Emotional Eating around the holidays

      The holidays are upon us, and with that, family comes to visit…or maybe you go to visit family. Maybe for some people, the get-togethers are all around amazing and fulfilling…BUT for most of us, with family comes a lot of drama! am I right? I haven’t been able to make it home for the holidays for a couple of years now, but never fail when I call home on Thanksgiving or Christmas day, family drama is happening…sometimes in that very moment. A sister and her husband are arguing, another sister is lashing out at family members because she needs her cigarette fix, a brother is spending all his time with his girlfriends family which in turn makes mom think he doesn’t want to be around, so she ends up sad. Aunts and uncles at odds with each other.  Extra expenses come with the holidays that cause much stress on families.
I am sure this isn’t your family at all, but can you see how family can make you crawl in a hole with a dozen doughnuts and a jug of eggnog? Or how about a box of See’s Chocolates? FOOD just makes us feel better. We get a quick dopamine hit from hyper-palatable foods (processed foods) that give us that “feel good” emotion. Why wouldn’t we resort to that feeling during times like these? Well I am here to tell you there is another way. Lots of other ways actually to channel the crazy.

1. I would go into the holidays with an eating plan!! Just expect that there will be drama and junk food around all at the same time. It’s hard to resist all those tasty desserts, so allow yourself to have  a slice or two of pie and leave it at that. Before you even do that though, fill your plate with 80-90% veggies and a little protein. Save the 10% or so for the treats. (unless you’re super disciplined around sugar and your weakness is something else like mashed potatoes, then save your 10% for that one thing). I find that I don’t go crazy on junk food when I fill up on veggies first. Who brings veggies? If no one does, YOU be the one to make a beautiful green salad and bring a veggie tray.

2. Know your trigger foods. If you know that the Oreo pie is going to lead to a binge episode, then avoid it completely. Go for something else. If you are one of those people who has a belief that you can’t stop at just one slice, well guess what? YOU CAN. If I told you I was going to cut off the arm of your first born if you had more than one slice, you would totally stop at one slice. (Sorry, that was violent and extreme.) But I just want to show you that you actually do have willpower.

3. Consider that something is lacking within your lifestyle that is making you overeat. Has there been a death in the family recently? Does this time of year remind you of someone you loved and lost? Did you lose your job or having trouble at work? Just acknowledging anything out of sorts within your life and fixing those problems can lead to healthier eating habits. You’ll no longer be eating your cares away because you coped with your cares. You leaned into the emotion instead of suppress it. You shifted your mindset around relationships and family drama. It’s amazing that you can feel whatever you want to feel about any situation in life just by changing your thoughts around that specific person/place or thing. EMOTIONAL EATING DOESN’T STEM FROM REAL HUNGER; IT’S AN IMBALANCE IN YOUR LIFESTYLE.  As you lean into the actual emotion you are feeling, try and figure out where you feel it in your body. Is it a heavy dark feeling in your chest? Is it pain in your head? Is it a black pit in your stomach? It’s okay to talk to the feeling and name the feeling “Oh Hello Overwhelm…there you are. You feel dark like the color black. You’re heavy on my heart. Stay as long as you need to overwhelm, but I am ready to let go when you’re done”. It sounds so funny, but when I acknowledge my emotion it goes away quicker. LEAN IN, NOT AWAY!

I want to encourage self love and positive thinking in whatever way works for you. I highly recommend adopting a meditation practice. I recently took a trip to the Float Spa and came out feeling like a brand new person. Talk about the deepest form of meditation you can get. Google “Float Pods” and learn all about it, then look for one in your area. Trust me, you’ll want to do this. Yoga and even just practicing deep breathing can all be super beneficial for you. When your brain tries to bring you down, have a positive affirmation to say over and over. Tony Robbins says “everyday in every way I’m getting stronger and stronger.” Use that one if you’d like. 

Eliminate judgement on yourself and focus your attention on getting to the root cause.  Re-parent yourself in order to heal yourself. Likely something from your childhood went wrong and caused you a lot of pain. RE-PARENT YOURSELF from self love, not shame. 

The process of healing is slow and gradual. Cultivate a goal of progression over perfection. You’ll achieve a higher level of emotional health. 

**If you struggle with any kind of eating disorder I highly encourage you to seek professional help from a licensed therapist. Don’t be shy or afraid to do this. Many people struggle. It’s admitting the struggle and moving forward that will help you progress to become your best self. The person you were always meant to be. 
Here is the helpline you can reach out to: https://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/learn/by-eating-disorder/osfed/overview 

God Bless You all during this Holiday Season! 
💗 Health Coach Heather

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