The Holidays

The holiday season has begun. I love this time of the year - everyone's excited as Christmas comes along, the winter means that it'll soon be snowy out, and there's a well-deserved break from school and work.

It hasn't snowed this much this year, but this is a TTC Streetcar making its way through a heavy snowfall in 2008. Photo by Miles Storey

But the holidays also mean something that gets me a bit nervous: the gatherings that involve food. Everyone looks forward to the feasts full of chicken, pies, turkey, appetizers, bread and butter, cookies, get the idea. Food, and lots of it.

Deep into ED, the holidays made me nervous because I didn't know how I'd escape eating. I spent so much time racking my brain, trying to figure out how I would avoid eating, the excuses I would tell people, and the 'control' I would have to have to not eat. I'd become so nervous worrying and stressing about this time of the year because I knew that it would be difficult to completely avoid all the food.

To make things worse, I would hear people say that they were going to 'starve all day' so that they could 'pig out' on the holidays. This was made worse by the constant media and TV ads that told people to 'join now to lose weight before you gain it all in the holidays!' This all fed into ED. I would either starve all week long in preparation, not eat at all, or be shocked by the amounts of food that faced me. Clearly, none of these were helpful.

But this year as the holidays come around, I'm feeling a little better. Yes, I'm still a bit nervous about the feasts that I will face. But this time, things are different. I'm not hurting my brain, trying to think of how I will not eat. I've made an action plan to ensure that I won't give in to ED. I won't listen to foolish media ads that claim that we need to deprive ourselves from food now 'in preparation' for the so-called 'unavoidable' weight gain that would occur during the holidays.

It is still a bit worrying that I'm going to be faced with so much food...I can't remember the last time that I actually enjoyed this season because of the food. But I've made a plan: whenever possible, I'm going to fin out what food will be served so that I can plan my portion sizes and know what I'll be eating. I refuse to let ED take control and convince me to restrict. This year, I'm choosing to have happy holidays, full of freedom from ED and all his tricks.

They say that this is the 'season to be jolly'. For once in a long time, I really feel like this holiday season will actually be fun - with no worries about ED or weight.

Marina Abdel Malak is a student in Nursing with interest in mental health and eating disorders. She has her own blog at She is recovering from anorexia nervosa.