Navigating Christmas Functions When you Struggle with Emotional Eating

First things first: it’s understandable that this is a hard time for you. You are not alone, as most people who struggle with emotional eating find Christmas difficult. Here are 7 tips to help you through this time.

1. Keep fuelling your body

This may sound like a ridiculous suggestion as my first step, as you probably think there is too much fuelling happening anyway. However, it’s important that you still start the day off well with a proper breakfast. Skipping meals to save space or compensate for all the eating that might happen later (or happened yesterday), will actually increase your chances of bingeing later in the day. 

2. Wear clothes you feel good in

Forget about fashion – the most important thing is that you wear what feels good. If you wear something that is a bit tight or increases pressure on your body, it will make you feel like you are fat. This will then make you feel self-conscious and increase the likelihood of bingeing either later on or the next day.

3. Position yourself away from the food and keep a glass in your hand

If the food is on a table, stand as far away as you can. Hold a glass in your hand, so that it makes it trickier to constantly graze. This can be especially useful when food is constantly passed around.

4. First look before choosing

Have a look at what is on offer and choose 3 – 4 things that really appeal to you. Put these onto your plate, savour and enjoy eating them and then actively focus on moving away and engaging with others.

5. Treat Christmas like any normal day

Yes, Christmas is traditionally a day with lots of food, but that doesn’t mean we need to eat and taste all of it. Instead of focusing on quantity, see if you can rather focus on quality, variety and taste. Getting into the mindset of “it’s Christmas and therefore I need to eat all of this until it is gone” is more likely to result in excessive out of control eating on the day.

6. Give yourself permission to enjoy what you eat

Giving yourself permission to enjoy food is more likely to result in you eating slower and more purposefully. When you feel guilty for eating something, you are more likely to stuff it down to get the experience over and done with.

7. Give yourself grace

It is easy to get into the “I’ve failed” or “I can’t do this” mindset. Beating yourself with a stick and being critical is very easy. I encourage you to practice some compassion for yourself. This is probably the hardest time of the year for you, so focussing on even one little thing that you did actually do, rather than what you didn’t do, can be seen as an achievement.

Take care over this busy time and remember to take time out for you.

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