Individuals suffering with anorexia nervosa will often find reasons to excuse themselves from eating, or at the very least limit their consumption, when confronted with situations that focus on food. On the surface, there can be a fine line between what appears to be sensible eating and anorexic behavior. However, if an individual exhibits rapid weight loss over a short period of time, episodes of dizziness, cessation of menstruation, or sudden hair loss, these could be signs of anorexia.
Unlike anorexics, bulimic individuals often do not appear overly thin and often appear to be of average weight. Inasmuch as moderation in eating is considered a sensible approach to the typical excesses of holiday dining, those with bulimia frequently engage in behavior that doesn’t instantly give away their eating disorder. For example, bulimic individuals may exercise excessively during the holidays. Considering the number of commercials selling gym memberships and diet plans during the holidays, this sort of behavior doesn’t often necessarily register as unusual. An important thing to consider with bulimic individuals is the likelihood of secretive behavior. Bulimics will often gorge on sugary or highly caloric treats out of view of others, visit the bathroom frequently during or maintain hidden caches of laxatives and diuretics.
One way to survive the holidays is to develop a strategy when confronted with excessive amounts of food. Portion control is at the heart of any sensible approach to healthful eating. It’s okay to occasionally partake of special treats but one can limit the amount and quantity of what ends up on the plate. Additionally, increasing one’s healthy food choices at meals outside of holiday themed gatherings is a positive commitment to one’s overall health. Moderation is key.
If you or a loved one is suffering with an eating disorder, this time of year can be especially stressful. Finding a treatment program that will comprehensively address both the physiological and psychological aspects of the disorder is crucial. Professionals with expertise in caring for eating disordered individuals can help you develop a plan for moving forward into the New Year in good health and on the path to recovery.