An Emotional Eater’s Guide to Surviving the Holidays


It’s that time of year when you are surrounded by family, friends and…FOOD! While the holidays are often an excuse for overindulgence, you can get through them without eating everything in sight. The key is to simply eat mindfully, not mindlessly. Easier said than done?

To navigate all those social gatherings coming up, here are some top tips for surviving the Holiday Season:


1.      Drink Water

Did you know that when you think you’re hungry, you may just be thirsty?! Ensure you are fully hydrated by drinking water throughout the day and when you’re out, to avoid overeating caused by thirst. 

It’s also important to stay hydrated when consuming alcohol. If you do drink, there’s no need to avoid alcohol completely, but keep in mind that it does dehydrate you. That’s why it’s a good idea to drink a glass of water between alcoholic beverages.


2.      Practice Mindful Eating

End-of-year stress and holiday desserts can get the better of our cravings. While you don’t need to avoid the sweets altogether, just practice mindfulness to manage overeating. The key to mindful eating is awareness. Savour each bite, take your time (chew slowly) and fully enjoy the taste of what you’re eating! Between bites, put your fork down while you chew. This gives your body enough time to send signals to your brain that you are satisfied.


3.      Take Time for Self-Care

The holidays can be stressful so make sure you take some time for yourself. Whether it’s having some quiet time by yourself or with a loved one, carve some time to relax, rejuvenate and refresh! Now is the perfect time of year to take a hot bubble bath, enjoy a cup of tea, or curl up on your couch with a good book.

Also consider making time for some physical activity as a form of self-care! Whether it’s going for a walk by yourself, or planning a fun family outing like skating, getting some physical activity may be just what your body needs during the holidays. Just remember to choose something you’ll enjoy for optimal benefits.


4.      Eat Regular Portions

Whatever you do, don’t tell yourself that this is a “cheat day” and you’ll start a diet tomorrow. That type of yo-yo dieting can have detrimental effects on your health and keeps you in a vicious cycle of emotional eating. Instead, take regular portions of the food you want to eat. You don’t need to fill up your plate with everything in sight – but you don’t need to avoid everything either. Try to listen to your body - serve yourself a regular portion and then go back for more if you’re still hungry.


The holidays should be a time to be merry, not something you dread. By following these tips – practicing self care and mindful eating – you can enjoy the holiday season, be festive, and still manage your emotional eating!