Do You Overindulge During Christmas Season?
Do you want to avoid overeating this Christmas? It might feel impossible. It’s understandable because this time of year is packed with food-filled gatherings! So how do we get through without binging and overeating? We know that triggers lead to binge eating urges. But what if we can’t escape from them? There is an endless availability of scrumptious food. No wonder we end up overeating!
Get Rid Of The Guilt
Do you want to rid yourself of the guilt and obsession around food? Do you want to eat the foods you love? And enjoy time with family and friends this Christmas?
Why do we tend to overeat during this time?
Last Meal Effect
A typical scenario I see people play out during Christmas is to ‘let go and eat as much as I want’ with the intention to go on a ‘strict diet in the new year’. This well-intentioned idea actually activates anticipated scarcity or ‘the last meal effect’ which causes us to eat more. We know that food will be restricted in the future and eat even MORE than we normally would.
Family or social gatherings can feel socially uncomfortable or stressful for some people. We might nervously eat to calm the anxiety.
A common scenario is to want to ‘be good’ and practicing self-control by only having a little bit of food when going to parties. Some people don’t want to be judged for their food choices and choose only “healthy food”. But this might cause the opposite effect. When you go home, you binge eat on the food you felt you missed out on at the party.
We, often, can’t avoid triggers this time of year. So, we need to learn to manage them as they come up.
Strategies to help you stop binge eating at Christmas
1. Mindfulness strategies
- Take three deep breaths. Breathing changes how we feel (fast) by calming the nervous system down. (Check out two VIDEOS HERE demonstrating breathing techniques)
- Connect to your five senses. Feel your feet on the ground. Look around and notice what you see. What can you smell? Be fully present about what is happening.
2. Questions to ask yourself to stop binge eating
- ‘What am I feeling?’ Name the feeling out loud. (For example – worried, anxious, sad, happy, bored)
- ‘What does this feeling remind me of?’ (What do I connect it with? Is this a pattern? Or a learned behavior? For example ‘Every time I am sad or stressed, I eat’. If we cultivate awareness around automatic behaviors we can then choose how we respond.
- Next, ‘Why am I eating?’ Becoming aware of why we are making those choices empowers us to make a different choice. We can then align our choices with personal fitness, health, and wellness goals.
3. Be prepared
I recommend that you don’t go to a party hungry. Ensure you have balanced meals throughout the day. You don’t need to overeat but you certainly shouldn’t starve yourself. Be ready to have another meal, not necessarily a whole feast.
4. Plating up
Before you put food on your plate check-in with yourself. Ask, ‘What would satisfy me?’ (Not what would be ‘healthy and make me look good’). Also ask yourself, ‘How much food would satisfy me’. Make a conscious choice of how much food would feel good.
It is important that you don’t place restrictions here. Give yourself a variety of food. And foods you love and enjoy. By doing this, you give yourself permission to eat the food you love. You will naturally find you will eat less of it.
5. Glass of water
Once you have eaten, I suggest you prepare a glass of water (and have it in your hands). In this way, if any awkward situations arise you can sip on the water instead of mindlessly grabbing food. Also, I suggest staying away from the food tables. Our brain predicts pleasure and you will release dopamine just hanging around there – which will make you to want to eat more.
Stop Binge Eating This Christmas
Ultimately, these strategies work with human psychology and support how the brain works. (As opposed to against it, which dieting does). Christmas is only once a year. Give yourself permission to enjoy this time as much as you can.
I wish you a beautiful Christmas season and a happy New Year.
Christmas Survival Guide
HOW TO GET THROUGH CHRISTMAS WITHOUT OVEREATING
Proven strategies to break the binge eating cycle and enjoy favourite food without overeating or binge eating during the holiday season. Connect with friends and family instead of feeling guilty and ashamed hiding or eating fast so nobody can see you.
Regain power over food!