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5 Helpful Holiday Tips for Emotional Overeaters

man refuses to eat spoon and fork on a plate stacked in the shape of a cross

man refuses to eat spoon and fork on a plate stacked in the shape of a cross

Thanksgiving is right around the corner. It is a time for gratitude, and togetherness, but it is also a time for food. For those who struggle with emotional overeating, the holidays can be especially challenging. Feelings of stress and anxiety come into play while preparing meals and shopping for gifts. However, you do not have to succumb to overeating this holiday season. There are strategies you can follow during this time of the year to help you stay focused.

Here are five ways to combat emotional eating:

  1. Anticipate Trigger Situations

    A food trigger is a situation or event that prompts you to eat. Sometimes hunger is a natural trigger, but more often than not, triggers are emotional. Many emotions over the holidays can trigger you to eat when you are not hungry or overeat when you have had enough. Focus on combating these triggers by planning ahead.

  2. Identify Triggers

    Chances are, you have foods that you tend to overeat more than others. Maybe it is the mash potatoes and gravy or sweet potato pie you can not seem to stop munching on. Recognize what your food triggers are, come up with a game plan to portion yourself better over the holiday season. Understand why these foods are so comforting and avoid stressful situations that will spike cravings.

  3. Learn to say No

    Over the holiday season, it can be easy to want to indulge when the family is involved. Perhaps grandma wants you to have a second or even third serving of her famous macaroni and cheese. While it may be tempting to say yes in moments like these, practice saying no in a compassionate way. Practice your reasons for saying no in front of the mirror, so when the holiday dinners roll around, you are prepared.

  4. Conquer Loneliness

    Loneliness over the holidays may result in overeating. Ask yourself if you are feeling lonely in moments where you are binging on food. This time of the year, it is easy to feel isolated if you are in a situation you do not want to be in. Perhaps your family is not going to come to Thanksgiving dinner, or you find yourself without a partner during cold seasonal nights. Regardless of the reason, loneliness should not result in overindulging. Try reaching out to friends, volunteering, or finding like-minded people in a club of interest.

  5. Allow Yourself to Enjoy

    While binging is never the goal, allow yourself to enjoy the holiday season. This time of the year is full of foods that look, taste and smell delicious. The truth is, overindulging once in a while is not always a bad thing.While you do want to take precautions, try not to go too extreme in avoiding treats this time of the year.  Try exercising in the mornings and eating light before big meals so you do not consume a crazy amount of calories.

Overall, ’tis the season for celebration and togetherness. Overeating can be difficult during this time of the year, but with some planning, you will be able to conquer the holidays in stride.  If you or someone you love is struggling with mental illness or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-777-9588.