your recovery process, keep in mind that we learn as much from our failures as we do our successes. Take good care, and if you're inspired, please leave a comment about your experiences this holiday season.

APA Reference
Parten, E. (2022, November 30). Tips for Binge Eating Recovery During the Holidays , HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 13 from

Author: Emma Parten

Connect with Emma on her personal blog.

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