For individuals and families struggling with eating disorders, the holidays can be a particularly difficult time of year. There are expectations, family members who say the wrong things, and celebrations that focus on a meal.  These triggers can make for a stressful holiday time. The good news is, you can learn to avoid the triggers and make your holidays happy. Here are some eating disorder treatment pointers to help.

For individuals:

  • Let go of perfectionistic ideas and behaviors. Free yourself from the shame of imperfection.
  • Communicate honestly. Be proactive by letting others know what you need, so they don’t have to assume.
  • Take time for yourself. Make your holiday time more than just the meal.  Play a family game.  Go for a walk.
  • Delegate. Don’t do everything yourself!
  • Listen to yourself. Pause and identify how you are really feeling.

For Families:

  • Be aware of the triggers.
  • Validate and support. A comment like this works well: “I don’t know what you’re going through, but I want you to know, I care, and I’m here for you.”
  • Don’t focus on food, weight, body, or body image. Diet talk after a holiday meal is a big trigger!
  • Don’t ask how they are doing. Better is to greet them with “It’s so good to see you. I’m glad you could make it over.”
  • Get support. The recovery process takes time. Educate yourself to help you cope.


Healthy Futures specializes in the treatment of eating disorders, but also offers other specialized counseling. Contact us today at (480) 451-8500.


Jeanne Phillips: Hello, my name is Jeanne Phillips. I’m a therapist and life coach as well as certified eating disorder specialist at Healthy Futures. On behalf of myself and my wonderful staff, I’m saying the holidays are here. Although it’s the most romanticized time of the year, it’s probably one of the most difficult times of the year for individuals with eating disorders and their families.

I would like to take a little bit of your time, and give you some pointers as to how to survive the holidays. For my patients out there who are struggling, I would say, “Let go of your perfectionistic ideas and behaviors.” That will only trigger your shame. Listen to your body, use your skills.

Let people know what you’re wanting. Be honest, be authentic in your communication. They can’t read your mind. I want you to know for sure that you’re going to be triggered by those people out there, who think they’re saying good things to you to help you get through this, but often times, you know what your triggers are. Use your skills, not to let that put you in a funk.

Take time for yourself, do things outside of just focusing on the meal. Before or after, play games with your family, go for a walk, watch a movie that’ll probably make you cry because that’s how Christmas movies always are, but that’s OK as well. Don’t focus on doing everything by yourself. Delegate, delegate, delegate.

I want you to think about this. Many of you out there feel like, “Oh, my gosh, I feel fat.” Fat’s not a feeling. What I would say to you, when that happens, I want you to think back and say, “No, I’m feeling fearful. I’m feeling anxious, and I’m feeling threatened.” I want you to breathe, and I want you to step back, and listen to your body.

For you folks out there who are supporting your loved ones, it’s really important that you be able to be aware of what their triggers are, not walk on eggshells, but at least be aware of what their triggers are.

This is a really hard one for individuals out there because they often times don’t understand the language of eating disorders and when a patient comes to them or a child or spouse, and talks about what they’re feeling, often times they can’t understand what that’s about because they’ve not experienced that.

I’d suggest to you, please, just validate and support. You can even say, “I don’t know what you’re going through, but I want you to know, I care, and I’m here for you.”

Family members, don’t focus on food, weight, body, or body image. Please don’t talk about how you’re going to go on a diet after the first of the year, very triggering. Besides diets don’t work, so why set yourself up as well.

It’s also really important when you address a patient or your loved one again that you ask them not how they’re doing, but rather, “It’s so good to see you. I’m glad you could make it over,” because saying, “How are you?” or “Oh, you’re looking great,” huge triggers, just a little beware there.

Lastly, what I would recommend is you find support for yourself because eating disorder recovery is a process. Your loved one didn’t get this way overnight and he or she is not going to get better overnight. Educate yourself, so you too can survive the recovery process. On behalf of myself and my dream team at Healthy Futures, we wish you a happy and healthy holiday.

The best practice for healthy eating is being consistent with your eating every day.  But, before you can practice healthy eating, you need to know what that looks like for you.  It may be different from one person to the next.  So, ask yourself some questions.

Healthy Futures started offering individualized movement and exercise therapy and eating disorder programs in January of 2015. Their exercise wellness plans are designed specifically for people that are struggling with an eating disorder.

This addition to the Healthy Futures overall wellness program offers onsite sessions working with exercise consultants that understand eating disorders and the importance of proper exercise and movement. Taking a holistic approach, this exercise and movement program is for the mind as well as the body’s physical well‑being and is based on each person’s individual needs and goals.
At Healthy Futures, we want to help you with your recovery and wellness in every way possible.

Learn more about this exercise program and all of our exercise programs at Healthy Futures or call us today (480) 451-8500.

Kelley Aungst:  Hi, I’m Kelley Aungst, and I’m an exercise consultant here at Healthy Futures. I’m so happy and excited to announce that, come January, we are going to be offering an individual movement exercise therapy.

As an added component to the overall wellness for our patients, we thought it would be a great addition to our existing program. If you’ve been thinking about adding motion and movement to your new year, or joining a gym, or even hiring a personal trainer, you may want to consider our one‑on‑one exercise and movement sessions.

Some of the benefits for that for you might be convenience, because I’ll be bringing exercise equipment here so that you can do your sessions right onsite. You’d be working with somebody that has an understanding of eating disorders and the importance of proper exercise and movement to go along with that.

Not everybody has an understanding of that, so this would be an important component to your overall wellness and recovery here at Healthy Futures. I’ll use a holistic approach, body and mind, for your physical well‑being, and you’ll get an individual program design based on your needs and personal goals, and not someone else’s.

If this sounds like something that you might be interested in for the new year, give us a call, schedule a consultation, and let’s get you moving.

Spring is almost here.  Very soon, the gardens will wake up and those buds that have been waiting all winter long will feel the energy from the sun and begin to bloom.  We will see and smell beautiful flowers everywhere.  It’s such a happy and joyful time.

Would you know what to do when you recognize depression or anxiety with some eating disorder behavior in a loved one?  In the following video, Dr. Kim DiRé of Healthy Futures in Scottsdale, Arizona offers tips to help you get your loved one the help he or she needs.

Eating Disorder Treatment Scottsdale Healthy Futures AZHealthy Futures offers the Phoenix area’s longest running intensive outpatient program for treating those struggling with eating disorders such as anorexia, bulimia or any form of disordered eating.  We offer services that include nutrition education, meal planning, group therapy, family education and support, and DBT Skills Training.  Our clients enjoy support from others who understand, and they learn how to decrease the eating disorders’ power in their lives.

All that may sound like a mouthful, but relax.  You too can soon be on your way to overcoming your struggles.  All it takes is three simple steps to get through the eating disorder treatment admission process.

  1. Talk with one of our Intake Specialists who will answer your questions about our programs, fees and insurance coverage and the how-to’s of this process.
  2. Come in for an assessment and complete some paperwork.  The purpose is to gauge which level of care you need, and to develop an initial treatment plan.
  3. Get authorization for our services.  You will need to secure medical clearance from your physician.  Following the link to print the medical clearance form.   And, if entering our IOP, your insurance will be called to get authorization for our services.

Once these three steps are completed, you will receive a start date and be set on the path to a healthier future.  To start the eating disorder treatment admission process, call us at (480) 451-8500.  Healthy Futures is located in Scottsdale near the Loop 101 and convenient from nearly all areas of the Valley.  Our team of caring professionals looks forward to working with you on your road to recovery