When people think of the holiday season, they think of time spent with family, holiday specials on TV and lots of festive food. For people who struggle with eating disorders, the holiday season means something else entirely.
For those who struggle with anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa, the holidays act as a trigger and stressor to continue “extreme” dieting or the binge-purge coping mechanism. This inevitably leads to feelings of shame, guilt and disgust.
As someone who is currently trying to overcome her own eating disorder, I know how stressful the holidays can be on someone who is battling their own eating disorder. I feel that it is important to find ways to cope or at least bring yourself back from these triggers, especially if they occur during the holiday season.
- Keep a Journal with you
Something that has always been incredibly helpful for me during my recovery has been journaling. Maybe it’s because I’m a writer, but I just feel safe when I have that pen in my hand. I use my journal entries to write down what I am feeling, why I am feeling this way and how it relates to my eating disorder struggles.
I know this past Thanksgiving, I wrote an entry about me feeling anxious because there would be lots of turkey and pumpkin pie and I was scared that I would lose all sense of control and feel disgusted with myself. I find that being able to track your patterns and why certain events had been triggered, you have the chance to sit down and evaluate the root of the issue.
- Drink water and relax
I know that this tip sounds a little strange, but it does a world of good. If you do “slip-up” during the holidays, drinking water will not only help to clean you out, but it will help soothe you.
Also, doing yoga or meditating is a positive outlet for dealing with possible triggers and relapses, as it will help bring you back to being “yourself” and take away that negative energy plaguing your holidays and eating patterns.
- Take care of your physical needs
Don’t focus on your anxiety surrounding food. Take care of your physical needs first. Haven’t showered or shaved? Do it. Dirty dishes? Done. Laundry? Folded and put away. Small “real-world” accomplishments help bring me out of my head and back to reality. It’s also really uplifting to feel clean and sexy once in a while. Feel free to pamper yourself when cleaning. Bath bomb away. Homemade spa days are the greatest.
- Go for a run
I run. I run hard, and I run fast. I can actually feel myself escaping the grip holiday eating anxiety can have on me, most of the time. It’s very liberating, empowering, and excellent at putting my mind at ease. Positive self-talk throughout the run also helps. “You are bigger than this. You are stronger than this. YOU WILL BE OK.”
- Talk to someone – professionally or not
I cannot emphasize this tip enough. Silence is one of the most deadly symptoms for eating disorders and the more you talk about it, the easier recovery will be. While I know that some people are not able to explicitly talk about their eating disorder or have made their eating disorder known to their friends and family, even just having someone there to help distract and comfort you is all you need.
I know that the holiday season is a difficult time for me, so if there is a chance that I will relapse or am in distress, I will message one of my best friends and just explain to them the state that I’m in and they have always been incredibly supportive and know not to overwhelm me with too much talk and just assure me that I’ll get through it. I will also talk to my mom just about feeling anxious, and she will help me to strategize a plan to come back from a relapse or an anxiety attack surrounding food and the holidays.
Sometimes, people get to the point where they need to talk to someone professionally about their eating disorder. I know that when I went to therapy, it opened up a lot of doors that I hadn’t realized had been closed.
Therapy helps you change your perspective from negative to positive. You also figure out why you have these problems, which helps you get to the root of them in order to fix them. I went from not being able to enjoy my family Christmas parties without feeling anxiety to not feeling guilty for wanting a scoop of ice cream with my pumpkin pie.
Of course I still have “what if” thoughts, but I use it as fuel to prove to myself that I can do it. It doesn’t happen overnight, but I’m so glad that I made the choice to go because I was tired of food deciding whether I would be happy or not.
- Be Kind to yourself
For the love of god, be kind to yourself. It’s so easy to blame yourself for what you are feeling, but the fact is that your emotions are valid and you’re not to blame. In fact, you’re pretty god damn amazing and you will get through this.
When it comes down to it, the holidays are supposed to be a time to be with your loved ones and have fun. For people who suffer with eating disorders, it shouldn’t be a burden or a source of anxiety. If someone you love is battling anorexia, bulimia or other variations of eating disorders, be a little sensitive towards them this holiday season. Recognize that they are struggling with mental illness and don’t shame them for it. Be patient and sensitive. They want to enjoy the holidays just as much as you do.
Of all the things I’m thankful for, I’m most thankful to all the people who have stayed in my life.
Whether you celebrate Thanksgiving or not, never stop taking a moment to be thankful for the things you have, the people who love you and the opportunities that will fall upon you. There is always, always something to be thankful for.
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.
I don’t know what’s been up with me lately, but I’ve been baking a lot lately. I’m not usually one for baking, but it’s actually been such a nice thing to do when I have a break from working.
And this time, I took a break from baking brownies and decided to make cornbread, a Southern classic. I had been craving it all summer and finally decided to do something about it and make it myself.
I have shared my recipe down below. If you guys end up making it, definitely tag me so I can see how yours turned out!!
- 1 1/2 cups of cornmeal
- 2 1/2 cups milk
- 2 cups of all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon sal
- 2/3 cup white sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). In a small bowl, combine cornmeal and milk; let stand for 5 minutes. Grease a 9×13 inch baking pan.
- In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt and sugar. Mix in the cornmeal mixture, eggs and oil until smooth. Pour batter into prepared pan.
- Bake in preheated oven for 30 to 35 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the center of the cornbread comes out clean.
Anyone who knows me knows that brownies are the absolute death of me. There was one time during the school year where I woke up in the middle of the night with such bad cravings for brownies that I cried because I couldn’t go out to get any, as all of the stores were closed. The love is intense, my friends.
I’m a follower of Martha Stewart and one of my best friends is a baking goddess (Check out her Instagram to see her baking!), so naturally that has been inspiring me to take a stab at baking from scratch rather than a package.
After making these brownies, I am legit never going to buy store bought brownies ever again. The brownies were just so light and the texture was so moist. They weren’t too rich or heavy, so the sweetness didn’t make you feel sick to your stomach.
If you all love brownies and baking as much as I do, I have included my brownie recipe below. If you guys end up baking, definitely tag me in the post so I can see how yours turned out!
- 2 c. sugar
- 1/2 c. cocoa
- 4 eggs
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- 1 1/2 c. flour
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1 c. butter
- Nuts (Walnuts, pecans, peanuts, etc.); optional
- Mix sugar, cocoa, eggs and vanilla; gradually add flour and salt.
- When that is mixed, blend in butter. Spread in a 9×13 inch pan.
- Bake at 350°F for 20-25 minutes. If your pan is bigger than 9×13, keep it in for about 30-35 minutes, depending
- No baking soda or powder is needed for this recipe.
When I was back in Aurora for my reading week, my mother took my sisters and I to this really small and quaint restaurant called Bijoy’s in our hometown for afternoon tea and it’s safe to say I found a new guilty pleasure.
The culture of Afternoon tea is formerly part of the tradition of the British Empire and takes place typically between 3 – 4 pm in the afternoon. It consists of everyone choosing their own pot of tea and then having three open faced mini sandwiches, two scones and a mini pastry.
I will admit, I am more preferential to coffee, but I do like to change things up and have some tea every now and then. Since black teas tend to give me some pretty severe migraines, I am more partial towards white and green teas. Instead of ordering the safe green tea, I decided to try out the rosebud and petals tea.
After just one sip, I was completely hooked. It’s decaffeinated, smells beautiful and has a wonderful taste. I personally don’t like putting milk or sugar in my tea or coffee, and I think the nature of this kind of tea doesn’t require it. In fact, I think that it might even destroy the overall taste of it.
I might have to buy the loose leaves to keep in my tea cabinet.
When the tower of food came to our table, it was hard not to drool over the delicacy of the food and the presentation. On the bottom tier, there were three kinds of open faced mini sandwiches: cucumber and carrot, turkey and jam and, my personal favourite, smoked salmon and chives.
The second tier had a plethora of different scones. The scones ranged from cranberries to raisin. There were also mini pieces of banana bread with raisins as well as almond bark. Since I have allergies to almonds, I couldn’t eat them, but I happily took part in the scones and banana bread.
Strawberry jam, lemon marmalade and butter were on the side to accompany the scones.
Finally, the top tier had fudge brownies. Since I have a notoriously bad sweet tooth, I was certainly excited about this. They were delicious but very rich, which is a good thing that the portion was very small.
When we left afternoon tea, I knew that I wanted to do it again. It was a fun experience and I had a good bonding experience with my mother and sisters. And it’s also a fun opportunity to dress classy and pretend that you’re Kate Middleton for the day!
If you’re anything like me, you probably get cravings for things that you probably shouldn’t have. Like chips.
I try to live and eat as healthy as possible. I pride myself for going to the gym four days a week and having a rather clean diet. I do, however, have my one day of indulgence, otherwise known as my “cheat day.”
Until cheat day comes along, I have to find tricks to satisfy the craving while not feeling guilty for having a snack. That is where my kale chips recipe comes in.
Homemade kale chips are healthy, delicious and they literally give you the same satisfaction that you get from eating a bag of potato chips. Finding tricks like these will make your life a little easier and tastier.
- One stalk of kale
- 2 tsp. Olive oil
- A dash of sea salt
- A dash of cumin (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 250º
- Wash the kale thoroughly and be sure to tear the leaves from the stalk into medium-sized pieces. Dispose of the stalk into your compost bin.
- Drizzle a little bit of olive oil on each other the pieces of kale. Do not put too much on them, or else they will come out being too oily or soggy.
- Put just a dash of sea salt on the kale.
- OPTIONAL: If you want more flavour to your chips, use a cajun spice. I am personally a big fan of cumin. Put just as dash, or as much as you desire.
- Cook in the oven for about 10 – 15 minutes. It’s important that you not overcook them, as they will be burnt. If you undercook them, they will not be crispy or crunchy, but soggy. Neither are desired!
- Take out of oven, let cool for 5 – 10 minutes.
Check out my friend Carly’s blog – it’s just as lovely as she is!
Listen, there is absolutely no way that I can compete with any Mother’s infamous chilli recipe and therefore it would silly of me to post my recipe claiming that it’s the best. Instead, I felt like sharing a side dish that I made because I believe that appetizers/side dishes are equally as important and if not – enhance the main course.
Homemade croutons are so easy to make and I got the idea after watching a Barefoot Contessa episode one lazy Sunday afternoon.
What you need
2. Olive Oil
3. Goat Cheese
Turning on the broiler, slice the baguette and brush each side lightly with olive oil and place it on a tray (with parchment paper). Carefully monitoring the oven, toast the bread for approx. 2 minutes (or until golden brown). Take the tray out, flip the slices and add the goat cheese. Place the tray back in…
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On Thanksgiving, it’s tradition to give thanks, just as a family, for each other, for good health and fortune, good food and grades. A time to reflect, to pause and cherish all the beautiful things one has; one day free from wishing for all the things one doesn’t.
Between the cooking and the eating, religious or not, you say a quick prayer, to whomever or whatever, for your loved ones who are not well and the loved ones who are no longer here.
Instead of just being thankful just one day of the year, be thankful everyday for the people that came into your life and stayed. So few come and don’t go.
The people in my life – both my family and my friends – are the wonders of my world and they have bettered my life simply by just being in it. Their love and support has shaped me into the person I am today.
On Thanksgiving, please, be thankful.