Thanksgiving is just a day away. I am mentally preparing for all the diet talk and disordered thinking that will come out tomorrow. It seems like we just can’t help ourselves. I have increased my appointment times to prepare a few of my clients to stay in recovery this day. One fun thing we did in session this week is come up with witty comebacks to stupid diet culture-isms that will be rampant tomorrow. Whether me or my clients say these things or not isn’t the point. We bonded over the thought of saying some of this stuff. My hope, is that tomorrow- even if speaking up seems scary- we will at least remember this little shared moment in my small office and it will keep my amazing recovery warrior clients in recovery. So here goes:
- “You look great; have you lost weight/gained weight?” Uncle Bob (made up name no actual client’s uncle’s names were used in the making of this blog)- I have no clue what I weigh, part of my recovery includes staying away from scales. It’s freeing- you should try it. Besides I have better things to think about.
- “Are you REALLY going to eat THAT?” I was assuming someone brought this food to eat…is it poisoned or something? No?! Then yes I plan to eat it, the real question is are you really going to judge me for eating something?
- “How many sticks of butter/pounds of sugar/grams of fat do you think are in this dish?” Who gives a &%#!?? Recovery has taught me that an obsession with things like that is far more unhealthy than eating certain types of food.
- “Starting tomorrow I am going to begin my new diet! Want to join me? ***YAWN*** I guess it’s time for my Thanksgiving nap now that the conversation seems to be at a lull.
- “I can’t believe that I binged like that.” Did you know that binge eating disorder is a very tough and real disorder? Did you also know that the DSM (the manual mental health professionals use to diagnose mental health disorders) actually states that a binge is eating an amount of food that is larger than what most would eat in similar circumstances? Therefore eating Thanksgiving lunch/dinner is pretty appropriate given the circumstances, don’t you think? Shame is what is not appropriate.
- “Guess I am going to have to run/not eat later to work this off!” Wow! That sounds pretty disordered! I have learned in recovery that using behaviors to compensate for what you eat is a big red flag for eating disorders.
- “Let’s skip breakfast and lunch so that we can eat at dinner!” UMMM, my dietitian told me to stick to my meal plan today and nourish my body all day. I don’t want to set myself up for relapse. Skipping meals is something I used to do when I was letting my eating disorder run my life.
- “This stuffing is paleo!” I choose to focus on how a food tastes and not what some fad diet tells me to eat. Besides…who wants to eat like cavemen? Didn’t they die at the age of 12?!
- “We are doing a no dessert Thanksgiving because we are all trying to watch our sugar and carbs.” That sounds sad, I’ll bring some pies.
- “Wow! I guess everyone has an eating disorder now, it seems like we have to be sensitive to everyones feelings these days! People should stop being so delicate!” First off, everyone does not have an eating disorder. Second, I have been so grateful for the people that have been sensitive to my recovery. Sometimes it does feel delicate. I don’t think it is too much to ask to try to be considerate, besides dieting isn’t all that interesting anyway. I would way rather hear about the things you are grateful for, what brings your life meaning, and your dreams and ambitions. Can we talk about those things now? or you can always try the ***YAWN*** again.
Have so much fun tomorrow or don’t. I know it can be tough. Whether you are enjoying the day or not, definitely have compassion on yourself. I believe in your ability to recover. Even in the face of all the disordered thinking and talking you might be surrounded by tomorrow!