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Managing Emotional Eating During The Holidays

Emotional eating happens when you continue to eat, despite no longer being hungry. Your body has had enough food, yet you just can't seem to stop. You often don't know why.

Some may assign unkind labels to this type of behavior, such as greedy, or lacking self-control. And nothing could be further from the truth. Engaging in emotional eating can be a normal physiological response to stress.

Negative feelings such as grief, guilt, sadness, loneliness, anxiety or even anger can trigger emotional eating. Then there are every day events that can lead to emotional eating. Such as relationship problems, financial worries, health concerns, caretaking, illness or death of a loved one.

Emotional eaters often reach for comfort foods that are high in sugar, carbs, and fat – items like desserts, ice cream, and candy. These episodes are often followed by negative self-talk and are compounded by feelings of guilt.

Tips for managing emotional eating:

  • Pause to ask yourself if your hunger is physical

  • Acknowledge your behavior for what it is.

  • Narrow down your trigger(s).

  • Fight the urge to withdraw and seek support.

  • Engage in exercise or other stress-relieving activities.

  • Keep an honest food journal.

Journal prompts to manage emotional eating:

  • What is a treat?

  • Will the food I'm craving, make me feel nourished and peaceful?

  • The best way to express kindness to myself this holiday season is __________. Make a list of ten new ways that you will express kindness to yourself. Truley listen to yourself. Show yourself grace.

Emotional eating hans when you continue to eat, even though your body has had enough food, and you are no longer hungry. ry. y. .

Practical steps for managing emotional eating during the holidays:

  • Know what you are walking into before you go to a party or family gathering.

  • Take the edge off your hunger ahead of time, by eating before you go,

  • Wear pockets so that you have something to do with your hands other than eat.

  • Pick three food items from the buffet or dinner table and eat them sitting down.

  • Alternate between talking and being aware of the food in your mouth.

  • Practice mindful eating by engaging all of your senses with every bite. Take notice of the smell, the texture, and the flavors.

  • If you find yourself eating mindlessly, excuse yourself. Go to the restroom.

  • Remember that life exists beyond the table. It’s easy to forget when you are in the middle of it all.

  • Remind yourself of the beauty that is not on your plate! And how utterly fortunate you are to be alive to see it.

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