Thanksgiving: Give instead of Binge
You can help yourself by helping others this Thanksgiving. Use the meaning of Thanksgiving as a recovery tool and discover real benefits to you.
Question 1: How can I get through Thanksgiving without bingeing or restricting?
Many people with eating disorders are worried, anxious and downright frightened of Thanksgiving. A person whose life is dominated by food behaviors will naturally be anxious about a day almost totally dominated by food and eating. If you are one of them you may be obsessing about food challenges. While you are genuinely concerned about how you will feel and act around food, the source of your fear is not food. The source of your fear is your certainty that you cannot take care of yourself well when pressure of family, friends, and life obligations descend. The source of your fear is around the expectations you feel around this holiday. Even if you are alone you can experience loneliness, anger, shame and a powerful sense of not belonging anywhere or being rejected. You feel as if this holiday, centered around family and friendship, proves that you are unworthy of love. A food binge, severe restriction or both can be dreaded ways to calm or remove your anxiety.So the deeper question is:
How can I develop as a person so I am stronger and more competent in taking care of myself?
This is the self growth question to help you find ways to be sturdier in the world. Be careful here. If you are feeling frightened or self critical, your quick answers may be about running away or denying your feelings and presenting a rigid facade to yourself and other people. Deeper yet, the question is:
Questions 3: How can I develop strength, compassion and wisdom to face life challenges so that I help myself and others have a better, safer, healthier, happier life?
This question gets closer to your core. It’s about being sturdier in your heart and soul, and that is what’s needed for sustained eating disorder recovery. One way to begin expanding your awareness and deepening your heart is to give.
Food is the obsession of the person with an eating disorder. Food is the needed commodity for millions of people in this country and around the world who don’t have enough to feed themselves or their children.
If you make these hungry people real to you and stretch out to help them you will reap many benefits. You stretch out your hand and your heart. Stretching helps you grow. Stretching exposes you to new experiences and new learning.
As you help others ward off starvation you give yourself an opportunity to see food not as an enemy but as a life saver and life sustainer. You may feed your own soul hunger by meeting people who know body hunger in a way that you don’t and whose very existence may deepen your awareness and compassion.
What might you do to bring food to the hungry and help both them and yourself?
Feed America allows you to enter a zip code to find Food banks and volunteer opportunities in the United States. You can donate money online. You can bring food items to the bank. You can help distribute food by joining the volunteers. I donated to the food bank in Los Angeles, where I live. I also donated to a food bank in Connecticut, where I was born. Why not transform your perception of food by transforming a binge into a give?
International Food Giving Opportunities WFP | United Nations World Food Programme - the UN food aid agency Help End Hunger Heifer International Foundation (helps people feed themselves) Feed the Children
If you know of hunger fighting programs you respect and support, please let me know, and I will add them to the list.
Great List of Coping Strategies on Something Fishy
* Fargo, ND, March 27, 2009 -- The Salvation Army is providing food for volunteers in the Fargo Dome in Fargo, North Dakota where a temporary levee is being built on the banks of the Red River. The Red River is expected to crest on Sunday at over 41 feet. Photo by Patsy Lynch/FEMA