Eating Disorder Recovery Holiday Exercises




You are on the other side of Thanksgiving. How did you do? Now you have a week or two before Christmas food starts to surround you. Are you ready?

This is a good time to get into Healing Your Hungry Heart for the first, second or third time. Doing the exercises through the holiday season will help keep you on track and help you get back on track if you slide.

You may experience some happy surprises. Those exercises can bring to you a greater appreciation of who you are and the treasures that are already in your life. Some of those treasures might be invisible to you until you do the exercises.

No matter where you are in your eating disorder behaviors and eating disorder thinking begin the exercises now.  Commit to at least doing them every day through the holiday season.

If you make those exercises a priority, regardless of how you feel and what holiday challenges you face, you will have a more stable and enriching holiday experience.

And please, let us know how you are doing as you proceed.



0 # Not readypinkjoanna 2014-12-01 19:38

Dear PTC,

You are having a major episode. Please contact your therapist to help you through this difficult time.

I'm glad you wrote so I could say this to you.  Please understand that I need to remove your post.  It's all about acting out and will be triggering to others.

Please also know that while I am removing your post you are welcome on this site and can write again and often if you wish.  Just know that you are writing to express yourself and, at the same time,  you are writing to inform others who are working through their eating disorder issues and challenges too. 

This site is all about recovery and support.  See if you can get into Healing Your Hungry Heart, even a little.  Find something in a chapter or in the Appendex that relates to where you are now and gives you some recovery choices.

Good luck. I wish you every success. I hope to hear from you again when you have found at least a hint of a positive path.

warm regards,



Laura R
0 # CompassionLaura R 2014-12-01 21:01
Thinking about you PTC and sending you a hug.
0 # okPTC 2014-12-02 04:29

No problem, I understand. 

My life is always on a positive path, it just has a little disorderedness (not sure that's a word) in it.  

Thanks Laura.

0 # Believing in yourself.shh 2014-12-03 04:13

Firstly, PTC, I just wanted to say that I didn't see what you wrote, but I'm glad you feel that this is a safe place to come and write about how you're feeling. Sending you lots of warmth and positive vibes xx

As for me, well as you all know we don't have Thanksgiving here, it's just one long road that leads up to Christmas, but I'm enjoying the run up and looking forward to all that it brings :-)

Life has been a bit challenging lately in good and bad ways

Challenges with really positive outcomes have been actually getting through my exams, despite my ex trying to sabotage things, and getting awarded the degree classification I wanted. Taking my girls on holiday overseas on my own 10 days after we decided to divorce as it was a family holiday originally booked for the 4 of us, and I couldn't let the girls down. I had to dig deep to find the courage to go - but it was great, very empowering, I'm glad I did it.

On a not so great level, I thought getting divorced and going our separate ways would mean I was free from the rages and abuse that come with what I believe is a hypomanic or manic state. I was wrong...being outside it all now, so I'm no longer present and potentially playing a part in the build up to things, yet I'm being treated worse than ever now's highlighted and confirmed for me that it really is happening and just how abusive it is. I have felt blackmailed and scared at times, by her need to have control over me (at any cost, it seems). I know I need some sound advice and help with this, but so far my attempts to get some haven't really amounted to much - that's not to say I haven't spoken with some lovely empathic people, but I still have no idea how to handle the situations when they arise or better still minimise the chances of them arising.

And then my mother - things had been going quite well for the last 6 months or so. We visit her every few weeks, and I try to be mindful that she can't help some of the things she does, in fact she's not even aware of a lot of them, but if it gets too much, I will say something to try to draw her awareness to it, or we will just make an excuse to leave sooner rather than later. Because I'm stronger and in a better place, I can accept that's how she is, and it doesn't affect me like it used to. However she's now found herself in a place with my sister not dissimilar to where she was with me when I ended up cutting contact for a while. I find it quite sad - I fully agree with my sister that the way my mum has treated her isn't okay and that she's doing what she needs to do to protect herself, because the abuse from my mum, is as she puts it "relentless" - but I feel sad for my mum, I found out yesterday she'd been gossiping about me and my ex to people (saying some quite horrific things) and that she'd been lying to me about the situation with my sister to make herself seem like an innocent victim and seek my sympathy under false pretences, so I was quite stern with her and told her how disappointed I felt. She explained that she doesn't even know she's doing anything wrong, and that even when I try to explain to her what she's doing and why it upsets people, that it doesn't make sense to her and she still doesn't really understand why it's not okay and why it bothers people, and how much it upsets her to think she's hurting me and my sister. She looked at me like a bewildered child and asked me if what she'd done meant I was going to stop calling to see her again, like she was scared/almost begging me not to abandon her. It was quite heart-breakingly sad, and I just said "I know you don't know you're doing it, and that you don't do it on purpose, that's why I'm here, that's why I started coming round no, I might come a bit less often when you do things that upset me, but I'm not going to stop coming".

So I guess there's quite a bit to take on board (there are a few other things too, but I've written quite enough), but I'm positive, I'm back in recovery (after 2 years) - which is amazing, and I have 2 small people in my life who need lots of love, reassurance, and opportunities to explore themselves and the world around them, to help them regroup, and grow, and believe that they can be anything they want to be!



Laura R
0 # quite a bitLaura R 2014-12-07 22:31
shh - what strikes me as so wonderful is that despite having so much going on you are back in recovery and positive. You are being an excellent role model for your girls and for people like me :-)
0 # Thanks Laura!shh 2014-12-08 16:24

Aww, thank you for your kind words Laura!

I found myself in recovery quite out of the blue a couple of weeks after we'd agreed to get divorced, it wasn't a conscious effort at all. It made me realise how stressful it has been, being in that relationship over the last 2-3 years. I knew I'd relapsed and always believed that it was because I'd taken on too much workload-wise and was constantly struggling to met deadlines, I believed that when that eased I'd just flip back into recovery and I was shocked and disappointed when it didn't happen and no amount of trying could get me back into recovery properly.

In hindsight I'd been walking on eggshells with my ex for so long, it had just become the norm, as had grazing all day long to abate the anxiety's only now that I'm out of the situation, that I realise just how much it impacted me.


0 # ShhPTC 2014-12-10 05:44
Thanks Shh.  All is well. :-)
0 # Time to re-invent myself!shh 2014-12-11 16:44

I think traditionally as we approach Christmas we tend to 'take stock' and think what we might do during the following year. Well I have been taking stock today... and it's actually been a bit of a blow. I already knew that it wasn't feasible for me to follow my career path of choice just yet, I have got as far as I can go in terms of having the qualifications and other pre-requisites, but the next stage involves a combined doctorate and internship, which can only be completed in certain locations and on a full-time+ basis. Geographically this would mean 12 hour days for me with the travelling, plus study on top - I can't do this, it's too much, it's just not workable, especially now I'm on my own with my two girls. Knowing this I had decided to follow a complementary career path for now, one which I could combine more easily with motherhood. I realise today though, that even this path is no longer feasible in my current situation. as it required me to rely on someone quite heavily to help with the girls, just for 2 years; and now with the ex unwilling to help out in that context, and my eldest unwilling to see her father; and my relationship with my mother a) not at that level and b) I don't think spending that much time with her would be healthy for my girls, I feel like I've hit a brick wall. It's too much of a commitment to ask other friends to take on and would not be feasible for most anyway, and runs outside the hours of locally available paid childcare...'s not something I plan to give up on, but I think I need to shelve it for a few years until I'm a bit ore adept at sailing this ship alone and have figured out finances and new sources of childcare help. but in the meantime, I guess that means I need to re-invent myself and find something new to make a career out of that fits in with my needs.

To be honest, I feel a bit daunted by it, I have no idea what I could do or would like to do, that would be fulfilling, child-friendly, and generate some income (no matter how small). I could get quite stressed about it, but I'm determined not to let it take hold to such a degree ...I do however need to get my thinking cap on and see what ideas I can conjure up


0 # Family stress and holiday copingmylifex2 2014-12-20 20:13
I am amazed at how well I am doing despite all of the stress I have going on right now. My moms dementia is progressing and I've had her in the ER twice this week and and inpatient 3 days. I continhe to realize who in my family will be there to help my dad during this time. He's older too, and not in great physical shape, but cognitively all there. 

Some major changes need to be made in the structure of our families living situation. We are having a hard time getting my 37 year old sister and her child out of my parents home. She is free loading off of them and has no insight into how this is wrong. My parents income is limited and my dad needs me to move in to assist with the mortgage and to help with my mother. 

I am ready to do this. I feel I'm the best person for the job as I have a medical background. The stress is just in dealing with my sister and her manic bipolar anger that she gets when confronted. I have recently been doing quite well in my recovery. I am not manipulating my insulin/BS to rapidly lose weight. I was having complications which included a drastic vision loss which I am struggling to regain as my sugars stabilize as I am making attempts to do the healthy and safe thing. 

I say all of this because it was going back to basics and doing heavy recovery work in my Healing book. Journaling and doing exercises have helped bring me back to a better place. Reading other recovery books have helped as well. Also talking to other recovering people and getting my butt to therapy!!

It takes one day of letting myself go with the journaling and recovery work to fall off the wagon. I encourage you guys to really stay on top of your recovery work. I have read Joanne's book about 5 times...i learn something new about myself each time!

Merry Christmas and happy recovery!
0 # tracypinkjoanna 2014-12-20 20:52

No question about it, Tracy.  When the challenges are more intense then the recovery work needs to be more intense to keep you afloat.

You are doing magnificently.  I cheer and applaud you.  And I'm so very glad to know Healing Your Hungry Heart is helping you.

Please applaud your own courage, determination and sense of boundary as you move through these difficult times. 

warmest regards and much respect,



0 # Changing times, (and Tracy)shh 2014-12-25 17:44

Tracy - It is great to see you sounding so motivated and with such a "can do" attitude - I know that things aren't easy for you at the moment, but it sounds like you're ready to tackle whatever comes your way, I feel a real sense of pride reading your post! :-)


From here - Today was our first "dad-less Christmas"....last year although me and my ex lived apart we were still amicable and close enough to have a family Christmas with our girls, but this is no longer an option for us. The day went really well and a lovely time was had by all, but as I reflect this evening it's really noticeable how much things have changed in recent years.

After the drama of the 6 year old who was too excited to sleep (and the sister she kept awake), Santa didn't come until 3am, so it was a late start for us today - the girls woke up at 9.40am. They were so excited and pleased with their gifts, that their father didn't even get mentioned. We collected my mother and brought her back here, she played with the girls whilst I cooked. From the kitchen I could hear my youngest in tears and keep saying she was bored, I popped in from time to time suggesting things she might do, but none of my suggestions were good enough. As I stood over the stove, my eyes smarted, I wanted to cry, because I felt like I'd failed - for the first time ever on Christmas Day there was boredom and a miserable atmosphere in the house, not the usual happiness and laughter. I'd believed I was enough, that I could do things just as well on my own, but I was wrong.

Over the course of the afternoon, I became aware of what really lay behind the tears and dull atmosphere (aside from tiredness). My daughter had kept asking my mother to help her set up new toys or play new games, and my mother had been unable to help her and kept saying "we'll have to put that to one side and ask mummy later" or "we'll see if mummy can do it after dinner". I realised that not only was it something my ex would've done to a certain degree whilst I was cooking, but our lateness getting up had meant I hadn't had time to do some of these things earlier. More than that my mother's health isn't what it was - she has cataracts in both eyes and she also gets tremors in her hands which affect her fine motor skills (doc suspects onset of Parkinson's), my dad is no longer here to do those things (this is our 3rd Christmas without him), and my eldest is no longer a doting big sister who plays with her sister lots, she's a hormonal teenager who thinks her little sister is "a pain".

It wasn't me, I hadn't failed, times have just changed!

Once the meal was out of the way, I was able to do all the things my girls needed me to do, the batteries, setting up fiddly toy sets, reading instructions on unfamiliar games etc, and happiness, giggling and laughter filled the house, just as it always has done on Christmas Day....right up until we took mum home at 8.30pm, and came back and got the girls into bed.

I'm sat here looking at the gifts they've bought/made for me, and I'm so proud of them both, as they didn't have their father to take them off shopping to buy me something this year - but they clearly think the world of me and didn't let that stop them. My eldest thought of such a fab gift, a sjoelen board, that she used her spends to buy, and took the initiative of asking my mum if she would order it for her from Amazon. Sjoelen because it was a game we saw for the first time on holiday in October, that I always fancied but never got to play as the start of the organised tournaments coincided with organised children's activities that my little one wanted to go to, so we'd just watch the end of the sjoelen on the way back, and I'd always comment that I fancied trying my hand at it. And my youngest sold some of her old toys and used the money to buy me some lovely gifts (aided in the shop by big sis), but she also made me a jar, and has put on the outside "I love you because you make me smile" and has filled it with rolled up pieces of paper with pictures, jokes, notes, love hearts etc, and told me that if I ever feel a bit sad I can look at them and they will make me happy, or I can just look at them anyway because they're nice/funny.

So yes, times have changed, both the men in my life are no longer present, my mother's health limits her actions and she needs more compassion and care, and my girls are growing up! They are having to deal with the changes too, but are becoming more resourceful, and being more caring and considerate than ever  :-)   I feel truly blessed!




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