Monday, 21 March 2016

Coping With an Eating Disorder over Easter- Accepting the Treats

Sophie talks about her struggles with the Easter holidays whilst suffering from an eating disorder, and suggests some tips that can help you to enjoy the holidays as you're recovering

- Sophie Rees

For someone suffering from an eating disorder, the Easter holidays can be a tough time when it comes to the different treat foods the season offers. When I was going through my eating disorder Easter felt like such a lonely time for me and wasn’t just a shorter half term break, it was a long two week holiday. It should have been a happy time for me; seeing my family, getting chocolate, my sister’s birthday and having a longer break from school. It was in fact, one of the hardest times of my disorder and trying to hide this fact from my family was a constant challenge for me.

I remember getting a huge chocolate egg from my grandmother that was delicately boxed along with multiple variations of that brand of chocolate in bars, sweets and smaller chocolates. I accepted the egg with gratitude, and pretended I was very happy to be getting masses of chocolate to eat over the next two weeks. What I really felt though, was something quite different. Over the two weeks I had observed the remains of other chocolate egg treats around my house - the shiny foil, the swirly patterns, the big decorative boxes. Where everyone else had tucked into their Easter treats, I had not even touched mine and I was refusing to even look at the box because of the calories printed on it.

In the end, I had missed out on Easter treats two years in a row because of my eating disorder. I would always end up giving any of my chocolate or sweets away to my sister or my friends because I couldn’t face eating even a little bit myself. Looking back on my experience of those Easters now, I know that there was another way around my fear of chocolate and the fat and calories that came with it. Easter can be such a fun time and it can even help mental health take break for a while, or even for good. Here are some useful tips I found helped me during my first Easter when recovering from my eating disorder:
  • It’s not a race – take your time to adjust to the situation of having Easter chocolates, they don’t have to be eaten all in one day. Little chunks each day or every other day is just fine and will help you to enjoy it more too.
  • Share – It may help to share some treats with others so that you’re not alone when eating the chocolate. Invite some friends around, have a film night and share some good times as well as some good food.
  • Other foods at Easter – If solid chocolate really isn’t for you, then there are plenty of other delicious foods famously put around at Easter time such as hot cross buns, cupcakes and chocolate cereal nests.

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