This time of year is full of opportunities for food to be in our faces (literally and figuratively). I find it is the time when we can feel out of control with food, because of all the company parties, family get togethers, candy bowls and the special holiday food. These situations can lead us to think elf-on-the-shelfwe are doomed to overeat.

This can be a great time to look at how stress can lead to overeating during the holidays, so you can learn how to stop it. There is so much to do and seemingly not enough time. It can also be a time of loneliness and sadness. Everything is quicker, faster and last minute this and that as well as opportunities to buy, buy, buy.

Stress is actually a catch all word for many different emotions, such as overwhelm, frustration, sadness, anxiety, worry, excitement and loneliness. There can be lots of feelings tied up in “stress.” These feelings are what can lead us to overeat which is really emotional eating (eating for reasons other than hunger).

These feelings can be lessened by using some tried and true strategies. These strategies, if used, can stop the holiday cravings that can come on this time of year.

  1. Self-Care- this is always the premier way to lessen food cravings of any kind. Cravings often show up when we are not taking care of ourselves. I suggest you engage in a form of self-care at least once a day. It is easiest to do when you make out a list of what is self-care for YOU. Not what others think, but what you think. The more you nurture yourself properly the less you desire to nurture yourself with food. Some items on my self-care list are: walking, exercise, writing, reading and talking to a friend. What is on your list?
  2. Self-Talk- what do you say to yourself? Are you putting yourself down? Negative self-talk sabotages your success, especially with food. Notice if you are saying, I’m fat, I’m ugly, I can’t, I’m stupid or any other negative self-statement. Change this inner voice into more positive statements, like I am kind, I am helpful, I look better and better every day.
  3. Say NO! Set limits on your holiday time and plan to do what feeds you. Often we are doing what others want and not what we want. Make a decision to be honest with yourself and say no to what does not serve you (time, people and situations).

Notice if there are situations this holiday that you are calling stressful. Challenge yourself to make this holiday about you and what you need and see how it helps you keep those holiday cravings away. Chose to practice more and more self-care, more positive self-talk and say no to what you do not want to do.

What are you doing to lessen the stress around you? I would love to hear what you have to say in the comments.


Kim McLaughlin, MA is a Counselor and Motivational Coach who specializes in working with people who suffer from binge eating and emotional eating. She is a Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor.  Kim is the author of the Amazon #1 Best Selling book Discovery Your Inspiration.

Kim McLaughlin has been identified as writing one of the Top 50 Blogs about Emotional Eating by the Institute on Emotional Eating. Sign up for her free Special Report: Top Strategies to End Emotional Eating here or visit her website at www.FeedYourSoulUnlimited.com.