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Recovery blog

Holiday Season Tips and Tools

By: Alex Mark, MS, RDN, Registered Dietitian at The Renfrew Center of Los Angeles

Posted on November 12, 2018

We sadly said goodbye to summer and as winter approaches we say hello to the holidays. Celebrations occur, which often include family reunions, impromptu parties and dinner events. Surviving this time of year may seem overwhelming as feelings of fear and anxiety tend to pop up. I'd like to provide some tips and tools to make it through the season safely…and hopefully joyfully!

1. Strengthen your Support System
Surround yourself by people who are familiar with your struggles and develop a coping plan. Take advantage of your treatment team and set up appointments with your therapist and dietitian. Choose a close friend or family member to be your point person. Let them guide you through challenging events.

2. Be Specific about your Goals
Remember that recovery is an on-going process, with ups, downs, and winding roads. Remind yourself why it is important to stay on track and set specific recovery-related goals. Perhaps a goal is to enjoy a second serving of stuffing on Thanksgiving. Another goal may be eating two pieces of apple pie rather than the whole thing because you know you can have more the next day. Share your goals with your support team.

3. Create A Plan
Work with your dietitian to develop a food plan. And speak to your therapist about handling anxiety if you're triggered by table conversation. Having a plan in place will increase your confidence.

4. It's OK to say no
While it's important to be social and not isolate, you don't have to go to every event to which you're invited. Let loved ones know that certain situations may be too overwhelming and that it's critical to set yourself up for success.

5. All Foods Fit
This may be the most important tip. We don't label food as "good" or "bad" or "healthy" or "unhealthy." And we shouldn't judge ourselves or others for the foods we choose to eat. Bake your favorite dessert, dig up old recipes and have fun with food!

Enjoy your holidays. And I wish you abundant health and happiness!


Alex Mark, MS, RDN is a registered dietitian/nutritionist specialized in eating disorder treatment. She obtained her Bachelor's degree in Psychology at Barnard College of Columbia University and her Master's degree in Dietetics and Nutrition at Florida International University. Alex strives to attain an open, therapeutic relationship with her patients and clients to address the underlying causes of diseases. She explores the full range of physical, emotional, mental and environmental influences that affect one's health and well-being. She has been practicing for over ten years and has been with the Renfrew Center for a year.

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