The holiday seasons are hard to begin with Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s capping off the end of the year and what’s the one common denominator? Food of course. Throw in the short days and wintertime blues and it quickly becomes a difficult time for lots of people. Then to really make things even more difficult, add a restrictive eating disorder and the last few months of the year become something to survive and not truly enjoyed.
The typical person gains anywhere from 5 to 15-pounds thanks to the holidays; humans are a social species and we seem to always want to socialize over coffee, dinner, a holiday feast, or some other food event. Take food out of the picture and I don’t think people would know how to socialize (okay, take away sports too and then we’d be in a world of hurt on the socialization front). While sitting around with family, a bunch of friends, and the like, we tend to not really pay attention to just how much we eat; during the holiday’s we don’t eat so much as we graze (I see the makings of a horror story here).
As one with anorexia, the holidays are extremely difficult for me. The fear of gaining weight, worrying about how many calories are in something someone else made, just how many calories are in a glass of wine? There are constant thoughts and they never go away (even when I’m in recovery, I still worry about how many calories I’m eating). The weigh in after Thanksgiving dinner is dreaded, but the need to know is worse, so I sit in torment, sitting on the bathroom floor next to my mortal enemy (this past Thanksgiving I had the pleasure of being inpatient and not allowed access to a scale). A part of me wants to be social and another part of me doesn’t. I can control my food intake when I’m isolated, but when in a social setting, everyone is watching; will she eat? How much will she eat? Is that all you’re going to eat? You’re too skinny. You need to eat more. You’re nothing but skin an’ bones.
This year I have tried to relax a bit, eat a bit more than my normal 300 calories a day, and not worrying about my weight. Remember, I said trying. Trying and doing are two vastly different things and to some degree, I did better than I thought I would, but then stepped on the scale. Yikes!!
During the week of Christmas I was staying with friends and didn’t have access to a scale and I did snack some while visiting. The real problem didn’t start until I got home and my mortal enemy was sitting in the bathroom, taunting me, “come on you fat cow. You’ve been gone for a week; you MUST step on me and prove to me how weak you’ve become. Knowing I wouldn’t be happy until I knew exactly how bad things had gotten, I stripped down and stepped on the scale…it started laughing at me, calling me a fat pig, with a huge grim on its face knowing it had won. Just like that I was sucked back, back into worrying about gaining weight, worrying about what I eat, worrying about every calorie that passes my lips, worrying about New Year’s Eve party with its food yet to come, and then…I made a resolution for New Year’s.
Typically New Year’s resolutions are used to change something about ourselves that we don’t like, know we need to change, or are told we need to change. My first New Year’s resolution? To lose weight! But more than that, I broke it down into small steps so I can see progress towards my ultimate goal weight. I can see where with someone with an eating disorder, using a New Year’s resolution to lose weight may not be in my best interest, but it is something I want to change about myself and is a goal I know I can reach, so it’s my big number one resolution for the year.
Sigh, so much for recovery; I’m not ready yet it would seem.
Peace, love, and contentment,