Are you nervous about the upcoming holidays? Do you have nosey family members that often make unsolicited comments about you or what’s on your plate? How can you create a holiday season that you enjoy while nourishing your mental and emotional health? In this podcast episode, Dr. Cristina Castagnini speaks about how to handle the holidays with self-compassion and make it work for you with Dr. Jennifer Nardozzi.


Meet Dr. Jennifer Nardozzi (Dr. Jen), creator of the Food And Body - FAB - program. Over the last two decades, she has dedicated her life to empowering girls, women, and young men to alter their relationships with food and their bodies. Her work aims to help clients go below the surface to understand what food and body problems are really about and to find new ways of coping, eating, and living so they can have what they really want from life. The FAB program synthesizes all she has learned over 20 years to best help her clients change their food and body problems for good. She and her practitioners work with clients to begin making changes in their daily lives through a user-friendly, accessible, highly personal program. Visit the FAB website and connect on Facebook and Instagram. Connect with Dr. Jen on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Psychology Today  FREEBIE: Take the FAB Self-Discovery Quiz


  • Create an action plan
  • Think through the day
  • Identify potential triggers
  • Give back to yourself and the community

Create an action plan

The holiday season can be incredibly stressful for people that are in recovery from an eating disorder as it is a time with big gatherings of friends and family who might not know you well and where lots of food is present. People may joke about food, binging, constantly offer more servings, or comment on how much you may have or have not eaten.
Something that I do find helpful in terms of preparing for this holiday is [to] just start talking it out with your team. What are the fears? What are the concerns [that you have?] (Dr. Jennifer Nardozzi)
What are you concerned about that people might say, and how would you respond to them in the moment? Even write a list and brainstorm some responses, because this practice can help you to mentally prepare so that you are not floored by someone’s inappropriate comment.
[Ask yourself], “What am I going to do if comments are made? … How do I want to handle that or speak to that in a way that’s going to feel the best for me?” (Dr. Jennifer Nardozzi)
Talk it out with a friend and find a person who is willing to be your safe person for those few days that you can talk with or roleplay to get used to standing your ground, or to reground.

Think through the day

Consider your thanksgiving meal, and work backward in the day. How can you set yourself up for sustainable comfort and success so that when it comes to the meal, you can reduce any lingering stress or discomfort?
Set an intention of how you want to be at that meal with your friends or family … what’s going to have you be as present as you can? What do you want to experience around that table? (Dr. Jennifer Nardozzi)
Setting the intention doesn’t mean that it will necessarily happen that way, but it can help you to remind yourself that you have control over how you act and that you can take steps to make things easier for yourself where necessary. Make the intention with yourself to practice self-love, and be clear in the intention that you want to have for your holiday.

Identify potential triggers

Identify any potential triggers not to stress yourself out, but to help yourself prepare for how you may react to them if they were to occur. These triggers could be anything, from unsolicited comments to people talking about food or exercise, or nosey family members who are not kind or understanding. Give yourself some time to brainstorm, find a loved one to speak with when you need some extra support, and have an action plan to help yourself feel more in control.

Give back to yourself and the community

Practice some genuine self-care to help yourself maintain a level of peace during the stress of the holidays. If you are spending time alone, consider getting involved in community projects so that you can give back to those around you.
I think there are ways to make [the holidays] nourishing, even if it is something very different for you, but I would [encourage you to] put together some type of plan and not just necessarily wing it. (Dr. Jennifer Nardozzi)



I am a licensed Psychologist and Certified Eating Disorder Specialist. While I may have over 20 years of clinical experience, what I also have is the experience of having been a patient who had an eating disorder as well. One thing that I never had during all of my treatment was someone who could look me in the eye and honestly say to me "hey, I've been there. I understand". Going through treatment for an eating disorder is one of the hardest and scariest things to do. I remember being asked to do things that scared me. Things I now know ultimately helped me to get better. But, at the time, I had serious doubts and fears about it. If even one of my providers had been able to tell me "I know it's scary, but I had to go through that part too. Here's what will probably happen...." then perhaps I would not have gone in and out of treatment so many times. My own experience ultimately led me to specialize in treating eating disorders. I wanted to be the therapist I never had; the one who "got it". I will be giving you my perspective and information as an expert and clinician who has been treating patients for over 2 decades. But don't just take my word for it...keep listening to hear the truly informative insights and knowledge guest experts have to share. I am so happy you are here!


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