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How to deal with emotional eating at Christmas

People enjoying a healthy Christmas meal on well laid out Christmas dining table

Christmas and the festive season can be a challenging time for those struggling with emotional or binge eating. So I am re-sharing this post that I have published both on my website and Linkedin Newsletter to share some tips for this festive season.

In reality, the best way to deal with emotional eating at Christmas is to learn to have a healthier and happier relationship with food throughout the whole year.

But you can still start making positive changes during the festive season. Emotional eating will always be there, but you can change your response to it.

Shift your mindset

If you are an emotional eater your first temptation will be to feel guilty, binge in private, and try to make up for the binge by punishing workouts, skipping meals, or restricting calories the following day.

I would like to invite you to shift your mindset and change your response.

Instead of feeling guilty, take a pause and slow down, and whatever you eventually decide to eat, simply enjoy every mouthful of it. Take your time, feel the texture, the aroma and the flavor, allowing yourself to fully feel the pleasure of the food you are eating.

Respect your emotional needs

Christmas can be a time when is difficult to say no, and you might feel pulled in many different directions. So it is important to create a little “emotional self-care plan”. Plan time off in between exhausting family reunions, to allow yourself to deal with negative emotions.

Practice active emotional recovery, by choosing activities that keep you in “the present”, like going on a walk, playing with kids, or going to the cinema and watching a movie.

Keep on exercising during the festive season

I appreciate that during the festivity we are all very busy, but you have to remember that exercise is one of the best anxiety and stress relievers. If you don’t have time to exercise as you normally do, simply adapt your exercise routine“Exercise snacks” together with calming evening stretching routines, can be really effective at keeping stress at bay, and with it emotional eating.

And if you don’t know what to do if you have only a few minutes to exercise, sign up to my #newsletter, because I will send out a little exercise routine that you can do at home this Christmas. You can sign up here.

Be wise with your food shopping

Learning to make smart food choices is one of the best investments you can make because you will never need to diet again and will learn to manage your weight naturally. (This is what I teach in it , which will start again in the New Year).

Use smart food combinations.

For example, if you like to have bread with pate’ or cheese, why not pair it with a lovely side salad and then finish it off with a clementine? You can have more Christmas eating tips in this article I wrote for my food blog a couple of years ago.

Treat yourself, but wisely

Do buy some luxurious food that you normally associate with Christmas and the holiday season, but focus on quality rather than quantity.

For example, one strategy is to allow yourself to have some of your favorite Christmas foods, but to spread them out over a few days rather than having it all in one go, so you don’t need to deprive yourself or binge, and you can get out from this “feast or famine” mindset.

What to do if you feel the urge to binge

If you do feel the urge to binge, pause for a moment and ask yourself: am I hungry, bored, sad, stressed or angry? It is a physical need or an emotional one? Is there a better way to deal with your emotions?

The simple step of pausing for a moment and thinking will force you to use a different part of the brain, that might delay or reduce the craving or the binge.

And if you still feel that urge, try to distract yourself by going for a walk, offering to do some cleaning or simply putting the music on and dancing it off. After all it’s Christmas time…

Let go of the guilt, but take positive action

Our relationship with food starts at the moment we are born, and there are lots of complex mechanisms that keep us hooked on food both physically and emotionally, so let go of the guilt, but do make a mental note to take positive action in the New Year.

Work with me

I am a health and nutrition coach specializing in helping clients move on from emotional eating and yo-yo dieting to a more attuned and happier relationship with food.

I am only working with a small number of clients at a time. To work with me in the New Year, do get in touch or book a complimentary consultation here.

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