The holidays are a time filled with fun and celebrations. While they are full of excitement, they can also be a time of heightened stress and overeating. Tis the season for holiday parties, bake-offs and cookie swaps in addition to the added stress of shopping and planning—a recipe of events that can lead to emotional eating. Does this sound familiar? If so, you are not alone. It can be the norm to overeat and gain unwanted holiday pounds. This can lead to feeling uncomfortable, anxious and even more stressed. It also can lead to setting unrealistic New Year’s resolutions that include losing weight once the holidays are over. But what if instead of focusing on food and weight during the holidays, you listened to your body and focused on friends, family and holiday festivities? Below are a few things you can do this season to enjoy yourself without the guilt of holiday eating.
1. Notice your feelings Often times overeating can occur due to underlying feelings that we might be trying to suppress, so it is important to recognize any feelings coming up during this time. Is it stress, anxiety, worry? If so, try to work through these feelings and find other ways of coping beyond food. 2. Pay attention to your body’s signals Your body will tell you when it is hungry, full or craving certain foods. While it can be hard to pay attention when you are socializing, try to pause every now and then and tune in to your body. If you are hungry, eat. If you are full remember that you can eat again when you are hungry. Overeating can sometimes lead to lethargy and irritability, so try to focus on staying energized. Also know that overeating is a normal part of life, so if it happens try not to dwell on it. 3. Find time for self care Holidays are about giving, but it is important to take time for yourself. Taking breaks and doing stress-relieving activities can reduce cravings and the habit of reaching for food. What brings you joy and relaxation? For each person it is different, but try to make a list and choose activities that you enjoy. Examples include meditation, painting, journaling, being in nature or taking a bath. 4. Be mindful of food and alcohol intake While intentions can be good, sometimes with all of the hustle and bustle it is easy to eat mindlessly until you are overfull. Try the following:
- If you are at a buffet, make a plate of food rather than picking throughout the night. This will bring awareness to your food intake.
- Incorporate vegetables. Think of the plate method. Make ½ of your plate fruits/vegetables, ¼ of your plate protein, and ¼ carbohydrates.
- Keep count of alcoholic beverages and have a plan before heading out for the night. Hydrate with water in between drinks and sip slowly to savor your beverage.
Most importantly, have fun this holiday season! Enjoy this magical time of year and focus on friends, family and loved ones. Allison Tepper is a Registered Dietitian in the DC Metro area, with a new office open in Ashburn, VA. She has extensive counseling experience working with clients with needs ranging from weight loss, nutrition therapy for disease states, emotional eating, IBS, disordered eating and more. Allison is passionate about helping clients achieve their goals through an overall lifestyle approach that is unique to each individual. Her focus is on creating healthy lifestyle changes through mindful eating, where the additional benefit is achieving a desirable weight. Interested in making positive changes to your health? Contact Allison today at [email protected] or visit www.teppernutrition.com