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As Thanksgiving approaches, you may be feeling nervous about the big meal. We’re all aware that Thanksgiving is known for its spread of delicious foods and heaping plates. For someone with an eating disorder, such as bulimia or binge eating disorder, this can bring on intense anxiety and fear. But it doesn’t have to! Here are a few tips to help you work through Thanksgiving with minimal anxiety and maximum joy… ·

Regular meals on Thanksgiving day. Don’t fast all day to “save up” for the meal later on. Having a normal breakfast and/or lunch (depending on when you have your Thanksgiving meal) will keep you from being famished and subsequently bingeing on the delicious buffet. So if your big meal is at lunch, have a balanced breakfast and plan on having dinner as well. If your big meal is at dinner time, eat a balanced breakfast & lunch (and even an afternoon snack if you’re hungry). ·

Recruit support. Whether you’re getting together with family or friends, seek out someone who can hold you accountable at the meal (i.e. make sure you eat and/or keep you from bingeing). If you aren’t going to be eating with people whom you aren’t comfortable holding you accountable, talk to someone on the phone before & after the big meal with whom you are comfortable sharing with. ·

Review your portions. If you have a meal plan, think about traditional Thanksgiving foods and how they might count as part of your typical meal plan. The following tips can help you gauge how to portion out your foods on the big day: o The size of a woman’s palm (width & thickness) = 3 ounces turkey o Thumb tip (from the knuckle up) = 1 tsp oil, butter, salad dressing o Tennis ball = ½ cup of stuffing, sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, cooked veggies o Egg = ¼ cup gravy or cranberry sauce ·

Rate your hunger. Before the meal, check in with yourself to see just how hungry you are. Be mindful about how you build your plate to satisfy your hunger. When dessert arrives, ate your feeling of fullness in order to determine what portion of dessert you desire. For pies, a 1/8 slice is the traditional serving. To visualize this, think about the space on a clock between the hour-hand at 10:30 and 12. ·

Rein in the alcohol. Too much imbibing may make you more prone to bingeing. Best to keep it at one to two drinks over the course of four hours. One drink equals: o 5 oz wine o 12 oz beer o 1.5 oz liquor ·

Ration up leftovers. Pack up leftovers in pre-portioned amounts and/or send them home with guests if having them in the house is too much of a temptation to binge.

Written by Kate Grefenstette