The holiday season is a whirlwind of family, festivity and feasts. From Thanksgiving to New Year’s Eve, temptations are everywhere. For women in recovery from an eating disorder, this time of year can present unique challenges. The continuous exposure to tempting foods and the disruption of daily routines can feel overwhelming.
How do you stick to a healthy meal plan when everyone around you is indulging? Here are some tips to help you maintain a balanced relationship with food and avoid stress eating during the holidays.
1. Holiday-Proof Your Plan
Planning is crucial for navigating the holiday season. While you can’t always dictate the menu, you can control your approach.
- Bring a healthy dish: Offer to bring your favorite healthy food to gatherings. That way, you know there will be at least one thing you can enjoy without stress.
- Balance your plate: If you indulge in a sweet treat, consider reducing other carbs in your meal.
- Avoid skipping meals: Skipping meals to “save” calories for a big feast often backfires, leading to binge eating. Stick to your regular schedule – have a small snack if necessary.
- Bounce back: If you overindulge, don’t beat yourself up. Return to your healthy eating habits at the next meal.
2. Outsmart the Buffet
Buffets are a hallmark of holiday gatherings, but they don’t have to derail your meal plan.
- Serve yourself wisely: Select small portions of your favorites, then step away from the buffet.
- Veggies first: Start with a serving of vegetables and a full glass of water to curb your appetite.
- Eat mindfully: Chew slowly and give your brain time to register fullness, which typically takes about 20 minutes.
3. All Food Fits
Remember, no food is inherently “bad.” Allow yourself to enjoy the foods that symbolize the holidays for you.
- Choose meaningful treats: Pick holiday specialties that hold sentimental value and savor them.
- Avoid labeling foods: Designating foods as “off-limits” can lead to guilt and increased cravings. Instead, enjoy a balanced approach to all foods.
4. Keep Moving
Staying active is essential, especially during the holidays. Even when your schedule gets busy, don’t skip your workouts. Inviting your family and friends to join you on an after-dinner walk is a great way to burn off some calories and enjoy more togetherness while staying active.
Embracing the Holiday Spirit
Managing stress eating during the holidays is about balance, planning and self-compassion. At Canyon Crossing, we understand the complexities of eating disorder recovery, especially during times of increased stress and temptation. Our dedicated team supports women on their journey to a balanced and healthy relationship with food.
If you’re struggling with stress eating this holiday season, remember, you’re not alone. Reach out for support and guidance to help navigate this challenging, yet joyful, time of year.