Navigating Valentine’s Day while in recovery from an eating disorder can be tough. These tips and strategies will help make the day more manageable.
On TV and in the movies, Valentine’s Day is a big deal. Couples exchange gifts over romantic candlelit dinners in fancy restaurants and clink their champagne glasses together to celebrate their love. But in real life, it’s often a little less romantic. People who are single often approach the day with a sense of dread. Even people who are in happy relationships and marriages aren’t off the hook for Valentine’s Day stress: Are we exchanging gifts this year? What about reservations? How much does that special Valentine’s Day menu cost?! And navigating Valentine’s Day while in recovery from an eating disorder can be even harder, single or not.
Valentine’s Day is yet another holiday focused on food. After getting through the holidays, managing your recovery at Thanksgiving and the string of year-end, food-focused holidays, many of us are feeling the fatigue. And a day focused on romantic love can dig into those soft spots related to self-esteem, desirability, and body image that so often accompany an eating disorder. Here’s how to get through Valentine’s Day while in recovery.

All Foods Fit
To some degree, it’s impossible to completely avoid the candy on such a sweets-centric holiday. The candy, cookies, and cupcakes will be everywhere: in the grocery store, in the break room at work. So, what can you do? Well, you can embrace it.
“If you tell yourself that you can’t or shouldn’t have a particular food, it can lead to intense feelings of deprivation that build into uncontrollable cravings and often, bingeing

And so it is with Valentine’s Day candy. By allowing ourselves unconditional permission to eat what we want (including Valentine’s Day candy), we can avoid the “Last Supper” mentality that can cause binge eating and food avoidance. Normalizing all food is an important step in reclaiming our power over food and how we eat.
Valentine’s Day is just another day, and chocolate is just one type of food. So relax, try to enjoy that Whitman’s Sampler, and remember that all foods fit. If that bag of Reese’s hearts on display at the grocery store looks good, buy it and eat one whenever your body is craving something sweet. Grab that Hershey’s kiss from your coworker’s desk and enjoy it. Each time we refuse to give food power that it has not earned and does not deserve, we are closer to healing our relationship with food

Nurture Relationships

Valentine’s Day is a day that can be very much focused on food, but it can also be a day to nurture important relationships in our lives. Whether those relationships are romantic, platonic, or familial, the holiday can be a time to reach out to those important people in our lives and let them know how important they are. When you’re in eating disorder recovery, holidays like Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Valentine’s Day can make it easy to fall into hyper-focus on holiday food as well as our anxiety about eating. But it’s just as easy to shift the focus away from the food and instead zero in one what’s most important: our relationships with our loved ones.
Instead of allowing ourselves to fixate on the food, we can plan to spend the day letting the people we love know how much we care. That might mean dinner out with a romantic partner, a phone call to a parent, a text message to a good friend, or a small gift and card for a child. It doesn’t have to be all about the food — we can refocus ourselves by making Valentine’s Day about strengthening relationships.

Set Boundaries

* Celebrating Valentine’s Day… At All: Another thing that’s totally and completely valid is opting out of celebrating Valentine’s Day at all! If we don’t feel celebrating Valentine’s Day is good for us this year, whether it’s related to eating disorder recovery or not, it’s fine to let people know that we’re treating it like any other day and request that they not attempt to cajole us into celebrating it.

Setting, enforcing, and revisiting boundaries is something we all need to do in our relationships. This Valentine’s Day, setting boundaries with the people in our lives (and even checking in with them about whether we are in our recovery) can be an excellent way to honor those relationships and our recovery.

Prioritize Self-Care
People with eating disorders tend to have poor self-esteem, negative self-image, and body image issues. And on a day like Valentine’s Day, with its focus on love and romance, it can be easy to fall into a pit of despair wondering if our bodies are to blame for any snags in our love lives. This is especially true if we’re not the ones getting flowers delivered at work or with gifts and a night on the town waiting for us when we get home. So, it’s vital to make sure that we’re taking good care of ourselves on Valentine’s Day.
* Focus on Gratitude: Starting the day with a list of things in our lives we’re thankful for can keep us from falling into the trap of comparing ourselves to others. Whether it’s being thankful that we are in eating disorder recovery, or grateful that we are loved by parents, friends, family members or even a pet, most of us have some love in our lives worth celebrating. Find that love and be thankful for it!
* Make Plans: Don’t have a date for Valentine’s Day? No problem. Show yourself some love by making plans to do something you want to do for Valentine’s Day. That could be catching up with friends, spending some quality time with a parent, scheduling a massage, or even just taking a nap or staying home and catching up on Netflix.
* Tune It Out: If Valentine’s Day while in recovery is just too much, it’s okay to do whatever is necessary to tune it out. If the parade of flower deliveries at work is upsetting, ask to work from home (or plan on taking a vacation day.) If there are a few people on social media who are just going way too hard with the Valentine’s Day posting, temporarily mute them. It’s okay to just treat it like any other day, and take steps to excise the Valentine’s Day out of February 14. Even consider going off the grid until it passes. (And, thankfully, it will pass.)
* Check In With Your Support System: There are some times when we may need a little more support than others. If Valentine’s Day is stressful, reach out to people who can help. Whether that’s close friends, parents, or a treatment team, it’s important to let them know that some extra support would be appreciated.
* Practice Self-Compassion: Most of us are our own harshest critics — and that’s especially true on a holiday focused on idealized love. It can be helpful to take the time to remind ourselves of how far we’ve come in our recovery, and be patient as we consider how far we have left to go. Negative or difficult feelings that are brought up by Valentine’s Day are valid, and it’s important to acknowledge them and feel them. Like all other feelings, they will pass!

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By Center for Discovery

Salted Chocolate Tart

INGREDIENTS    For the Potato Chip Crust * 1 8 ½ ounce bag Kettle Chips Sea Salt flavor * 5 tablespoons unsalted butter melted * 1/4 cup all purpose flour For the Chocolate Filling * 1/4 cups heavy cream * 10 ounces semisweet chocolate chips * 2 large eggs * 1 teaspoon vanilla extract * 1/8 teaspoon salt For the Chocolate Ganache topping * 8 ounces bittersweet chocolate chips * 1 cup heavy cream INSTRUCTIONS   For the Kettle Chip Crust * Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a food processor, pulse the potato chips until they are finely ground. Add the melted butter and flour and pulse for 30 seconds to combine. Press the potato chip crust into the bottom and sides of a 9-inch tart pan. * Transfer to the pre-heated oven and bake for 12 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool. For the Chocolate Filling * Combine the cream and chocolate chips in a medium pot over medium heat and warm the cream until the chocolate starts to melt. Whisk these 2 ingredients together until completely smooth. Add the eggs, vanilla and salt and continue to whisk until smooth over medium heat. * * Once smooth, remove the pot from the heat and pour the Chocolate Filling mixture into the cooled tart shell and place it back into the oven and bake for 22-25 minutes. Remove it from the oven and let cool for 30 minutes. For the Chocolate Ganache topping * Heat the cream in a small saucepan and add the chocolate. Whisk together over medium heat until the mixture is smooth and all the chocolate has melted. * Pour this mixture over the middle of the chocolate tart and use an offset spatula to spread it around in a swoopy motion. Let the entire tart chill in the refrigerator until cold. Dust with flaky sea salt before slicing and serving.

Source: @whatsgabycookin

Scallop Pasta

INGREDIENTS    * 3/4 pound linguini * 1 pound scallops * Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper * 1 tablespoon olive oil plus some for drizzling * 3 tablespoons butter divided * 4 cloves garlic chopped * 1 large shallot finely chopped * 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes * 4 sprigs fresh thyme leaves removed and chopped * 1 cup white wine Sauv Blanc * 1 cup seafood stock chicken stock will work too * 1 cup fresh basil torn * 1/2 cup chopped chives * 1 lemon zested and juiced INSTRUCTIONS   * Cook the pasta to package directions. Hold off on starting the scallops until you drop your pasta. * Remove the muscle from the scallops and pat dry with a paper towel pat. Season the scallops heavily with salt and pepper. * Preheat a large skillet (I like a cast iron skillet for this) over medium high heat. Add the olive oil, once shimmering, add scallops. Sear the scallops for 2-3 minutes on each side until super golden brown. The last minute, add 2 tablespoons of butter and baste the scallops, then remove from pan and tent loosely with foil to keep warm
 * Add an additional drizzle of olive oil to the skillet and add the garlic, shallots, crushed red pepper flakes, thyme, salt and pepper. Reduce heat to medium low and sauté garlic and shallots 1 to 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add wine to the pan and scrape up any pan drippings. Reduce the wine for 1 minute, then add seafood stock. Continue to cook for about 1 minute. Add the basil, chives, lemon zest and juice and the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter and stir the mixture until the butter has melted. Add the cooked pasta and cook for about 30 seconds, just to combine and let the pasta soak up the sauce. Nestle the scallops back into the skillet to serve.

Source: @whatsgabycookin

Slutty Brownies

INGREDIENTS    For the Brownie layer: * 10 tablespoon unsalted butter * 1 1/4 cups white sugar * 3/4 cup cocoa powder * 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt * 2 teaspoons vanilla extract * 2 large eggs * 1/2 cup flour For the Oreo layer: * 1 package of Oreo regular stuffed or double stuffed For the Cookie Dough layer: * 1/2 cup unsalted butter at room temp * 1/4 cup brown sugar * 3/4 cup white sugar * 1 egg * 1 1/4 teaspoons vanilla extract * 1 1/4 cups flour * 1/2 teaspoon salt * 1/2 teaspoon baking soda * 1/2 teaspoon baking powder * 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips INSTRUCTIONS   For the Brownie layer: * In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium high heat. Add the sugar and cocoa powder once the butter is melted. Whisk to combine and remove from heat. Add the salt, vanilla and eggs and continuously whisk until the eggs are combined. Add the flour and continue to mix. Set batter aside.
 For the Cookie Dough layer: * Cream together the butter and sugars in a mixer. Add the egg and vanilla, making sure to scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl. Add the flour, salt, baking soda and baking powder and mix on low until everything is incorporated. Fold in the chocolate chips. Set dough aside. Assembly: * Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and line the bottom of a 9x9 baking pan with tin foil or parchment paper and then spray the foil/paper with a spritz of non-stick baking spray.
 * Layer the cookie dough on the bottom of a 9x9 baking pan, pressing down to form the bottom of the slutty brownies. Layer as many oreos that will fit on top of the cookie dough. No need to overlap. One single layer will do.
 * Pour the brownie batter on top of the oreo layer and make sure it's evenly layers on top.
 * Bake for 35-40 minutes. Test with a knife to see if the center is done. If the knife comes out clean, let the brownies rest for at least 2 hours before serving. If the knife comes out with batter still on it, allow the brownies to bake about 5 minutes more. Slice and serve.

Source: @whatsgabycookin

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