Summer Holidays with an Eating Disorder

‘Tis the season of travelling. There is something about May where it feels like everyone is on holiday, planning a trip or dreaming of being anywhere else but home. I’ve just returned from a few weeks down in Cornwall, my neighbour is off to Ibiza and our office is all excited about their upcoming annual leave for the summer.

For many, holidays are exciting and a welcomed break from school, work and regular home-town responsibilities. But what about if you have an eating disorder? How does that excitement twist and turn into anxiety and uncertainty?

We asked service users to share their experiences, thoughts and worries about summer and any holidays they have coming up.

“This year my family have decided to strip back our usual holiday abroad for a self-catered trip down south here in the UK. There was too much worry around food and distractions from my routine that staying closer to home felt like a safer option. I’m grateful to my family for accepting this but can’t help but feel guilty for my brother who was looking forward to flying for the first time. Another thing my ED has taken from us.”

“I’ve just come back from a short break with my mum at half-term and it went really well. There were some tricky moments but my hotel had foods I could eat and being away from home provided a big enough distraction for me that my ED voice was quieter than normal.”

“Whilst my friends all talk about FOMO when they see other people on holiday or on beaches whereas I worry about missing my ED if I went away. Not many people will understand that. I know that my eating disorder is a serious illness, but in another light it is a friend and my safety net. I fear that a holiday might provide too much of a distraction. And I fear what would happen when I come home and ED is waiting in the wings.”

“I always book a colder holiday, or something out of season so I don’t have the need to pack clothes too revealing. I hate my body. I would love to go on a summer holiday with friends, but the idea of being by the pool makes me feel embarrassed and very insecure. This is one of my recovery goals for the future. To book a fabulous summer holiday and enjoy it, accepting my body for the wonderful things it does for me.”

“My daughter struggled with an eating disorder for a number of years. 2023 will mark our first time abroad in four years. We are all really excited, but admittedly there is a bit of fear in the air. This is a challenge we haven’t yet broached as a family. We have done our research though and we are ready to go. We are proud of her for accepting the challenge, and excited for the new memories we’re making.”

Contributed by Lucy Robinson

Fundraising, Marketing and Communications Lead