6 Expert Tips for Avoiding Binge Eating Over the Holidays

We look forward to the holidays all year long, but why? For some, it’s family togetherness or a spiritual celebration, but for many the holidays are about eating, drinking, shopping and doing all things in excess. Somehow the more we eat, the emptier we feel.

This holiday can be different, says Carolyn Coker Ross, MD, MPH, a nationally known speaker, author and eating disorder specialist. Here are a few ways you can avoid binge eating and bring true meaning back to the holidays.

#1 Avoid Black or White Thinking

A characteristic shared by individuals with eating disorders is all or nothing thinking – seeing life and self in extremes with no shades of gray. For example, if you have an eating disorder, you may feel that you are a glowing success or a terrible failure when the reality falls somewhere in between.

“People with disordered eating patterns approach holiday eating as an all-or-nothing proposition,” says Dr. Ross. “They either diet and restrict during the holidays or go to the other extreme and binge, promising to go on a diet after the New Year.”

Eating mindfully and in moderation is a healthier approach. When we allow ourselves to enjoy small portions of our favorite foods, we don’t feel deprived and then overdo it.

#2 Practice Mindful Eating

When was the last time you ate mashed potatoes? Is dessert a forbidden food? Many people, especially those with a history of dieting, have bought into what Dr. Ross calls the “bad food phenomenon,” labeling certain foods as bad and others as good.

“There are no bad foods. The only thing that is ‘bad’ is how we use food,” Dr. Ross explains. “If we use food to push away sadness or other emotions, or we eat to cope with stress, depression or anxiety, we’re using food for a purpose that it was never intended to serve.”

Rather than setting rigid rules that categorize specific foods as good or bad, Dr. Ross recommends that people eat the foods they enjoy as long as they eat mindfully. This may sound like a green light to binge on fattening foods, but in reality mindful eating is the opposite of the way many people eat over the holidays. It requires people to slow 먹튀검증커뮤니티 down, pay attention to the way their meal looks and tastes, and listen attentively to their body’s hunger and satiety cues.

“When we eat mindfully, we usually eat less because we’re satisfying all of our senses – sight, sound, taste, smell and touch,” says Dr. Ross. “We may still choose to eat comfort foods but we will be more aware of the emotional connections these foods have as well as their taste. It’s okay to eat Grandma’s strawberry shortcake and to revel in memories of your relationship with your Grandma as long as you are being mindful and really enjoying the food, not just the memory.”

#3 Find Healthy Ways to Cope

The holidays can stir up memories and feelings that have been suppressed the rest of the year. Some people are away from loved ones and missing old times, while others are struggling with relationships with family members that they share the holidays with. Rather than burying feelings in food, Dr. Ross encourages people to become aware of their emotions and find healthier, more effective ways to cope.

Food isn’t the solution to emotional issues. It is merely a temporary distraction. Instead of giving into the urge to binge, try the following:

• Give yourself time and space to identify what you’re feeling.
• Pay attention to the way your feelings lead to overeating.
• Have a place you can go to express your emotions safely, without fear of judgment or embarrassment.
• Create a strategy in advance for dealing with emotions in difficult situations; for example, when relatives make comments about your eating habits or weight or push food on you.

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