Most people find the holidays the hardest time to avoid binge eating.  There are celebrations, holiday parties, grocery stores packed with candy and desserts and a constant message that the holidays are all about food.  Not to mention the stress involved with the holidays!  During times of stress we are more likely to engage in binge eating as a way to sooth and with the availability of sweets that goes along with the holidays can create a perfect storm.

However, there are ways of getting through the holidays without feeling shame, regret and unhappy due to negative behaviors.  Here are some productive ways of managing the holidays and stress so you can live a healthier and happier holiday season!

  • Don’t deprive yourself. You do not have to avoid all sweets and desserts during the holidays.  Instead, set up strategies for how and when you can enjoy some dessert.  Treats are not forbidden, if you love pumpkin pie, tell yourself you’re allowed to have a slice of pie, just not the entire pie.
  • EAT! Continue eating healthy and balanced square meals throughout the day.  By fasting we create unavoidable cravings that only lead to more overeating.
  • Be mindful. Be aware of all the sensations happening around you….mindful and aware of what you’re eating to fully enjoy it but also be mindful to the company, festivities, decorations, music etc.  Enjoy without guilt; there is so much to enjoy during this time of year that doesn’t have to do with food.
  • Have health snacks. Carry around healthy snacks for when you’re on the go holiday shopping or traveling.  Keep some satisfying and filling snacks on hand to avoid temptation and don’t let yourself start running on empty! Examples: cheese and crackers, protein bar, hard boiled eggs, fruit and peanut butter, vegetables and hummus.

Remember, there are no rules/laws around the holidays which say you have to eat everything or that you can only have it “this time of year.”  Remind yourself that if you really want chocolate, you can have it! It’s available all year round so you don’t need the entire box.

If you or someone you know is struggling with binge eating, or you’d like to learn more about services offered, please contact the Intake Department at Specialized Therapy Associates at 201.488.6678 to hear about our individual and group services.