Help! How to avoid stress eating during the holidays?
November 24, 2020
It’s Georgina Fourzan nutritionist at Health & Nutrition Solutions.
Just in time before the holidays kick off with my favorite holiday; Thanksgiving!
Well, if you’re reading this blog the title caught your attention right? Because after all, (if we’re all honest) who isn’t stressed about that this year. For starters Covid-19 has come and placed a lot of restrictions that leave us with very little options to gather.
But even so, we’re still celebrating one way or another with you guessed it; FOOD!
So let’s start to tackle the subject of emotional eating, because it is knowing the truth and confronting our issues that sets us free from our bad eating habits.
Common causes of emotional eating.
Stress. Ever notice how stress makes you hungry? It’s not just in your mind. When stress is chronic, as it so often is in our chaotic, fast-paced world, your body produces high levels of the stress hormone, cortisol. Cortisol triggers cravings for salty, sweet, and fried foods—foods that give you a burst of energy and pleasure. The more uncontrolled stress in your life, the more likely you are to turn to food for emotional relief.
Stuffing emotions. Eating can be a way to temporarily silence or “stuff down” uncomfortable emotions, including anger, fear, sadness, anxiety, loneliness, resentment, and shame. While you’re numbing yourself with food, you can avoid the difficult emotions you’d rather not feel.
Boredom or feelings of emptiness. Do you ever eat simply to give yourself something to do, to relieve boredom, or as a way to fill a void in your life? You feel unfulfilled and empty, and food is a way to occupy your mouth and your time. In the moment, it fills you up and distracts you from underlying feelings of purposelessness and dissatisfaction with your life.
Childhood habits. Think back to your childhood memories of food. Did your parents reward good behavior with ice cream, take you out for pizza when you got a good report card, or serve you sweets when you were feeling sad? These habits can often carry over into adulthood. Or your eating may be driven by nostalgia—for cherished memories of grilling burgers in the backyard with your dad or baking and eating cookies with your mom.
Social influences. Getting together with other people for a meal is a great way to relieve stress, but it can also lead to overeating. It’s easy to overindulge simply because the food is there or because everyone else is eating. You may also overeat in social situations out of nervousness. Or perhaps your family or circle of friends encourages you to overeat, and it’s easier to go along with the group.
So how can I prevent emotional eating?
Have a healthy meal planto follow. Preferably the one Health & Nutrition Solutions designed for you. Having a strategy to follow is important and a safe keeping for goal. Stick to that!
Cook healthy dishes for these special occasions and adhere to your reasonable portions
Physical activity does wonders for your mood and energy levels, and it’s also a powerful stress reducer.
Aim for 8 hours of sleep every night. When you don’t get the sleep you need, your body craves sugary foods that will give you a quick energy boost. Getting plenty of rest will help with appetite control and reduce food cravings.
Make time for relaxation.Give yourself permission to take at least 30 minutes every day to relax, decompress, and unwind. This is your time to take a break from your responsibilities and recharge your batteries. In other words take a time out, go outside and decompress.
Connect with others. Don’t underestimate the importance of close relationships and social activities. Spending time with positive people who enhance your life will help protect you from the negative effects of stress. Focus on your conversations instead of the cookies or pies on the table. Create healthy boundaries by saying “no thank you I don’t eat that”. Respect your own boundaries and stay true to you when you are around friends and family.
When you’re physically strong, relaxed, and well rested, you’re better able to handle the curveballs that life inevitably throws your way. But when you’re already exhausted and overwhelmed, any little hiccup has the potential to send you off the rails and straight toward the refrigerator. Exercise, sleep, and other healthy lifestyle habits will help you get through difficult times without emotional eating.
Wholeness is a journey that must be traveled with awarenesses of one self, and exercising self control.
Let’s remember that giving in can lead to giving up.
So this holiday season, what will it be?
Default or a new life style?
You get to pick.
Email me and drop a line or two, I’d love to hear from you.