health takes a holiday

I understand why PATIENTS ask for a "free day" when holidays come around: a break from the pressure from family to eat normally, when standards for recovery are set aside in hope of harmony and tradition. That request is in character for a person under the control of an illness seeking to kill and disable its victim.

What I don't understand is why professionals would go along with it, or encourage parents to do so. It is particularly galling to me when the "don't be the food police" phrase get a whole new life during the holidays - after I've spent all year trying to empower parents to take control of eating to save a child's life.

Is eating less important during the holidays? Is the relentless need to restore the body less critical because it might freak out Aunt Somebody who is on a diet and the cousins may feel awkward if you refuse to carry on the 'not eat until 2pm and then gorge' family custom?

The eating disordered mind is always looking for a "free day," a "break," and a higher priority. It seeks data on what mom thinks is more important than that mid-morning snack. For what embarrasses dad in front of his brothers so much that he'd compromise on making sure dinner is on time.

I say don't give ED a holiday. Don't withdraw the safety you provide. ED is asking you "What does it take to make you back off? How much, exactly, do you really care?" And he is taking notes.

The gift you give to ED during the holidays in front of Grandmother and wrapped in keeping peace will keep on giving all year long.


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