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Here Is How You Can Support Someone with an Eating Disorder During the Holidays

Written by Dr. Joseph Mercola

Lots of people joke about gaining a few pounds over the holidays, but for someone with an eating disorder, the holidays and all the food that comes with them are not a joke. In fact, it can be an extremely stressful time that conjures up feelings of both anxiety and. If you know someone with an eating disorder and who might be struggling like this, Bustle offers some tips for helping them.

Begin by addressing the issue upfront and by asking them if there is anything you can do to help them through it. You can even offer to help them set up a relapse prevention plan. From a personal standpoint, try to refrain from commenting on others’ physical appearance or talking about your own weight. And, whatever you do, resist the temptation to compliment or “correct” a loved one’s method of coping.

It doesn’t matter what the festivity is, though, as it can be a struggle for anyone to stick to a healthy food plan when you’re looking at a table full of foods that are not on that plan. So, what do you do? First, if it seems too overwhelming, take time to slow down and think about how you’re going to deal with the holiday foods.

If you’re at a party, step away for a few minutes — or if you know who’s struggling, take their arm and invite them into another room to just breathe and talk, and then go back to the celebrating taking one step at a time, such as:

  • Swapping out soda and other sweetened beverages for water, unsweetened tea or organic black coffee
  • Skipping unhealthy fats (trans fats, vegetable oils) and indulging in healthy fats like butter, coconut oil, avocado and nuts
  • Choosing meat that’s pastured (grass fed) and avoiding processed or CAFO meats
  • Eating slowing and mindfully, being careful to chew each bite thoroughly
  • Avoiding foods and beverages made with artificial additives and sweeteners
  • Not overdoing it on high-carb foods and desserts
  • Eating a healthy snack or meal before you arrive at a holiday dinner, so you’ll not be tempted to eat as much
  • Asking your host if it’s OK if you bring a dish such as a flavorful broth-based soup
  • Eating your fats first when sitting down to dinner
  • Going for a walk right after your meal
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