Healthy Coping Skills for Food Holidays

Eating Disorder Recovery Tips for Food Holidays

From Halloween to Thanksgiving to Holiday Parties into the New Year – food seems to be everywhere. Here are a few strategies to help your clients (or yourself) to find balance with emotions and eating. This can help overcome the temptation to binge (and then possibly purge), or to engage is restrictive behaviors which result in feelings of deprivation (and then possibly a binge/purge). Try these EDIT™ Skills to break the ED cycle, and enjoy this Holiday Season:

  1. Trust Your Intuition with Food Choices – Get in touch with the foods you truly love. I mean, LOVE. Is it really the Halloween on every corner display in the grocery store? Or, Aunt Martha’s fruit cake that you feel obligated to eat to please her? Or, those store-baked cookies someone brought to the Holiday Office Party? Think back to your own pleasant memories of this time of year. Maybe you really LOVE apples dipped in caramel, or the turkey stuffing the your Nana used to make, or your Grandma’s shortbread cookies. Make your own list of “favorite foods,” and see if you can focus on these as your food choices. When you’re shopping specifically for apples and caramel, it’s easy to overlook all the candy. When you’re bringing your Nana’s stuffing to the family gathering, maybe you can say to Aunt Martha as she passes the fruitcake, “No, thanks, I’m stuffed!” (Yes, pun intended). And, at the Holiday Party, people will be asking, “Who baked these cookies? I want the recipe!” I hope this strategy helps you to focus more on enjoying the foods you love, while connecting more with others.
  2. Check In with Your Feelings Often – Notice the sensations in your body, as well as your predominant emotions. Be curious about a possible link between your emotions and your body sensations. Rate these sensations on a scale from 1 to 10, and if they seem very intense (a 9 or 10), pause to a coping skill to bring the intensity down to a manageable level (a 4 or 5. Consider using the EDIT™ Worksheet (at end of article) to help you develop ways to meet your specific needs. Take a photo of the completed worksheet, so if you are feeling emotionally vulnerable before a holiday event, you can pull out your phone for a quick reminder about emotional balance. This is an effective way to avoid using ED behaviors to cope.
  3. Give the Gift of Self-Care – Yes, to your Self! This is a busy time of year, and much of the focus can be about, “What costume should I make for my daughter? What is the best gift for my boss? What present should I get my nephew, Jimmy?” All of this, on top of the regular responsibilities of everyday life. Be sure to beep recovery as your #1 priority, and reflect about simple Self-Care you can enjoy every day – perhaps a 5-minute morning meditation, pausing for a cup of tea in the afternoon, or buying yourself a gift (and wrapping it)!


Article may be reprinted with the author bio below.

©2019 by Dr. Dorie McCubbrey. Dr. Dorie is a Certified Eating Disorder Specialist and Licensed Addiction Counselor who is passionate about training professionals to effectively guide clients in recovery from eating disorders, through her Eating Disorder Intuitive Therapy (EDIT)™ Certified program. She also provides sessions for clients who struggle with these issues, either in person or by phone. Learn more at:


Want more that this “taste” of EDIT™? Dr. Dorie is passionate about her method of Eating Disorder Intuitive Therapy (EDIT)™ to help people overcome eating disorders and addictions.  She provides customized programs for people in recovery from eating disorders and who struggle with weight issues, and  EDIT™ eating disorder training and certification for coaches and clinicians worldwide. CALL 303-494-1975 – EMAIL DR. DORIE – GET CERTIFIED