Tips to cope with holiday stress and overeating.

Yep, it is that time of the year again! The holiday’s which supposed to be the most magical and wonderful time of the year. Still, for most of us, especially this year with the COVID-19 craziness, kids running around the house, and you 24/7 working from home, well, this can also be the most stressful time of the year.

When it comes to the holidays, your mindset matters, many people wait until the holidays to let themselves go a little bit too much. And please don’t get me wrong, letting go is a good and necessary thing for all of us. But, the problem arrives when we have a black and white mindset and let all the healthy and positive habits for January 1st because we promise ourselves a new diet, a new exercise plan, a new me. Still, for most people, these changes never happen. So, in recent years resolution are I start the diet on Monday, best friend.

In both scenarios, balance is missing, leading us to overeat the day before the diet starts or fail in the long term because we restrict food for too long.

Finding a balance between eating healthy and having your favourites homemade Christmas cookies can be a real challenge, especially if you spend too much time indoors with mostly unhealthy foods around you.

In this article, we will find some easy tips to make sure you can stay on track without overeating or restricting too much the foods you love.

So, let’s get started!

Tips to prevent overeating and stress

  1. Plan your meals. This will help you prevent eating all day unhealthy foods and being unprepared when hunger arrives, which most of the times leads to eating the first thing you find. Keep healthy snacks at home and consider even buying them ahead.
  2. Move. Walking after meals and moving during the day will help you boost your mood and keep your bowels going. Also, home workouts are a great way to keep you active. 15 to 20 minutes Tabata workouts are a great option.
  3. Have a little snack. Before you go on any holiday event that involves food, have a small healthy snack, like raw veggies with hummus, some blueberries or nuts. This will help you avoid going super hungry and overeat at the event.
  4. Balance your plate. Include vegetables, protein and fats, and not only carbohydrates. Eating protein and fats will help you feel satisfied for longer.
  5. Mindful eating. Well, this is a hard one for all of us, especially when we get excited about all the food in front of us, and it is easier to overeat when we eat too fast. Taking some deep breaths before eating and having some space between bites will help you to digest better and to enjoy the whole experience of eating. Sometimes we so fast that we don’t even enjoy the cookie or the yummy food you deserve to eat, so take your time.
  6. Get enough sleep. A lack of sleep leads to an increase in hunger. This makes overeating more likely, especially since more time awake creates increased opportunities to eat.
  7. Don’t focus only on food. Yes, eating is a big part of the holidays, but not the only one. Play games, go for walks with the whole family, read and enjoy activities that do not involve eating.
  8. Bring your healthy food. Inspire your family with your food, bring your healthy dish and share it with your friends. Is also a great way to show people around you what you normally eat.
  9. Prepare healthy dishes. The holidays are the perfect time for experimenting and practising healthy holiday cooking. There is a healthier way to make your favourites recipes, especially for sweet desserts.
  10. Emotional hunger vs physical hunger. Emotional eating is using food to make you feel better, and it can be powerful, so it’s easy to mistake it for physical hunger.

Emotional hunger Physical hunger

comes on suddenly comes gradually
Is not satisfied with a full stomachstops when you’re full
Usually, it triggers feelings of guilt, powerlessness, and shameIt doesn’t make you feel bad about yourself
Craves comfort foodsOpen to options

Bottom line:

This year, the holidays can bring unexpected stress and sadness more than any other. Being far away from our families and friends can be an emotional challenge, which obviously can trigger any coping mechanism, like overeating. Therefore, taking care of yourself is vital to avoid stress and overeating and your health. That is why it is essential to eat healthy foods, get enough sleep, take care of your body and stay active to lessen fatigue, anxiety, and sadness.

Most importantly, be kind to yourself, stay safe, be grateful for what you do have, enjoy the food and company of these close to you.

Happy holidays!

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