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RAPID CITY, SD (KOTA) – For someone with messy eating habits, food may not be a problem. On the contrary, for someone who suffers from an eating disorder, it takes a lot of thought.

“When I was younger I would spend days eating next to nothing because I wanted to be skinny, I wanted to look certain. I was very unsure of what I was feeling and who I was and had in mind this vision of what it would take to get there. So after a week or more days of not feeding myself the right food, then I would go the other way and stuff myself, and stuff, and stuff until my stomach hurts. . It would be this vicious cycle which was really excruciating for my health, ”explained current Miss South Dakota, Kaitlin O’Neill.

“An eating disorder is when someone eats too much or isn’t eating enough,” said Dr. Kari Scovel, clinical psychologist. “They can go through a cycle of binge and purge, especially during times of high stress. “

Like during the holidays when the pressure to eat is everywhere. Being aware of this pressure is huge when battling an active or recovering disorder.

Plan ahead and be there for yourself.

“When you have an eating disorder and you know you’re going to be put in a situation where you’re going to be tempted, you’re going to be put in a position that is going to be difficult for you to think about ahead of time. Said therapist Beth Trennepohl.

Plan your meals, consider making your own to make you feel comfortable, and have a support system to help you overcome negative behaviors.

“And really remember what the vacation should be like and take care of yourself. Don’t get overwhelmed and if you do, take those moments away from the crowds and the pressure of eating, ”said Scovel.

However, for someone with an eating disorder, it’s not just the vacation that is a struggle.

“During the holidays we are all challenged to eat more than we should, different things, more unhealthy things, but people with an eating disorder find it difficult to eat all the time, not just during the holidays, ”said Trennepohl.

“Growing up, I think I had an unhealthy relationship with food in general. It wouldn’t necessarily increase more or less during the holidays, it was just kind of a constant, ”O’Neill said.

O’Neill recovered from his eating disorder and created an organization called BLOOM Into a Healthier You to help people going through similar challenges.

“You are not alone and there are people to support you. It was just my most important thing. I hid my feelings and didn’t talk about what I was going through because I was afraid to do it and there are so many other people who have been through exactly what you are going through or similar situations and they can get you the help you need, ”O’Neill said.

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