Dec. 9. 2022
Mindful Eating
Written By:
McKel (Hill) Kooienga
McKel Hill Kooienga, MS, RDN, LDN

McKel Hill Kooienga, MS, RDN, LDN

Founder of Nutrition Stripped and the Mindful Nutrition Method™

Do you often find yourself overeating during the holidays? If so, you’re not alone, and we can help. Keep reading to learn how to stop overeating during the holidays.

The holidays come around every year, and with them comes an influx of emotions. Some are exciting and nostalgic, while others are more overwhelming and stressful. Because of this, navigating food and nutrition during this time can be particularly difficult. 

This year, by simply implementing a few tips and tricks from a registered dietitian, you can set yourself up for success and avoid overeating this holiday season. 

Overeating During the Holidays 

So why does it happen? In actuality, there are quite a few reasons. The holidays generally call for celebration, and the celebration usually means social gatherings. And what do we often find at social gatherings? Food!

Additionally, there are usually nostalgic traditions that the holidays bring about as well, which are often built around food. Maybe it’s a certain grocery store’s seasonal baking mix or your grandmother’s holiday cookies. Either way, it’s safe to say the holidays and food go hand and hand. 

The overeating side of things comes into play here when we mix these two factors with scarcity and mindlessness. So let’s chat about how to prevent scarcity and mindlessness from taking over so you can stop overeating during the holidays. 

5 Tips to Stop Overeating During the Holidays

Start by implementing the following 5 tips this holiday season so you can prevent overeating. 

Enjoy Your Holiday Favorites Mindfully 

No matter where you are during the holiday season, there will always be lackluster holiday treats and dishes around. Whether it’s the stale sugar cookies in the work breakroom or the mediocre bread pudding your aunt insists on making every year. Yet at the same time, there will also always be those delicious, incredible treats and dishes you can’t wait to have.

The first key to navigating the holidays and preventing overeating is to mindfully savor the holiday food items that you actually enjoy. Seek out the food items you look forward to every year, and leave the rest behind.

There’s no need to pick up that stale cookie that you know you don’t want or to feel pressured by your aunt to have some of that bread pudding. Stick to what you enjoy, and leave the rest behind. This is one of the best ways to stop overeating during the holidays. 

Don’t Let Scarcity Take Over

Now that we know we’re only going to eat the food items we really want, we have to talk about the scarcity mindset. The scarcity mindset is what tells us that we must eat as much as we possibly can right now because we’re not going to have access to it again for a long time. 

The outcome? You’re left feeling overly full, and most likely stressed or overwhelmed as a result. Reget settles in, and you can’t believe you ended up overeating during the holidays again. 

First of all, we’ve all been there. It’s human and it’s normal! But I’m going to give you a quick tip to help prevent this from happening again this year. When you’re enjoying those holiday sweet treats and savory dishes, remind yourself that they’ll come back. The holidays come every year, and you get to enjoy them every year. Additionally, you can always make them outside of the holiday season if you really love them! Get that recipe from your friend or family member, or learn how to make something similar that the grocery store provides. 

The more you can call out and prepare for the scarcity mindset, the more in control you’ll feel around food. That way, you can stop overeating during the holidays. 

Find a Balance Between Nourishment and Enjoyment

Due to the increase in holiday social gatherings, it’s easy to lean pretty far into the enjoyment side of things at this time of year. It’s often completely unintentional! Before we know it the holiday season is over and we realize just how much we overeat and indulge in those enjoyment-based foods. 

To stop overeating during the holidays, lead with mindfulness and intention. To do this, you can use Nutrition Stripped’s Balance Spectrum. There are two halves of the spectrum, one representing nourishment while the other representing enjoyment. In the middle, we have a balance between the two. 

Use this visual to check in with yourself. Are you spending too much time on the enjoyment half of the spectrum? If so, how can you pull yourself back to the center of the spectrum, or a bit over to the nourishment half of the spectrum? Prioritize a balance between the two from the get-go, rather than prioritizing one or the other.

Never Leave Go to a Party with an Empty Stomach

This one goes for all social gatherings year-round, honesty. How many times have you said to yourself, “I’m not eating all day because I really want to enjoy myself at this dinner.”?

If this is a frequent sentiment for you, then I’m willing to bet you’re also familiar with the overly full, uncomfortable, stress-inducing sensation you experience after the meal you had or social gathering you attended. 

Fasting leads to extreme hunger, which leads to overeating. To stop overeating during the holidays this year, try ensuring well-nourished prior to the gathering or meal. Conduct your day just as you would any other day! That way, you’ll still be hungry and will enjoy yourself, but you won’t feel so famished that you’re forced to overeat. 

Take Some Time to Manage Stress

The holidays are busy, stressful, and a bit chaotic honestly. Don’t get me wrong, I’m absolutely in love with the holiday season! But that certainly doesn’t negate the fact that they can be a bit much. Oftentimes, overeating is just a result of mindlessness because we’re simply trying to get through the holiday season with our sanity intact.

Try and implement some active stress management. Journal through your thoughts, meditate with some headphones in, or do a quick yoga flow. Managing stress manages stress eating, which in turn reduces overeating. 

The Takeaway

Introduce mindfulness, enjoy your favorites, toss in a bit of stress management, and nourish yourself as you always do, and you’ll break the cycle of overeating during the holidays! As always, take these tips slowly. Try out one at a time, see how it goes, make it your own, and move on to the next one. 

Don’t forget to let us know how it goes by tagging us on social media!

Do You Want to Experience More Balance with your Food Choices?

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