When Resolutions Turn Into Relapse

Over the Christmas period, people tend to indulge in desserts and nice food because it’s a festive time of the year. This leads to strings of healthy eating, diets, weight loss fads and gym memberships during the New Year.

There are weight loss programs starting on TV. People are talking about the new theme of 2017 and how their diet is going. People are sharing photos of themselves at the gym. I really like that people become motivated in the new year to do something for themselves, but New Year’s resolutions can be extremely trying for someone who has an eating disorder or for somebody who is in recovery for one.

New Year’s resolutions can be really helpful in putting people on track and motivating them to do more for their bodies and for themselves. However, people don’t tend to think about how negative New Year’s resolutions may possibly be. As someone who has battled with food and anorexia nervosa since the age of 15, the new year is a treacherous time. Each year it rolls around, I feel the same sinking dread and triggers.

I feel the urge to submerge into eating disorder behaviors. I become victim to the new weight loss fads circulating in the media. I sit and listen to friends and loved ones talk about their diets and can’t help but want to do the same. I become engrossed with exercises and gym memberships just like everyone else.

It’s so much easier to mask an eating disorder in the new year. When everyone is practicing healthy eating and exercising, no one really sees eating disorder signs as abnormal.

That’s why New Year’s resolutions set me back rather than forward. Resolutions turn into relapse. People’s talk about diets and exercise become extremely triggering with no fault of their own. The eating disorder becomes easier to hide and much more tempting to keep.

Resolutions can be completely rewarding, positive and healthy, but please, be considerate and spare a thought for those who may be struggling during the new year. Please, be aware that talks about diets and exercise can be harmful in the wrong hands. If you know someone who is recovering, then offer some support.

If you or someone you know has an eating disorder, call the National Eating Disorders Association helpline: 800-931-2237.

Here’s to a healthy, recovered 2017.

If you or someone you know is struggling with an eating disorder, you can call the National Eating Disorders Association Helpline at 1-800-931-2237.

You can continue to follow Savannah’s story at Saving Savannah.

We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.

Image via Thinkstock.

Find this story helpful? Share it with someone you care about.

Related to Anorexia Nervosa

Teenage girl drinking coffee.

10 Truths About Turning 30 and Recovering From My Eating Disorder

Only a thin white gown covered my body as I shivered ferociously, despite the plush white blanket my mother had brought from home. I couldn’t move, not even to make eye contact with my mother, who, flanked by doctors and nurses, peered over me. “What happened to me?” I wanted to ask, but I was [...]
woman smiling

You Can't Always 'See' an Eating Disorder

Over the past several years, I’ve struggled with a severe exercise addiction, orthorexia (a form of disordered eating), anorexia nervosa, depression, and anxiety. Having worked for years to overcome these things, I’m invested in spreading awareness about mental illness, particularly eating disorders since they get left out of the conversation far too often. This picture is [...]
girl sketch

The First Time I Spoke the Words 'I Have Anorexia'

When scrolling through my Facebook timeline one is bound to find stories about my experience with mental illness amidst all the other life updates. Some people wonder why I choose to be so open, thinking I would like to keep that information private. However, keeping what I was going through to myself is what led [...]
image of psychiatrist holding hands of her patient

When I Realized My Therapist Wasn't the Enemy

As may be the case for many people with an eating disorder, my first therapist was imposed on me at a time of medical crisis. It was far from a match made in heaven. He was a busy intern with scant understanding of anorexia and even less empathy. His questions were superficial and often insulting, and [...]