‘Twas the night before Thanksgiving
in the food addict’s home.
All the relatives were sleeping,
and the food addict sat alone.
“Should I eat some pie
in this peace and quiet?
Or should I be a good girl
and stick to my diet?”
Alas, how many of us have been there? How many holidays? How many night befores and day afters?
Few other holidays focus so much on food. Rich, sweet, fatty food. And we are encouraged to overeat. To “Go ahead, live a little.” But those of us with eating disorders see the holidays as a minefield of infinite challenges to our mental, physical, and spiritual well being.
On one hand, we don’t want to upset Grandma by not eating her famous pie, and on the other, we don’t want to face derision when we explain to unknowing family members that sugar and flours and other foods fuel our addictive thoughts and behaviors.
In the midst of all of that, we have strong memories attached to foods. This is true of most people, not just food addicts. Our problem, though, is that most of the foods we remember fondly make us feel like we cannot stop eating.
Add the usual family discord about politics and relationships and everything in between, and you have the potential for relapse.
But I have found that my recovery, even during a relapse, is never stronger than during the holidays. I learned in my first year of recovery that being fully present during those special times is so much more valuable than bingeing on leftovers while everyone is in the living room playing board games. And it is so much better than eating a whole dessert the night before and needing to make another one in a hurry.
Instead, I enjoy the holidays now. I listen to the children talk about what they are doing at school. I help my mother-in-law set the table. I read the paper to my mother’s friend who can barely see. I am present when I am not focused on food. I am ALIVE when I am not plotting alone time with the sweet potatoes and pumpkin pie.
But, then, you might wonder what on Earth a food addict can eat at most Thanksgivings? If I am not hosting, then I take delicious foods with me. This year I am taking meatless meatballs (I am vegan), hummus with veggies, and cauliflower rice stuffing. Every year I get creative, and I bring enough to share. I even bring my own desserts. This year: almond butter date balls. I make a dozen, which is enough to eat and to share. No leftovers.
I challenge you all to re-think the holidays this year. Take the focus off the food and put it on your loved ones. Celebrate the togetherness and not the meal. Celebrate LIVING and not eating.
I know the stress. I know the temptations. I know the fears. But I tell you, if you choose recovery over the disease, you will enjoy the holidays all the more.
With peace, love, and a grateful heart,
Christina Fisanick Greer, Ph.D.
The Optimistic Food Addict
Give the gift of hope this holiday season by buying a copy of my new recovery memoir. “I can’t say enough positive things about this book. The other 5 star reviews sum it up quite well. I, too, finished the book in a couple days- I couldn’t put it down. I found my own struggle with BED & PTSD so closely tied to the author’s story. She is VERY candid and pours out her heart & soul on every page of this beautifully written book. I also am thrilled there is a Facebook community she has set up for added support & shared information. Most people gouge you for their services & products, but most of the materials Dr. Fisanick Greer provides on her website & through email are of little to no cost. This shows her true heart & desire to reach out & help EVERYONE who needs it. As a person on a very low income, this too me is very incredible of her.” —Amazon Reviewer
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