Fight Emotional Eating During the Holiday Season
Studies mention shorter days and longer nights or physiological reactions to colder weather as contributors to weight gain during the holiday season, but another factor is in play. Anxiety over gatherings with friends and family, gift-giving, or other end-of-year stressors could spell trouble for emotional eaters. With the abundance of heartier food around, emotional eating could spiral out of control and pack on pounds that were lost in previous months. Before you give in to eating to quell the added pressure of the holidays, consider these strategies to alleviate emotional eating during the holidays.
Own Your Issues
While the mass media is awash with a happy-go-lucky view of the holiday season, for some, memories of lost loved ones, family conflicts or financial distress is especially hard to deal with this time of year. Eating cannot solve any of these problems. Whether it’s fresh on your mind or happened years ago, give yourself alone time to think through your issues. Before you have to face uncomfortable interactions, including conversations, questions, and demands you may not feel equipped to address, think about how you can avoid overextending yourself physically and emotionally. By owning your weaknesses and limitations, you’ll get comfort from facing your truth.
The Me-First Attitude
You come first. Despite the call to duty that many answer during the holidays, getting to the New Year with a smile on your face means taking care of you. That includes meeting your basic needs. It sounds simple, but during this time children, spouses, friends and even co-workers have a myriad of demands to be met. Instead of letting them dictate your entire to-do list, ask yourself what you would like during this time. Whether it’s taking a long drive, buying a sweater, or redecorating your bedroom, think about how to satisfy your needs. As my grandmother would say, a closed mouth does not get fed. Give other people the opportunity to feed your needs.
Set Your Own Boundaries
Whether or not you are overweight, being around loved ones could also mean hearing a lot of unsolicited advice. Whether it’s what or how much you should or should not be eating or something totally unrelated to food, set your own boundaries for conversation beforehand. Some people are bound to bring up negativity, but you don't have to play that game. Come up with a strategy to keep things as light as possible. Think of positive memories to reflect on or present neutral topics that are easy to hold people’s attention.
Don’t Get Bored
While it’s easier said than done, plan to avoid boredom. Whether you become the board game coordinator or arm wrestle referee, take advantage of the social setting of the holidays and plan to do something that is fun and exciting throughout the day. Adding a little exercise into the festivities is ideal, but you can also add trivia, storytelling, or a museum outing into the day to get you away from the table. By keeping your mind occupied on good times, you’ll enjoy yourself more and leave emotional eating behind.
What people or things trigger emotional eating during the holiday season?
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