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If you suffer from an eating disorder now or have in the past, please email Joanna for a free telephone consultation.



Eating Disorder Recovery
Joanna Poppink, MFT
Eating Disorder Recovery Psychotherapist
serving Arizona, California, Florida, Oregon and Utah.
All appointments are virtual.


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Every holiday seems to have a large food component in our culture. Fourth of July is no exception. 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 holiday publicity 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 backyards 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?


  1. Pretend you don't have an eating disorder and eat along with everyone else, including overeating as a form of fun.
  2. Fume about the food, criticize it and don't eat anything in a flamboyant way.
  3. Cry or tremble and ask for help and sympathy, distracting others from their celebration.
  4. 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.

Recovery Strategy:

  1. Days before the holiday, recommit to your food plan. Have a fresh supply of nourishing food that will see you through your day nicely.
  2. Before and after each meal and snack, give yourself praise and support. Write yourself a congratulatory note and put it in your journal.
  3. 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.
  4. Focus on what the 4th of July means to you.
    1. Friends and family?
    2. Independence?
    3. Day off work?
    4. Political ramifications?
    5. Fireworks?
    6. Music, laughter, games?
    7. Parades?
    8. A day at the beach or hiking?
    9. Philosophical and inspiring time to contemplate the meaning of freedom and personal direction?
    10. 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.

Have fun!

Here are some quotations I like for the 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, and 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 Parade
  • There is nothing wrong with America that cannot be cured by what is right with America. ~William J. Clinton

Please share your thoughts in the comment section below.

Written by Joanna Poppink, MFT. Joanna is a psychotherapist in private practice specializing in eating disorder recovery, stress, PTSD, and adult development.

She is licensed in CA, AZ, OR, FL, and UT. Author of the Book: Healing Your Hungry Heart: Recovering from Your Eating Disorder

Appointments are virtual.

For a free telephone consultation, e-mail her at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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