The holidays can be a stressful time, especially when added to other stressors that can make you more vulnerable to mindless and emotional eating. In addition to the usual holiday eating and stress, you may also be managing health conditions like diabetes during the holidays, so the challenges can feel overwhelming.
Managing holiday eating and stress
It’s important to recognize that the accumulation of multiple triggers can be a set-up—a recipe—for overeating. By understanding the ingredients that make you more vulnerable to holiday eating and stress, you can create a recipe for mindful eating and more balanced holiday celebrations!
Recipe for Overeating
- 1 batch, bag, box, or large plate of food
- 2 tablespoons of deprivation
- 1 heaping teaspoon of guilt
- Sprinkle of shame
- Optional: fatigue, stress, resentment, loneliness, boredom
- Run yourself down physically by not sleeping, exercising, eating when you’re hungry, consuming nutritious foods, or checking your blood glucose if you have diabetes.
- Alternatively, wear yourself out by working too hard, being all things to all people, and trying to make everything perfect.
- Place emotions on medium-high. Cover and simmer; do not allow steam to escape.
- When you crave something you love, remind yourself that it’s bad, fattening, or high in carbs.
- When your cravings grow stronger, tell yourself that you’re bad for wanting “bad” food.
- Wait until an influential person such as your grandmother or co-worker insists you eat that food anyway to please them.
- Alternatively, sneak the food when no one is watching.
- Sit down in front of the T.V. or choose another activity to distract yourself while you eat.
- Before eating, garnish the food with guilt. If it’s still enjoyable, stir in some shame to ensure that the food is completely ruined.
- Eat as quickly as possible to avoid tasting or enjoying the food.
- You’re done when you feel sick and uncomfortable.
- Repeat steps 1-11 until can’t stand it anymore. Try the Recipe for Mindful Eating.
Recipe for Mindful Eating
- 1 or 2 servings of food you love
- 2 tablespoons of hunger
- 1 heaping teaspoon each of intention and attention
- Sprinkle of trust
- Optional: pleasure, enjoyment, celebration, tradition
- Care for yourself physically by getting adequate sleep, exercise, and nutrition.
- Create a self-care buffer zone by regularly nurturing your body, mind, heart, and spirit.
- When you’re hungry, consider what you want, what you need, and what you have to eat before choosing food.
- Decide how you want to feel when you’re finished eating; serve yourself accordingly (or adjust the portion if someone else served you).
- When the food you crave isn’t particularly healthful, omit all guilt and shame and include the desired food in your meal plan. Remind yourself that all foods fit when you practice balance, variety, and moderation.
- Sit down to eat and minimize distractions.
- Savor the appearance, aromas, textures, and flavors as you eat.
- Eat slowly and mindfully for maximal enjoyment from every bite.
- Stop when you feel content and energetic.
- Repeat steps 1-9 for the remainder of your life.
To learn more about the differences between overeating and mindful eating, download chapter 1 of Eat What You Love, Love What You Eat: A Mindful Eating Program to Break Your Eat-Repent-Repeat Cycle.
Download a printable version of the recipes by clicking the image below!
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Updated from a previously published version.