I have read online posts from people worried about overeating during this holiday. Holidays associated with candy, treats and yummy food can be tough for many. People worry about not being able to say no to those treats and goodies.
Holidays can be a particular struggle for those prone to overeating. Maybe you have lost weight and don't want to go backwards, or you are worried about eating the right foods and holiday food definitely seems like "bad" food.
There are a lot of emotions that get triggered on holidays that can affect your food choices. Family issues may drive feelings of anger or loss. Personal issues may drive feelings of loneliness or fear. There is also the fact that there might be a lot of food staring at you and you feel like you have to just go for it.
I suggest you first determine if you are physically hungry or emotionally hungry to help you avoid overeating at a holiday meal.
Physical hunger is the feeling in your stomach that you need to eat. Often people go to a holiday meal famished and overeat because they are too physically hungry. Being overly hungry is a strategy for failure for someone who has a tendency to overeat. Take care of your hunger and feed yourself when you are physically hungry. A great strategy to avoid overeating is to not let yourself get overly hungry.
If you find you are not physically hungry, but still want to eat, consider that you are emotionally hungry. Emotional hunger comes from transferring feelings you have onto the thought of hunger, which is not true of physical hunger. Acknowledge to yourself that you are not physically hungry and wonder to yourself what might be going on. Possibly you feel lonely or hurt and are misinterpreting those as physical hunger. Ask yourself what you need to do to address the feeling. Some options are:
- Take a short walk to get away from a situation.
- Take a deep breath to regroup.
- Talk to a supportive person about your feelings.
The best way to handle overeating is to slow down. Check in with your feelings and see what is actually going on. If you are physically hungry- then eat. If you are emotionally hungry- take care of the emotion. These suggestions work for those who overeat at the holidays or for anytime during the year.
Kim McLaughlin is a counselor and a motivational coach for people with binge eating, compulsive eating and eating disorders. She is a Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor. If you are in need of services contact Kim McLaughlin LMFT here.
Kim McLaughlin has been identified as writing one of the Top 50 Blogs about Emotional Eating by the Institute on Emotional Eating. Sign up for her free Special Report: Top Strategies to End Binge Eating here or visit her website at www.feedyoursoultherapy.com.