Don’t Let the Holidays Hurt Your Health
5 ways to avoid stress eating – for you and your clients
The last months of the year can be a stressful time, and it’s easy to turn to food to relieve anxiety.
Food is obviously necessary to keep us healthy, and we all know we need to eat after workouts and activity to give our bodies the necessary energy and nutrients to repair and rebuild. But the holidays are also a time to enjoy good food with family and friends. So the best philosophy around this time of year is to enjoy your foods, but try not to connect eating to emotional well-being. If you’re feeling stressed, try NOT to use food as the solution.
To help rein in holiday overeating, here are five tips:
- Get moving. To release some of that stress, you’ll feel better if you get physical instead of eating. Go for a long walk or bike ride or challenge a friend to a game of basketball. Visiting a spa for a massage or manicure/pedicure also may help reduce stress. At home, try yoga, meditation and deep breathing to relax.
- Refocus your thoughts. If you’d rather not work up a sweat, refocus your thoughts by reading, doing a word puzzle or watching a movie. Also, consider talking with a close friend or family member, because emotional support helps reduce stress.
- Nourish your body to help curb cravings. Don’t skip meals. Have breakfast, lunch and dinner, plus healthful snacks in-between. Choosing high-fiber alternatives such as whole grains, fresh fruit and veggies can keep cravings at bay. Eat sweet treats in moderation – and never when you’re hungry – that just leads to overeating.
- Enjoy comfort foods in moderation. When we feel stressed, it’s easy to turn to food. “Comfort” foods often link us to happy memories, while others, like dark chocolate, may affect neurotransmitters and hormones, giving us a temporary sense of euphoria. Be aware that these feelings are short-lived and that we end up feeling more stressed afterward, especially if emotional eating affects our health or weight.
- It’s never too late to get back on track. If you do indulge in some stress eating, don’t panic: The best thing to do is to get back on schedule. Go to bed at the usual time, get up at the usual time, eat breakfast, go exercise and don’t overindulge the rest of the week. Make a healthier lifestyle a goal, and begin by keeping track of your food intake and exercise.
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