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I can't stop eating! How to handle emotional eating during the holidays

Colleen E. Crane MSW, LCSW is a licensed clinical social worker based in Bozeman, Montana. Colleen is currently in private practice and specializes in working with adolescent girls and women.

Don't let emotions control your diet

It’s that time of year where memories and food go hand in hand -- which means many of us, who would not identify ourselves as emotional eaters, all of a sudden find ourselves eating a lonely night away.
Don't let emotions control your diet

Here are three tips to help curb that emotional eating and to stop it from becoming a yearlong habit.

Conscious eating

How many times do you find yourself eating at your desk or finishing a meal in the car? Often when we eat on the go, we don’t realize all the calories that are going in our mouth. It can be a big problem when we run up against year-end deadlines and all-night shopping trips as the holidays approach. Try to find time to have an uninterrupted meal. Even if you can’t leave your office, turn off the computer, turn off the smartphone and pay attention to each bite. You probably will end up eating less and feeling fuller quicker. At the end of your meal, take three to five deep inhalations and exhalations to help relax your nervous system, then get back to work. You can even take conscious snack breaks throughout the day if that works better for your schedule.

How to eat less and enjoy it more >>

Stretch your body -- and mind -- with yoga

There have been many studies on the effectiveness of yoga and how practicing brings more mindfulness to your everyday. Treat yourself to a yoga class at least once a week -- your body, mind and spirit will thank you. Do friends and family find it difficult to buy you a present? Have them buy you a 10-class pass (often a discount at many studios) so you can continue your practice long after the holidays are done. Cardio is great, but yoga helps to decrease tension like no other exercise.

Yoga for today's busy woman >>

Make the connections now

If you know that going to your grandmother’s house always brings on a panic attack, or visiting your sister carries that inevitable sense of dread, then work it out with yourself before the holiday meal. Write down some thoughts about how it feels to visit that relative’s house and see if you can help identify some feelings that later lead to emotional eating. If you are able to make the connection for yourself why you might feel anxious, then you will be less likely to binge. Holidays are emotional times -- make sure to take care of yourself!

10 Ways to do away with holiday stress >>

More holiday diet tips

How to stick to your diet during the holidays
Tasty alternatives to the unhealthiest holiday foods
Top 5 tips to eat less this holiday season

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