Does this sound familiar?
It’s 9 p.m. and the kids are finally in bed, you’ve had a long day and are so stinkin’ tired. The
orange, plastic pumpkin full of Halloween candy is sitting on the kitchen counter and it feels as
if the candy is literally calling to you, “Eat me! I know you’re going to!”
You tell yourself that you don’t ‘need’ any more candy and that you should just go to bed since
you’re so tired or eat an apple if you want a snack. But another part of you says, “It’s been a
long day. You deserve the candy.”
One thing leads to another and before you know it you are elbow deep in the candy bowl. Guilt
starts to creep up on you as you look at the empty wrappers left behind and once again you feel
like a failure because you ate more calories or sugar than you were ‘supposed to.’
We are entering the season where “trigger” foods, candy, and sweets are everywhere! If you’re
like the majority of the U.S. population, you feel a lot of stress about what and how much to eat
this time of year. And, you may also be feeling stress about overeating, emotional eating or
binge eating in general.
If so, read on for 3 ways to help yourself not feel out of control with food this holiday season.
- Give yourself emotional permission.
That’s right, you need to give yourself permission. While this sounds counterintuitive, if
you are restricting with food today, you are almost 100% guaranteed to overdo it with
food tomorrow. And, just because you physically let yourself eat something doesn’t
mean you actually emotionally or mentally gave yourself permission. Notice the next
time you’re eating a holiday treat what you say to yourself while you eat it. Do you feel
shame or guilt? Shame and guilt exacerbate the very behaviors we are trying to stop. So,
to emotionally give yourself allowance, try taking a breath, being aware while you eat
and give yourself permission. As the shame and guilt lessen, you’ll find you’re less likely
to go into all or nothing mode.
2. Take care of yourself.
Usually when we find ourselves eating beyond the point of fullness or eating a lot more
sugar than our bodies actually want, it is because we are stressed out. This doesn’t
mean you can’t have the yummy treat, but ask yourself what you really need deep
down? Maybe you need to HALT and see if you are hungry, angry, lonely or tired? When
was the last time you just did something fun for the sake of it? See if you can give your
body and mind what they really need rather than asking food to fill in.
3) Eat 3 square meals a day.
If you are hungry you are much more likely to succumb to the candy bowl or overeat at
the office dinner party. Maybe you want to save your calories or points so you don’t go
over your limit at Thanksgiving, but this will actually only set you up to do the very thing
you’ve been trying to avoid – overeat. When we are hungry our bodies experience this
as stress and interpret hunger as signs of starvation. By eating three square meals a day
and listening to your body so it is both full and satiated you will reduce the chances of
going overboard with the pumpkin shaped Reese’s cups when no one is looking!
If you liked this article please share it! And, if you’re interested in working with someone on
issues like emotional or binge eating, reach out to set up a session with a therapist at Whole
Connection. We accept Medicaid and work on a sliding scale with private pay clients.