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Recovery blog

Giving Thanks for Thanksgiving

By: Erin Birely, LCPC, Team Leader of the Renfrew Center of Baltimore and Alumni Coordinator

Posted on November 25, 2019



With the holiday season upon us, Thanksgiving is often the first battle in what can be an ongoing war—navigating the challenges of food and diet talk, diverting conversation away from physical appearance, being surrounded by an abundance of dessert options, and the persistent encouragement to indulge... just to name a few. For those in recovery from an eating disorder, these hurdles can be especially difficult to cross.

Preparing for Thanksgiving is a beneficial step for those in recovery, but I challenge you to include something extra in your plan this year: giving thanks. Arm yourself with both a plan and the things you have to be thankful for by:

1. Identifying a support and reaching out for help when you need it.
2. Practicing mindfulness throughout the day by 'living in the moment.'
3. Challenging yourself to try new foods, if you're ready.
4. Expressing gratitude to your family, friends and loved ones.

As you think about the speed bumps and potholes you may run into, consider the straightaways and green lights you will encounter as well. While unhelpful comments from certain family members may be unavoidable, reflect on something positive about that individual or your relationship with them – even if it means being thankful for recognizing who no longer benefits your recovery.

Adding in this small additional step to your Thanksgiving plan can help create more flexibility in your thoughts, allow you to be more present throughout the day and enjoy quality time spent with those you care about... which is what the holiday season is all about.



Erin Birely, LCPC started working as the Team Leader of the Renfrew Center of Baltimore in September 2016, and took on the position of Alumni Coordinator in October of this year. In both positions Erin enjoys working with people to make positive and long lasting changes in life through therapy, building their emotional tolerance, and building a community to support them. Prior to joining Renfrew, Erin had worked in private practice as well as inpatient, partial, and intensive outpatient levels of care. Erin has worked in the field of eating disorder treatment since receiving her Master's degree in 2012. When not working Erin enjoys spending times with friends and family, as well as working on home improvement projects.
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