Emotional eating plagues a lot of Americans. I definitely have had my struggles with emotional eating.
We eat when we are stressed; we use eating as a coping mechanism.
Other emotions, such as depression, anxiety, fear, boredom or loneliness can also lead to emotional eating. When I’m feeling anxious, I tend to head straight for the salty snacks – chips, crackers, pretzels and peanut butter.
With the holiday season upon us, many of these emotions are experience on a daily basis. The stress of buying presents, decorating the house, preparing meals and bringing family together can cause us to turn to the cheesecake for a little peace of mind.
A better, healthier solution is to find a way to manage stress without turning to food.
Try exercising, deep breathing, yoga or watching a silly television show for relaxation instead of eating. Make sure you have a plan of options to try when stress hits you and you want to head towards the pantry. Usually when the moment hits, you have a hard time thinking about other options. But if you have a list of activities, either written down or imprinted in your mind, then you do not need to think about what to do. The choices are already there.
And if one activity doesn’t work, try another. Stressful events vary in our lives. Sometimes what has worked as a stress reliever for years will not work because the source of stress has changed. So don’t be surprised if your go-to reliever isn’t working. Just move to the next option.
I like to distract myself by reading a good book. Depending on the anxiety, I either reach for a gripping novel, a silly short story or a motivational book. I either need to get lost in a far-fetched tale, laugh out loud or be inspired. So I try to keep all three options around for just this scenario. If reading doesn’t work, I take a walk, take a nap, or write in a journal.
Preventing stress is a great tool to have during the holidays as well. While stress is inevitable in life, being able to avoid some stressful situations is a surefire way to make your holidays happier and healthier.
Take some time to make a plan for your busy holiday schedule. That way you will not over-commit your time and will have a plan of action to conquer all holiday activities.
And make sure you plan some “me time” in your schedule. This time will be non-negotiable! Treat it like a doctor’s appointment and do not reschedule or cancel it. Your “me time” may be exercising, taking a bath, getting a massage, or meditating. Whatever helps relax you, schedule that in as a commitment you are not able to break! Regular relaxation times can help you better deal with any unplanned stresses that pop up!
What are your stress relievers for the holiday time this year?