The Christmas holidays can be incredibly intense and trigger addictive eating. No wonder! Overeating over the holidays is almost a cultural expectation. Christmas overindulgence is harmless for some but can set those of us who eat addictively off on a binge that goes well beyond the holidays. Here are some tips to gracefully make it through the holidays without eating addictively:
- Remember that holidays are simply calendar times set aside to celebrate certain things. Christmas Day this year is just a Monday. Like every year, it will pass and make way for Tuesday, and then Wednesday.
- Choose to focus on the people rather than the food and enjoy some real conversations. Try to really connect with people at the table. What do you appreciate about each person? If you’re alone, use this time to focus on connecting with yourself.
- We put a lot of meaning on food during the holidays, but really, food is just fuel for our bodies. Shift your attention to the meaning of the holiday rather than the food. Enjoy taking a new perspective. And if you’re spending this time alone, hey, just completely ignore the fact that it’s Christmas!
- Practice acceptance of what is rather than having unrealistic expectations of what Christmas ‘should’ be. It often brings quite a bit of family dysfunction, or it can bring up feelings of loneliness. It’s ok. The holiday season is just one of those times that can be challenging for many of us, all over the world.
- Pray before, during and after each meal. Pray, even if you don’t believe in anything. Just ask for help and it will come.
- Write a gratitude list. Count your gratitudes quietly while you’re sitting at the table.
- If you’re visiting others, call the host in advance and ask what will be served. Plan accordingly and bring your own food if necessary. You could volunteer to bring something that you can eat. Don’t be afraid to state what you can and can’t eat.
- If you’re visiting with your parents or grandparents, avoid slipping into old childhood roles where you feel you must eat what you are being offered. What they really want is to connect with you and food is the traditional vehicle of achieving that connection. How could you give them connection, love and affection in other ways rather than feeling obliged to accept their ‘treats’?
- Skip any parties or eating occasions you’re nervous about. If there’s one you can’t skip, text a friend before and after the event and ask for support, or tell them what you intend to eat (and not eat).
- The most dangerous time for many addictive eaters is on the days AFTER Christmas. We feel that we’ve ‘been so good’ and it’s been hard to hold it together. We need a big emotional release and end up grabbing that first compulsive bite. Be sure to get support and rest up just after Christmas and do plenty of things that nurture yourself.
If you need support with your addictive eating, just get in touch!