This is the time of year when few people want to look at weight loss or their eating habits. It strikes me as interesting because this is the best time of year to look at emotional eating. I say this because most people think of emotional eating linked to negative emotions. For most people, the emotional that lead to eating are negative, but almost everyone I know also eats to celebrate and have fun. How is that not linked to the holidays? From Thanksgiving through New Year’s, we do nothing but celebrate and look forward to fun times with friends and family. If we look even closer at that, we often have traditions that center around certain foods and we look forward to them every year.
In addition to the positive emotions around celebration, we also have stress and mindless eating that accompany this season. We are so busy buying gifts and attending holiday functions, we often let sleep and other healthy habits go by the wayside this time of year. We make ourselves feel better by reminding ourselves that we will change everything come January 1st.
We also tend to eat mindlessly with all of the treats around. We make treats for family and friends and receive them as well. Break rooms at work are filled to the brim with goodies and it becomes easy to pop one in your mouth without thought as you walk by. In addition, this is usually heightened by the stress we are feeling.
So, what do we do about this? Here are a few tips:
1. Find other ways to celebrate the holidays that won’t involve food. Build new traditions to look forward to.
2. Don’t limit yourself to foods once per year. This sets you up for a feast or famine mentality.
3. Keep your stress in check by maintaining balance throughout the season. Make sure you are getting enough sleep, maintain your physical activity, eat regular meals, and learn to say no.
4. Maintain your practice of mindful eating. Sit down and enjoy the treat you are eating. Take the time to savor it.
5. Don’t use your New Year’s resolution as a means to punish yourself for indulging over the holidays.