The holiday season is a time of cheer, joy and togetherness. But it can also be a stressful time; from trying to find the perfect gifts, to attending endless parties and gatherings, there are plenty of opportunities for holiday stress eating. Thankfully, with the right strategies in place, you can manage your stress eating habits before they become overwhelming.

This starts with taking care of yourself—especially when it comes to what you eat throughout the holidays. Here are some tips on how to do just that.  I like to call this: “12 Days of Managing Holiday Stress Eating.”

1. Eat in moderation

When it comes to eating, less is more. This applies especially to holiday meals and parties. If you’re trying to manage your weight, you may want to avoid the large plates and buffets that are often offered this time of year. Instead, opt for a smaller plate and serve yourself smaller portions.

2. Hydrate

Staying hydrated will help you avoid overeating. It’s easy to confuse hunger with thirst, especially if you’re eating a lot of salty or sugary foods. Make sure to drink plenty of water throughout the day, even if you don’t feel particularly thirsty at that moment.

3. Keep moving

If you’re sitting at a desk all day, take a walk during your lunch break. If you sit in front of the television, get up and do some housework or stretches. Even just standing up and walking around a little bit can help suppress your appetite.

4. Change your mindset

We all know that eating healthy is better, but when it comes to holiday food, many of us give in to temptation. A good way to avoid overeating during the holidays is to change your mindset about the food you’re eating. Instead of thinking about how you’re going to feel after eating the meal, think about how it will taste as you take your first bite. It’s all about savoring the food and gearing up for an amazing experience.

5. Get back on track

If you eat something that made you feel icky or you simply fell off the wagon, don’t fret about it as you are ONLY one meal away from getting back on track. That’s it, just one meal! The heck with the guilt and stress over eating what you weren’t supposed to and “Yes” to picking up your fork and diving into the most nutritious meal you can design. Eat it up, yum!

6. Stop the holiday bloat – watch the sugars!

If you are going to indulge in holiday treats, keep a close eye on the sugar content. Sugar is known to cause bloating, gas and more. Eating too much of it will contribute to weight gain which is something most people don’t want over the holidays. Try making your own sweet desserts using monk fruit which will not spike your blood sugar or make you feel bloated.

  1. Have the party at your house so you can control the food and calories

When the party is at your house, you are the one in charge of the food. This way you can rest assured that you have, at least, some healthy choices that you can choose from, including cookies when you get them from my Guilt-Free Holiday eBook! Be sure to include lots of veggies and fruits as well as some protein.

  1. Bring a healthy dish to share to a holiday party

Most parties tend to have many options of unhealthy foods. Resolve that with bringing a healthy dish to share. You get to have great food and also get to share it with your friends. It’s a total win-win situation!

  1. Eat before you go and arrive late

So much to do, so little time. What to do? Well, arrive late and you can skip the hours of eating and maybe just join for a coffee and dessert after the meal. If you have already eaten then there is no need to snack since you are already full, right?!

  1. Learn to say “No thank you”

Food pushers are all around us during the holidays. They are at the office, at parties, family get togethers and a dinner out with friends. You have to be really honest with yourself and ask if you really want it. If the answer is no, then just say no. My favorite thing to say to these food pushers is, “No thank you, I’m full right now. Maybe later.” Give it a try and see what happens.

  1. Take the focus away from food and get the family involved with games

In my very Italian family, the first thing my mom asks is what are we going to cook for Christmas dinner. Yes, food focused all the way and the day is full of food prep and eating with family. My sister and I have created a new plan. Each family day is a game day. Yes, there is food involved and we do eat together, but it is simply NOT the main focus. The focus is on the games we are playing and to see who will be the overall winner at the end of the day. It is such a blast! Give it a whirl.

  1. Remember the reason for the season

For me, personally, Christmas is not about presents, and not about the food. It’s about family. I simply can’t wait until we all have some days off and we get to spend them together creating memories. Go ahead and create memories with the people that you love, take lots of pictures, spend time playing games, walking, hiking, or simply snuggling together and watching a movie. There is nothing better in life than family together time.

It’s easy to get overwhelmed during this busy season, so it’s more important than ever to prioritize your health and well-being. Allocate time for yourself each day, even if it means sacrificing a few moments from other activities or tasks on your list.

Wishing you the most joyful holiday season ever full of family, friends and health food.

Join the VIP Menopause Support Group so that you can receive weekly newsletters filled with menopause support as well as education within the group.

Have you taken the Menopause Assessment?

The first step in connecting you with your care provider.