Every holiday seems to have a large food component in our culture. Fourth of July is no exception. *pix
If you have an eating disorder the holiday may pose some challenges for you that other people don't consider.
If you recognize these challenges and confront them directly in terms of your needs and vulnerabilities,
you can participate in a fun celebration while maintaining your eating disorder recovery.
Fourth of July food challenges take many forms.
Looking at the publicity for the holiday in Los Angeles I see restaurants offering specials on high fat/high carbohydrate foods. I also see discounts on alcohol, some sold in buckets rather than bottles.
Elaborations on baked goods and confections are touted as all American treats . One description included the phrase, "sugar-induced nausea."
Colorful frozen desserts are included in this food selling fest. And of course, we must include the traditional 4th of July barbecues featured in restaurants, parks and back yards throughout this country.
How do you prepare and cope with this onslaught of food pressure, especially if you are still in the people pleasing mode of your eating disorder?
- Pretend you don't have an eating disorder and eat along with everyone else including overeating as a form of fun.
- Fume about the food, criticize it and don't eat anything in a flamboyant way.
- Cry or tremble, and ask for help and sympathy, distracting others from their celebration.
Or, prepare your strategy days ahead of time.
If you are doing your recovery work you know the kinds of food, the timing of eating and the portions that are best for you. Your recovery food plan nourishes your body and does not trigger you into a binge or starvation mode.
- Days before the holiday recommit to your food plan. Have a fresh supply of the nourishing food that sees you through your day nicely.
- Before and after each meal and snack, give yourself praise and support. Write yourself a congratulatory note and put it in your journal.
- Look closely at the foods that are right for you and write them a short letter, as if they were a person. Praise and thank them for their qualities that enrich your life and support your recovery.
- Focus on what the 4th of July means to you.
- Friends and family?
- Day off work?
- Political ramifications?
- Music, laughter, games?
- A day at the beach or hiking?
- Philosophical and inspiring time to contemplate meaning of freedom and personal direction?
- Any combination of the above?
Put your energy and focus into what you genuinely care about on this holiday and bring your friendly food with you in case what is offered doesn't fit into your food plan.
Other people are celebrating by focusing on what's important to them. If you are low key about food and expressive about your approach to the 4th of July, you'll be okay.
Here are some quotations I like for U.S.A. Independence Day. Which do you like? Why? Please add any of your favorites in the comments.
Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom, must, like men, undergo the fatigue of supporting it. ~Thomas Paine
The American Revolution was a beginning, not a consummation. ~Woodrow Wilson
Liberty is always dangerous, but it is the safest thing we have. ~Harry Emerson Fosdick
Freedom has its life in the hearts, the actions, the spirit of men and so it must be daily earned and refreshed - else like a flower cut from its life-giving roots, it will wither and die. ~Dwight D. Eisenhower
In the truest sense, freedom cannot be bestowed; it must be achieved. ~Franklin D. Roosevelt
Those who won our independence believed liberty to be the secret of happiness and courage to be the secret of liberty. ~Louis D. Brandeis
Freedom is nothing but a chance to be better. ~Albert Camus
What is the essence of America? Finding and maintaining that perfect, delicate balance between freedom "to" and freedom "from." ~Marilyn vos Savant, in ParadeThere is nothing wrong with America that cannot be cured by what is right with America. ~William J. Clinton
Joanna Poppink, MFT, Los Angeles eating disorder recovery psychotherapist
*pix from Pixabay CC0 Public Domain Free for commercial use
No attribution required