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Users On Reddit Are Speaking About Enduring Eating Disorders During The Holidays

*Trigger Warning: The accounts and pieces of advice in this piece are related to eating disorders and might be upsetting for those struggling or in recovery.*

Just about everyone knows that the holidays often bring an increase in food consumption. With that can come quite a bit of anxiety. After all, just around the corner comes the new year which brings diet and weight shaming season. Advertisers make us feel as if we have to rectify the “wrong” food choices we made at the end of the previous year. This undoubtedly can poorly affect the way we see ourselves at a time when we should feel excited about the new year. In some cases, this can be particularly hard for those who are or have previously suffered from anorexia, bulimia, binge-eating disorder, or more generalized disordered eating.

Users on Reddit who’ve endured eating disorders are sharing tips and stories about getting through the holidays.

Check out some of the tips below!

  1. Think about what holiday-specific triggers you might run into so you can put some coping mechanisms in place.
  2. Make a plan ahead of time with your therapist, physician, nutritionist, or whoever else makes up your support team.
  3. If you are worried about there being “safe” foods available, offer to bring a side dish you feel comfortable eating.
  4. Let go of the notion that the holidays mean you should be happy.
  5. Tell your family what comments and phrases make you uncomfortable.
  6. Do all your favorite self-care activities in the days leading up to the food-centric holiday.
  7. Come up with secret signals with people who support you in your recovery to alert them when you need some time or are triggered.
  8. Make sure to eat breakfast and lunch as you normally would before a holiday dinner.
  9. If people start making annoying comments about what you’re eating, just smile and don’t reply.
  10. Text someone who knows what you’re going through so you can support each other.
  11. Throwback to the non-food-related holiday activities you enjoyed as a kid.
  12. Plan reasons to leave the room ahead of time so you have an excuse when you need a breather.
  13. Pick a seat at the table where it’s easier to exit without drawing attention to yourself, just in case.
  14. Focus on nostalgic foods that remind you of happy memories.
  15. Wait until the people who comment about your eating are gone to enjoy your favorite parts of the meal.
  16. Find a way to give back or support others.
  17. Journal your thoughts and feelings before the meal.
  18. Ask someone to keep you accountable in whatever way you need.
  19. Concentrate on socializing and enjoying the company of others.
  20. Forgive yourself if the day is hard for you and doesn’t go the way you want it to.
  21. And finally, don’t push yourself — if you feel like you can’t be around certain people or food in order to stay in recovery, then don’t.” –u/autobuzzfeedbot

Bring your own food.

Most likely at least few people will be contributing dishes on the day – make and bring something along you absolutely know is safe and you can eat if everything else is too scary.

Our safe foods are all different but a few ideas would be:

  • Platters. Fruit, cut up veggies, crackers, cheese, hummus, dips, anti pesto, meats, whatever you’re comfortable with. Easy to chip away at and sustain your energy throughout the day without feeling like it’s too overwhelming.
  • Salads. You can have a big plate full of salad and no one will bat an eye. Lots of veggies, but you can also add things like strawberries, boiled eggs, beetroot, dressings, nuts, cheese, croutons, meats/faux meats, tomatoes, pomegranate, onions, etc (probably not all together but some interesting combos are really good)
  • Veggie bakes. I’ve made huge veggie lasagnas that were incredibly delicious and seemed super normal. You can use things like low fat cheese or vegan cheese alternatives or even cashews/potatoes blended up with nooch to make a cheesy sauce to bake a bunch of veggies in. Add in tomato sauce and pasta/pasta sheets (I use GF ones) (or layers of starchy veg like potato and pumpkin) and you’ve got yourself a pasta bake/lasagna without oil, cheese, gluten or meat. Of course it’s not the same as the real thing but with a lot of strategic herbs and garlic, almost as good!
  • Desserts! I’ve made so many nice and ‘safe’ raw vegan brownies/cakes/etc, but also things like meringues (egg whites + sugar/sugar alternatives), healthy cookies and cakes, parfaits, apple crumble and sugar free soy-custard, the possibilities are endless!! Just make sure you try it before offering it to your family, because some recipes really don’t work.

Wear something nice but also comfy

Everyone eats more than they usually would on days like this. One day will not significantly affect your body or weight. One day of overeating and not compensating will NOT make you gain pounds and pounds of fat.

So wear something forgiving. Wear something you feel confident in and also has room to move in. Skinny jeans, bodycon anything, tight waistbands – all no nos.

I’m in the Southern Hemisphere so it’ll be warm on Christmas Day. I’m wearing a beautiful flowy dress that covers my legs and belly and makes me feel great.

Previous years I’ve worn: T-Shirt dresses, Maxi dresses, rompers/play suits, knitted stretchy high waisted pants and a boob tube, flowy high waisted pants and a matching crop top, stretchy high waisted skirt and a light knit baggy sweater.

If it’s winter where you are: Perfect! Rug up and get cosy in clothes you love. Or wear a big ugly sweater and look cute as hell doing it.

When people offer you food you don’t want

Smile and politely say “No Thank You.” And return to conversation. You don’t need to justify why, just leave it at no.

If you receive food presents

Don’t freak out, you don’t need to eat it in front of them to show your gratitude. If you think it will trigger a binge and/or purge, you can later re-gift it to someone else over the next couple of days, or give it to another family member the next day. But I strongly recommend allowing yourself to enjoy it in moderation. One year I got a box of 30 beautiful artisan dark chocolates. I had one every second or third day until March the next year. It was lovely to have a gift for that long and to always have something to look forward to in a day or two. I liked it so much that dark chocolate is something I’ll still treat myself to every other week and I’m able to do so with moderation and genuine pleasure.

If people comment on your weight/looks/what you’re eating or if someone gives you the “you look so healthy/good and your brain twists it negatively

1st option: if it’s malicious/negative – ignore that person and move to someone you like. Don’t give them power over you.

1st option part 2: shut them down with full force (there’s always at least some drama on family get-togethers)

2nd option: for well-meaning comments – this one is up to you. Remind yourself that most people do not get eating disorders and meant whatever they said from a place of love, encouragement and caring. They love you and honestly just want to see you live your life fully. They don’t want you to suffer.

Looking healthy is a compliment. You’re glowing, you’re radiant, you’re bright and alert, you’re warm and affectionate, you look beautiful. You look beautiful for more than what a camera can capture. Our eyes see so much more than the physical.

General Hecticness

A lot of us thrive in routine, habit, structure. This disturbed can be extremely scary and stressful.

  • You can give yourself structure to the day by writing out what’s going to happen, roughly. Things like:

{wake up 8am, shower, wear x and x, finish wrapping presents, 10am drive to Mums. 11am-4pm Lunch at Mum’s. 4pm-5pm Drive to Dads. 5pm-9pm Dinner with Dad and family. 9pm Drive home. 10pm cuddle with [pet/partner] and organise my gifts.}

  • Give yourself time outs whenever you need them. Go to the bathroom or sit outside for a few minutes and re-group. I carry essential oils to smell whenever I’m feeling overwhelmed, find what works for you.
  • Hang around your favourite person. Could be your same-age cousin or your quite old grandpa. Could be your dad or mum or bf/gf or your aunts cat. Your little niece. Whoever you need it to be.

I know some of these won’t apply/won’t help some people because we all do different things and have different familiars but I hope it helps someone, or just prompts someone to have a think about how to prepare themselves for the day and hopefully a bit of harm reduction too.” –u/traumabroccoli

“This year I had managed to break out of the binge restrict cycle and stop binge eating. I had lost all the weight I had gained and have been eating out and exercising consistently.

The holidays are absolutely triggering me. I keep eating “junk” food and eating too much and all the guilt has started to come back. I’m scared I’ll gain all the weight back and I still feel just as big as before and have the strongest desire to lose weight but I keep eating too much.

I know I can’t be too strict on myself as that triggers binges, but this feels so hard. I feel so big and ugh I’m obsessed with eating and the only thing that makes me feel better is if I exercise. I’m going to try to stick to my 3 meals a day and snacking when hungry no matter how huge my desire to restrict is. I’m so scared of weight gain but not as scared as I am about falling back into binge eating.

Wish I could make a meal and exercise plan and fast forward my life for 3 months and just wake up feeling thin and not have to deal with over eating or any thoughts about it. I’m not even a “fat” weight, it just feels and looks “fat” on me. One part of me feels like if I lose weight and gain muscle and hit a certain number I’ll feel satisfied but another part of me is scared I’ll never be happy.”- u/narkreturn

“I would really suggest looking into intuitive eating. It sounds counterintuitive, but the more guilty you feel for bingeing, the more likely it is to keep happening. You basically have to accept however your body wants to eat for it to even out.” –momunist

“You’re not alone. I struggle with my eating less now, but I still struggle. And I’ve been in support groups, and heard recordings of support groups, where people talk about doing everything under the sun with food. I know from experience how terrible it feels to lose control, but really, no matter what you do or have done, someone else has been there too. I don’t know if this will help but thought it could.

People have so many reasons for bingeing, and so few, in a way. For me it is like a drug, but I don’t think it’s that way for everyone. The other posts have covered some likely reasons. I think it’s usually the best solution the person believes they have to whatever challenge they are facing at the time. It may feel ungraceful or illogical, but it’s completely human.”-Coeurahge

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Chicago’s Mi Tocaya Is Offering Up Free Mexican Homemeals For Undocumented Community

Culture

Chicago’s Mi Tocaya Is Offering Up Free Mexican Homemeals For Undocumented Community

mitocaya / Instagram

Undocumented communities are being left out of Covid relief plans. Chef Diana Dávila of Mi Tocaya in Chicago is working to help undocumented restaurant worker in the time of Covid. Abuse of undocumented workers is rampant in certain industries and Chef Dávila hopes to offer some kind of help.

Mi Tocaya is a Mexican restaurant in Chicago’s Logan Square that wants to help the community.

Covid-19 has devastated the hospitality industry with restaurants being hit exceptionally hard. Restaurants have been forced to close their doors for good as the virus dragged on with no decent relief plan from the federal government. As several countries financially support citizens to avoid economic disaster, the U.S. government has given citizens $1,800 total to cover 10 months of isolating and business closures.

Namely, Mi Tocaya is working to help the undocumented community.

Mi Tocaya, a family-run restaurant, is teaming up with Chicago’s Top Chefs and local non-profits Dishroulette Kitchen and Logan Square Neighborhood Association. The goal is to highlight the issues facing the undocumented community during the pandemic.

The initiative called Todos Ponen, is all about uplifting members of our community in a time of severe need. The restaurant is creating healthy Mexican family meals for those in need.

”We asked ourselves; How can we keep our doors open, provide a true service to the community, maintain and create jobs, and keep the supply chain intact by supporting local farmers and vendors. This is the answer,” Chef Dávila said in a statement. “I confidently believe The TODOS PONEN Logan Square Project addresses all of the above and can very well be easily implemented in any community. Our goal is to bring awareness to the lack of resources available to the undocumented workforce- the backbone of our industry.”

The initiative starts in February.

Mi Tocaya is offering 1000 free meals for local farmers and undocumented restaurant workers. The meals are available for pickup Tuesday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at 2800 W Logan Blvd, Chicago, IL 60647. to make this happen, Mi Tocaya also needs your help.

The restaurant has teamed up with two nonprofits to make sure that they can scale their operation to fulfill their commitment. They are also asking for donations to make sure they can do what they can to help undocumented restaurant workers.

According to Eater LA, 8 million restaurant workers have been laid off since the pandemic started. Some restaurants have had to lay off up to 91 percent of their staff because of Covid, about 10 percent of those are undocumented. In the cities, that number is as high as 40 percent of the laid-off restaurant staff are undocumented.

“People don’t want to talk about the undocumented workforce, but they’re part of our daily routine in most restaurants,” Jackson Flores, who manages the operations of Mi Tocaya, said in a statement. “They are in the toughest position in the whole economy because they’re an invisible part of it. Restaurant worker advocacy groups have added the creation of relief funds to their agendas, but there have yet to be long-term changes in protections for undocumented workers. Without access to unemployment benefits and other government resources, this group is especially vulnerable.”

READ: Hands-Free Cholula Dispensers Have Become a Thing In Restaurants Because of COVID-19

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From TV-less Weekdays To Cereal Bowls, People Are Sharing The Strangest House Rules

Culture

From TV-less Weekdays To Cereal Bowls, People Are Sharing The Strangest House Rules

James Leynse / Getty

If you’ve ever spent the night at someone else’s home, you know that there are people in the world who have house rules that can be very different from your own. From rules about drinking all of your milk cereal to not raising the volume of the television to a hearable level, different households have them all. Now, some of these crazy house rules are being shared in the comments section of an AskReddit. Not only are some of the stories and rules shared wild, some are also even a little sickening.

Check them out below!

“I had a friend who instead of washing the dishes after a meal just put them straight back in the cupboard. I thought his parents would freak out but it turns out it was just something they did in their house. Whenever I went over I always made sure to eat beforehand.” Reddit User

“Family who babysat me when I was young had a rule of “no drinking during meals” and I don’t just mean soda, juice or milk, no water until your meal is done. This was insane to me because we would be called in to supper/lunch after playing outside in the summer and weren’t allowed to drink anything until we sat down and finished our plates. Also, this rule didn’t apply to the father of the family who would often drink beer during meals.

My great-aunt had a parlor room in which all the furniture was covered in plastic and never used, it also had a plastic walkway going through the middle (just a strip of plastic cover) which was the only path you could walk on (she would flip out if you touched carpet).” –Random_White_Guy

“I wasn’t allowed to put extra salt on my food, had to be in bed by 8pm (all the way through middle school), and had to ride my bike to school everyday even though my best friends parents offered to take me.” –willwhit87

“No fighting over the heel of the bread. The father once off hand told his oldest children that the heel of a loaf of bread was the best and made them want it instead of the regular pieces. By the time there were 4 kids sometimes fist fights would break out over the heels. Loaves had been opened on both sides, or loaves were a mess because someone reached through the sack and pulled the back heel out. For a while there was a turn system where the heels were promised to a child for each loaf, but that fell apart when one went to summer camp and lost their turn. One time my friend wasted an afternoon waiting for his mother to come home with a fresh loaf of bread instead of going out and playing. I witnessed fist fights over the bread most people throw away.” –DarrenEdwards

“In college I had a friend that lived with his grandparents when he went to school. Before they’d let him leave the house his grandmother would say ‘nothing good happens after midnight’ and he would have to repeat it. If I was there, I would also have to repeat the phrase.” –iownalaptop

“I slept over a friends house in grade school one time. He prepared us a bowl of cereal the next morning for breakfast. Not thinking ANYTHING of my behavior, I didn’t finish the milk. I just never used to. I don’t know.

He was like “You uh…gonna finish that?”

“Uhhh oh…I uh…I don’t think so? Does that matter?”

He panicked. Absolutely panicked. I think he put it down the toilet before his parents came back into the room.

I don’t know what the rule was, exactly, but FINISH YOUR MILK OR DIE would be my guess based on his reaction. I still feel bad about it. I was like 8 and didn’t think.” –soomuchcoffee

“When I was a kid. I spent the night at one of my friends house. And you were allowed to drink a soda like sprite before bed. But you had to stir it till all the carbonation was gone.. Don’t ask me why…” –newvictim

“I had a friend in middle school, and his dad worked for Pepsi. No one was allowed to bring any Coke products into the house. The first time I went there his mom told me I could not come in the house because I had a Dr. Pepper. I thought she was joking and tried to walk in, but stopped me and said that if I don’t throw that in the garbage outside that I would have to leave. They were fucking serious about that shit.” – SlowRunner

“During college years, I used to visit my friend during summer months at his parents’ house, where he lived at that time. They had two odd “house rules” I’ll never forget:

  1. We couldn’t open any window in the house (even the bathroom window) – ever! Even if it was far cooler outside than inside during the summer.
  2. We weren’t allowed to close our bedroom doors at night, so that his parents’ cat could have free access to all rooms at all times. (This made it difficult to sleep, without a breath of air from the windows, and the cat walking over us in bed while trying to sleep.)” –Back2Bach

“I knew this family that would share the same bathwater as a means to cut down on their water bill. So when one person took a bath, they ALL took a bath that day. The waiting list was about 4-5 people deep. From what I understand, a lot of families do this, however, I just couldn’t see myself washing off in someone else’s soapy leftovers =( If that were the case, I got first dibs on getting in the bathtub first lol”- __femme_fatale__

“My ex’s family would throw all their left over food over their balconey instead of putting in the trash can. I asked them why they did that, they replied it keeps bugs away……..and didnt think rotted food right outside their door would bring bugs.” –PimemtoCheese

“I had a friend whose mom required her to sit on the floor. Never a chair, couch, bed, or other piece of furniture. I went to her house once and sat down on her bed and she flipped out, made me get off it and spent several minutes smoothing the sheets to make it look flat again. I think her mom thought “kids are dirty” but the rule was in place even after bathing and wearing clean.” –knitasha

“Went over to a school-mates’s house for dinner when I was in elementary school…his mom cut everyone’s good into little tiny bites before giving you the plate and only let us eat with a spoon… Her oldest daughter apparently choked on something once when she was a teenager and it became a rule…even on hamburger and hotdog night.” –GRZMNKY

“I was doing a project with a classmate at her house and on our way to her house we stopped at a store and picked up some snacks. We did our schoolwork and then just kind of played and messed around while eating those snacks. Then her mom came home and lost her absolute shit about the snacks. It wasn’t so much that we had eaten them, it was because the snacks had crumbs that had contaminated their otherwise purified home.

My friend had to stop everything and vacuum the entire house to get every crumb of snack, then take the nearly empty vacuum bag, the empty snack bags, and the half-empty but “contaminated” bag of kitchen trash outside and ask one of the neighbors if she could put it in their garbage bin because not a crumb of that kind of food was allowed on the property in any form after sunset. My mom picked me up and as I was leaving they were doing some additional purification ritual and my friend was praying for forgiveness for having potentially defiled their home.

Turns out they were 7th Day Adventist and it was against their code or whatever to have leavened foods in their house/property during a certain period of time? I don’t remember the exact details, but I remember it was a pretty big thing about how every crumb had to be removed from the property ASAP.” – alexa-488

“My neighborhood friend and I would hang out almost every day of the summer. We would go out exploring in the woods with a bunch of our friends and would usually come back all muddy and tired. My friend was very nice and would offer me water and food. His parents would take those away from me if they saw me with them saying they were only for their children. He was always allowed to eat at our house yet I’d have to walk back if they started having any type of meal. The worst though was his next door neighbor who had a daughter our age and when we were hanging out we all got muddy (we were 10) the girls mom proceeded to take her daughter and my friend into her house to clean them up and told me I wasn’t allowed to enter and that I could use the hose. Some people just know how to ruin a kid’s self esteem.” –boomsloth

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