We’re all guilty of over-indulging during the Christmas period which may mean that we put on a couple of pounds or so. Some aren’t bothered by this and know that in time the weight will naturally come off whilst others use the New Year as an opportunity to embark on the latest diet craze.
For others however, this can be an incredibly dangerous time of year because anyone with an eating disorder can find that the constant adverts and talk about losing weight can worsen their condition. A dance teacher from Canterbury who is in recovery from anorexia commented:
“It’s just horrible. I hate this time of year. Some of my friends are on diets and I have to say to them ‘don’t talk to me about them. I don’t want to know if you have lost weight.’ There are so many adverts everywhere for weight loss programmes and tablets. I have to switch them off as I can’t watch them. And it seems like it’s everywhere now with social media.”
It’s not just those who already have an eating disorder who find this time of year difficult however. It’s estimated that around 10% of people who embark on a new diet will become anorexic and a shocking 40% will become bulimic - almost always as a consequence of other issues going on in their lives.
Nigel Jacobs, a family therapist said that Christmas is a difficult time of year because normally we’re told we must not over-eat but then we’re told it’s ok at Christmas and then come January we must be healthy again. He emphasised that the best way to recover from the festive period is simply to go back to eating the way you do any other time of the year and to avoid dieting.
“The moment you go on a diet you become obsessed with food and it’s really difficult to change your behaviour if the people around you are also behaving that way. One week’s eating is not going to make a difference to your overall life. It’s about looking after yourself consistently with eating and exercise and keeping them balanced.”
To learn more about eating disorders, please visit our eating disorder knowledge centre. If you are worried that you or someone you know may be suffering with an eating disorder, please feel free to visit our Eating Disorder Treatment Page for or Eating Disorder Treatment Page today.