How to prevent overeating during the festive season
4 simple ways to avoid binge eating during the silly season.
With year-end functions and the festive season around the corner, there is a lot of anxiety around not binge eating on all the festive foods.
I used to feel extremely anxious in December, so many late nights, parties, celebrations, and a holiday away from my usual exercise routine. I knew I would not have enough time to work off all the mince pies at the gym and knowing that I would be exercising less while on holiday really got me worried.
I would make sure to eat very little during the day, hoping to cancel out some of the excess calories I would eat at a function, after a glass or two of wine, however, all inhibitions would fall out of the window and I find myself binging on the buffet or buying chocolates on the way home.
It took me years to discover that I was in continuous patterns of binge eating or restricting calories. This cycle would for some reason be amplified over the festive season, I could not find balance, either I was eating healthy, or I was letting loose and eating everything in sight.
Ultimately, I would feel regret over what I ate and the guilt from overeating would overshadow the amazing family time and holiday memories. I would vow never to feel like this again, only to be back where I started the following December.
This week, my client was in the same panic about how she was going to survive the festive season. She felt she already had so many binge episodes during the Covid-19 pandemic and she just could not face any more disappointment.
I gently recalled how I used to feel and decided to work with her on a balanced approach to the festive season. She walked away feeling empowered and so much more relaxed about her holidays.
Here are my top tips for managing overeating over December:
Don’t skip meals to save calories for later
Scary fact, hunger is one of the biggest causes of emotional and binge eating, when we let our bodies go hungry for too long, we can’t feel fullness when we do eventually eat. This is why we often wonder why we went for the second or third helping when we clearly weren’t hungry.
Eat regular meals during the day, even if you have functions in the evenings, this way you won’t show up hungry and you are less likely to overeat.
Meal prep can come in very handy, make sure to portion out your snacks for the week, along with bulk cooking your meals. This will go a long way in avoiding the McDonalds drive-through on the way home.
Don’t stop moving
Don’t let the lack of a gym discourage you from moving your body, our bodies still need movement, even if we are not in our usual routine. Moving is how our bodies release tension in our muscles and it’s great to release some of the pent up stress from being in lockdown.
Take walks in nature and find an easy workout that you will enjoy.
Make time every day to move your body in the way you love to move. If you love yoga, do yoga out of love for movement but don’t force yourself to run for example if you hate running.
Don’t distract yourself from how you are feeling
The end of the year is an emotional time of year and it’s easy to distract ourselves with Netflix, social media, alcohol, and food.
Emotional eating is an indication that there is an imbalance in the body or mind, when we approach emotional eating with curiosity instead of frustration, we can start figuring out what our bodies need, which means we can eliminate emotional eating.
If you find that you regularly comfort eating on the couch, lean in, and question how you are feeling. A quick body scan can tell you if there is physical pain that needs to be released. In addition, regular morning and evening mental check-ins can be very helpful, this could be done in a journal or just a quick check of how you are feeling and release what
Gratitude is the right attitude:
A great way to end the year is in gratitude for everything you have learnt and how your body has supported you through the year, whether your eating was good or bad.
Make a list of all the things you are grateful for when it comes to your body, this can be as small as being grateful for your nose for letting you breathe, your feet for carrying you through life, or your mouth for allowing you to taste amazing food.
Be grateful for all the amazing memories, despite all the restrictions and uncertainty, there was still a lot of good that came out of 2020.
To sum up, the festive season will always be laden with tempting food and cheeky wines. Allow yourself to be swept in the celebration and not the worry of counting every single calorie. Make little tweaks to help you manage your portions and don’t allow yourself to go hungry.
About the Author
Estelle Coombe-Heath is the #1 authority in helping career women overcome binge and overeating using my signature Quit binge eating formula.
From a background in business analytics, Estelle now leads various programs on changing mindsets around eating and healthy food choices. She supports her clients to cultivate healthy eating habits and to build trust with food.
As a holistic health coach, Estelle infuses yoga, mindfulness, and energy medicine into her consultations with clients. Passionate about holistic health, she sees yoga as a therapy for the mind and soul considering herself fortunate to facilitate yoga experiences. Estelle sessions encourage clients to dive into the self-transformation that health practices like positive mindset, yoga, and meditation can provide.
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