Avoid Stress Eating This Holiday Season

We’ve written about eating just because food is available and about overindulging in holiday treats. We haven’t really spoken about stress eating. For some people, stress turns off appetites and causes people to miss meals. Other folks react to stress by eating. Either of these options isn’t healthy. Eating regular meals at regular times can certainly help, but there are other tricks too. As much fun as the holidays are, they can be stressful and fraught. Today, we want to look at ways to eat a balanced, normal diet when you overwhelmed or under strain.

One of our favorite tips (and probably one you’ll love) is eating a little dark chocolate. Sugar can through off your mood, make you sluggish  and wreak havoc on your blood sugar levels. But, a little dark chocolate can beneficial. It’s got high levels of magnesium and tryptophan, both of which are calming chemicals. You can satisfy your sweet tooth while helping yourself relieve stress and stay away from eating other things for comfort.

A habit you can form is to recognize you are stressed and move to an activity. Many of us notice our stress and then reach for a comforting snack or — if we aren’t stress-eaters — focus on that stress and wind ourselves up even more. Instead, direct yourself away from both mounting anxiety and food by doing something comforting for a few minutes. It might be a few minutes of stretching, reading for a little while, finishing a crossword puzzle, knitting a few rows of a project. One person in our office always sets out a new giant jigsaw on the coffee table in their living room during the holiday. It’s a fun task that everyone can participate in finishing. When things get a little hectic around the holidays, a few people will invariably spend a couple of minutes finding different pieces that match; it’s a soothing activity that allows you to step out of the stress without eating.

A great trick to ease anxiety and avoid snacking is to tell jokes. In India, there is laughing yoga, as laughter loosens up your muscles and relaxes your body. If you are alone, you can think of funny anecdotes that always crack you up. When you’re with people, start telling jokes, folks will join in and share their own. Laughter is contagious and, in no time at all, you’ll be back at ease and ready to face your tasks without reaching toward the candy bowl.

Use these out of the box tricks to maintain a healthy relationship with food this holiday. There’s nothing wrong with enjoying a few seasonal treats. You should enjoy them and focus on them — not use them for a coping method.
December 19, 2019

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