1) Pause and Breathe
Your breath is a simple and powerful coping tool. If you generally use food to manage your feelings, stop and breathe at the first sign of emotional unease.
Try this: breath in deeply, hold your breath slightly, and then release. Repeating these simple steps helps you calm and settle yourself. By feeling more grounded, you can then make more conscious, rather than mindless, food choices.
2) A Powerful Question
Ask yourself: "How do I want to feel one hour (or one day) from now?"
This question helps you anticipate the results of your choices. Do you want to contaminate the next hour or day of your life with guilt and regret, or do you want to feel strong and confident?
For example, before entering a holiday party imagine how you want to feel as you drive home. Or, when observing an array of foods at a holiday buffet, imagine how you want to feel one hour later. This question helps you link to a positive mental image and guides you to make confident choices. Repeat this question often.
3) Carry a Symbol of Inspiration
Find a special object to help you feel grounded and inspired this holiday
season. For example, you may like crystals or stones, have a symbol of your faith to wear as a necklace, or a special ornament to hang on a Christmas tree.
When you find your special object, imbue it with the qualities you want to possess. For example, while holding your object, say to yourself: "This crystal symbolizes my strength and confidence. I make wise choices."
As the holidays approach, keep your object visible and easily accessible. When feeling triggered, hold onto or look at your object as a reminder of your
4) Write a Supportive Note
Buy a beautiful card and, as your own best friend, write yourself an encouraging note of unconditional love and support.
Praise yourself. Review your goals. Include in your note reminders to use specific coping strategies to manage overeating. Keep your note with you during holiday celebrations. When you feel the impulse to overeat, find a private space and read your note. You'll find comfort in knowing that support is only a note card away.
For some, the holidays may include challenging family interactions and painful memories which can trigger emotional eating. As difficult as this may be, do the best you can to enter those situations with a forgiving state of mind. This will help you maintain a healthy boundary and release toxic emotions that can lead to overeating.
Likewise, forgive yourself. Being accepting and gentle with yourself helps you confidently manage holiday stress and emotional eating triggers. The tendency to be upset with yourself for overeating melts away when you accept you did the best you could and let it go.