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Enjoy Holiday Food Without Guilt, Worrying About Calories or Gaining Weight (Weight Loss Must-Know)

Navigating the Holiday Season

The holiday season can be a joyful time of year, but it can also be stressful and overwhelming for many people. Unfortunately, this stress and overwhelm can sometimes lead to overeating and bingeing.

In this episode, we'll explore some of the common reasons why the holiday season can be an overeating trigger and how each of these factors can contribute to overeating and binging.





Episode Summary

The holiday season can be a joyful time of year, but it can also be stressful and overwhelming for many people. Unfortunately, this stress and overwhelm can sometimes lead to overeating and bingeing. Here are some of the common reasons why the holiday season can be an overeating trigger:


Stress and anxiety

The holiday season can be a time of high stress and anxiety due to a variety of factors, such as gift-giving, party planning, and traveling. This stress can lead to emotional eating, where people turn to food as a way to cope with their feelings. For example, you might feel stressed and overwhelmed by your to-do list and find yourself reaching for a bag of chips to calm down.


Family and social pressure

During the holidays, there is often a lot of pressure to socialize and engage in family events. This pressure can be especially hard to manage for people who have strained relationships with their loved ones or who are trying to navigate new social situations. Social pressure can lead to overeating in several ways. For example, you might feel rude or ungrateful if you turn down food or feel pressured to have seconds.



Emotional eating

Many people turn to food as a way to cope with their emotions during the holiday season. This can be especially true for those who experience depression, anxiety, or loneliness during this time of year. Emotional eating can lead to bingeing when people use food to distract themselves from their emotions. For example, you might feel sad or lonely and find yourself eating an entire pint of ice cream to feel better.


Exposure to tempting and high-calorie foods

The holiday season is often associated with indulgent and calorie-dense foods, such as cookies, candies, and rich entrees. These foods are often part of holiday traditions and can be hard to resist. The abundance and accessibility of these foods can make it difficult to practice moderation and may lead to feelings of guilt or shame. For example, you might attend a holiday party and find yourself grazing on the appetizers all night, despite feeling full.



Having children around

The holidays can be a time when families come together, and this often means that children are present. While it's wonderful to spend time with loved ones, having children around can add a layer of stress and pressure. Parents may feel like they need to provide special treats and snacks for their kids, which can lead to overeating. Additionally, parents may use food as a way to soothe or distract their children, which can lead to overeating for both the parent and the child.


A change in routine

The holiday season often means a disruption in our usual routines. For example, we may travel, attend parties, or have house guests. This change in routine can be unsettling and can make it harder to stick to healthy eating habits. When we're out of our usual environment, we may be more likely to make impulsive or unhealthy food choices. Additionally, a change in routine can make it harder to prioritize self-care, such as exercise and sleep, which can impact our overall well-being.


By understanding these common triggers, we can begin to develop strategies to avoid overeating and binging during the holiday season.

Now that we've covered some common triggers, let's talk about the important part: some practical solutions for navigating this challenging time of year.



Stress, anxiety and emotional eating

Try to incorporate regular self-care practices into your routine. In your day-to-day life, you should also pay more attention to how different emotions affect you and how you normally cope. This could mean taking a few minutes each day to tune in with your body, relax or write in your journal. Additionally, consider prioritizing activities that help you feel calm and centered, such as reading a book or going for a walk in nature. And as I've always emphasized, for each of your trigger situations, come up with a plan of attack, so that you know exactly what to do when these feelings hit.


Breaking down tasks into smaller chunks can be a game-changer during the holiday season. Whether you're planning a party, shopping for gifts, or trying to juggle multiple responsibilities, creating a to-do list can help you stay organized and reduce stress and overwhelm. By breaking tasks into manageable pieces, you can focus on one thing at a time, which can help you feel less anxious and more in control. Checking items off your list can give you a sense of accomplishment and motivate you to keep going. When creating your to-do list, try to prioritize the most important tasks and be realistic about what you can accomplish in a given day. Remember to give yourself grace if things don't go as planned, and don't hesitate to delegate tasks or ask for help if you need it.


Family and social pressure

Set boundaries and advocate for your needs. Setting boundaries and expectations could mean planning how much you'll be having, the number of parties you'll attend and turning down social events that you don't actually want to go. By setting clear boundaries and communicating your expectations to others, you can avoid feeling pressured or obligated to overindulge. Remember, it's okay to say no or to politely decline invitations or food offerings that don't align with your goals or values or if attending those events feels like a chore. By setting boundaries and expectations, you can take control of your eating habits and enjoy the holiday season without guilt or regret.


One way to avoid overeating when surrounded by tempting foods is to practice mindful eating. This means slowing down and savoring each bite, paying attention to your body's hunger and fullness cues, and stopping when you feel satisfied.


Routine

To cope with a change in routine during the holidays, try to prioritize self-care activities that you can do no matter where you are. This could mean going to the gym at your hotel, using a mindfulness app on your travels, or packing snacks for the road. Additionally, consider setting a consistent sleep schedule. Finally, don't forget to hydrate! Staying hydrated can help you feel more energized and less likely to reach for unplanned snacks.

Get your children in making healthy food choices. This could mean making healthy snacks together, such as fruit skewers or veggie dips. Make sure to take time for yourself to recharge, whether that's by scheduling a babysitter for an evening or asking a family member to watch the kids while you take a break.



Case Study 1: Jane, mom of 2

Jane used to dread the holiday season due to parties and family gatherings, knowing that they would all revolve around food.

Jane had struggled with binge eating and overeating for years, and the holiday season exacerbated her problem. She would try to stick to her diet, but inevitably, she would give in to temptations and end up feeling guilty and ashamed.

After working through one of the most important modules: "Reincorporating your Trigger Foods" in the Stop Binge Eating Program, she learned how to enjoy her favorite treats in moderation and without guilt and she's developed a much healthier relationship with food and her body. She no longer worries about counting calories or restricting her favorite holiday treats, because she had learned how to tune in to her body's hunger and fullness signals. And the best part? Jane no longer gains weight from holiday meals. In fact, she's able to enjoy precious time with her family without feeling bloated, uncomfortable, or guilty.

She finds the techniques of setting healthy boundaries, planning ahead, and how she can create a structure and routine the most helpful, Jane is now able to navigate the holiday season with ease. She no longer feels controlled by her cravings or her emotions, but instead feels empowered to make healthy choices that support her body and her goals.



Case Study 2: Sara, busy professional mom of 3

Sara used to feel so stressed and overwhelmed during the holiday season that she'd rather go to work than stay at home, and she'd often turn to food for comfort.

After joining the Stop Binge Eating Program program, Sara's learned other ways to cope with her emotions and create new family traditions that focused on connection and joy. She's also set much better boundaries and expectations with her extended family.

Sara decided to start a new family tradition: instead of spending hours in the kitchen cooking elaborate meals, she started taking her family on outdoor adventures like hiking and skiing. Not only did this give them an opportunity to be active and enjoy nature, but it also created lasting memories and strengthened their family bonds.

Sara also started incorporating more physically and mentally nourishing foods into their holiday meals, like roasted vegetables and homemade soups. She found that her children were more willing to try new foods when they were involved in the preparation process, and they even started requesting healthy meals and snacks on their own. Thanks to these changes, Sarah is now able to enjoy the holiday season in a whole new way. She no longer felt trapped by the stress and expectations of the season, but instead felt empowered to create her own unique family traditions and activities. And best of all, she found that her relationships with her children were stronger than ever before.




Whilst the holiday season can be challenging for those who struggle with binge eating or overeating, with the right mindset and strategies, you can navigate this time of year without sacrificing your health or happiness.


If you're like Jane or Sara and you're ready to dive deeper into how to make these strategies work for you, come join us in the Stop Binge Eating Program, where I guide you to work through these challenges step by step, like managing eating on holiday, how to set healthy boundaries and expectations, handling food pushers, restaurants and buffets. The Stop Binge Eating Program is designed specifically for women who want to stop different forms of overeating like yo-yo dieting, emotional eating, nighttime overeating, constant snacking and binge eating and would like to lose weight without restrictive diets or deprivation. It gives you the entire roadmap to re-establish your eating pattern in a way that supports weight loss and weight maintenance as well as, essential skills like managing cravings, unhelpful thinking patterns, and building confidence.



Resources


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