Stay Merry and Mindful: Holiday Emotional Eating Tips

The holiday season is a time for enjoying family dinners, holiday parties, and expressing gratitude. However, it’s also a time when emotional eating sneaks up on us, catching us off guard and making us feel like we have no control over our actions.

What is Emotional Eating?

Emotional eating is the act of eating food for reasons other than physical hunger. Often, it’s a response to uncomfortable emotions like sadness or boredom, or during celebratory occasions like weddings or birthdays.

Why Do We Emotionally Eat During the Holidays?

Holidays are often stressful, causing anxiety and disrupting our normal schedules. Family dinners, holiday parties and gift shopping can make us feel overwhelmed. Additionally, during the holidays, we tend to indulge in foods high in sugar and fat. These types of foods impact our mood and create an environment conducive to emotional eating.

How to Approach Emotional Eating

The best approach to emotional eating is awareness. Recognize the triggers and behaviors that lead to emotional eating, allowing you to prevent it before it occurs. If you find that you are struggling, explore other ways to cope with your emotions, such as exercise, relaxation techniques, or talking to a trusted friend.

Strategies to Stop Emotional Eating:

If you’re unable to stop yourself from emotional eating, specific actions can help. Try these holiday emotional eating tips:

1 – Identify Emotions: Recognize the emotions prompting your desire to eat. Once you know what they are, try to deal with them in a healthy way. For example, if you are feeling angry, do something physical like going for a walk.

2 – Distract Yourself: If you eat out of habit when you’re not hungry, try distracting yourself with other activities. Create a personalized list of at least five things to do when the urge to emotionally eat arises. See below for some ideas.

Examples of Distraction Activities:

  • Coloring in an Adult Coloring Book: A relaxing, meditative activity that keeps your hands busy.
  • Painting Your Nails: Pamper yourself and wait for them to dry before reaching for snacks.
  • Applying Hand Lotion: A luxurious experience that leaves your hands too greasy to eat.
  • Organizing a Junk Drawer: Keeping your hands and mind occupied is a great distraction.
  • Calling a Friend: Conversations can keep your mind off food and give you emotional support.
  • Reading a Book: Get lost in a captivating story to distract from food cravings.
  • Gardening: Planting or weeding can be therapeutic and keep your hands busy. If you live in a cool climate, create an indoor garden in a sunny window!
  • Doing a Crossword Puzzle or Sudoku: Keep your mind occupied with these activities that require concentration.
  • Taking a Walk: Distract yourself and get a healthy dose of exercise.
  • Practicing Yoga or Meditation: Manage stress and reduce the desire for emotional eating.

By recognizing signs of emotional eating and implementing these holiday emotional eating tips, you can regain control of your eating habits and minimize disruptions during your holiday season.

For more holiday health tips, try these other posts from the Your Weight Matters Blog:

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