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Slow Down Holiday Overeating


How to slow down overeating when food is everywhere.

Food, Food, Food . . .

overeatingIt’s all around us. Everywhere we go, everything we see, food treats are strategically placed to lure us into temptation. Holiday displays in stores, pictures of desserts on magazine covers, sweet morsels in the break room, we can’t get away from it at work, home, or school. Starting around Halloween, it’s almost like we’re in the middle of a non-stop food orgy until New Year’s Day. Then we make resolutions to diet and exercise, trying to undo the damage we’ve done in the two months before.

How can we get off this holiday eating roller coaster?

Reasonable expectations are key to finding moderation. What is realistic for you in avoiding holiday food or social obligations? The point, here, is not to become a food Grinch or dessert Scrooge. The idea is to learn to pick and choose from the overloaded holiday offerings, and sample the best while discarding the less meaningful.

Finding moderation is easier said than done. Consider taking a long-term perspective. Holidays come and go, and we may feel pressure to cram all our eating, socializing, and gift-giving into the end of the year, these opportunities will come around again. Using a strategic selection can help us figure out what is important in our lives.

What can you do to cope with food pressures during the holidays?

  1. Avoid the Extremes. Dieting through the holidays can be self-defeating if it leads to feelings of deprivation or isolation. This can set the stage for rebound eating in the New Year. Instead, set a reasonable goal for yourself during the holidays and stick with it. Decide which foods you most enjoy, perhaps the ones which symbolize the holidays for you, and figure out how to include a moderate portion of them without eating everything in sight.
  2. Try a Mindful Eating Strategy. Find the most delicious food at the table and spend some time with it. Observe its smell, taste and texture. Slowing down can increase your sense of being satisfied.
  3. Take a Break. You may find that when you do less, you enjoy what you do more. Non-stop over stimulation helps to drive the feeding frenzy. Find a way to include some downtime in your holidays, time for you to relax and chill. Pick your favorite events and allow yourself to skip the rest.
  4. Feed Yourself in Other Ways. Learn to feed yourself in ways unrelated to food. Relaxing in a hot bath, connecting with a loved one you haven’t talked to in a while or reading something uplifting are ways to feed yourself calorie-free. Make a list of what feeds you, and consider allowing others to give back to you now and in the year to come.
  5. Spread Out the Cheer. Are there ways you can spread out the best of the holidays into other parts of the year? Perhaps you could find a reason to send cards to your friends other than Christmas, or a better time to throw a party than in December? You might even create a unique holiday to try out new and different recipes.

If your eating habits are causing additional stress, unwanted weight gain, or mood swings – contact New Directions Counseling at 724.934.3905