You just ate everything you said you wouldn’t eat at the holiday office party or ate half of the cookies you just baked for your neighbors. It feels like you are spiraling out of control and that you are going crazy. You are panicked that you are gaining weight but have decided there is nothing you can do about it now, so you may as well splurge until the holidays are over. You may have even started planning which diet you will start on January 2.
Does this sound like a familiar pattern? How many years have you been doing this exact same thing? Have you ever thought about trying to start over today instead of waiting for January 2. I’m not talking about going on a diet today but instead making a few small changes right now that will make a big difference in the coming weeks.
One of the reasons people tend to overeat during the holidays is that they are super stressed. Have you stopped to think about how much extra you are doing during the so called “holiday” season? I looked up the definition of “holiday”, and it clearly stated “a day of festivity or recreation when no work is done.” Have you set aside such a day (or days) for yourself to have fun and not work during this holiday season? I can hear your excuses now – “I just don’t have time or “I can’t not go to so and so’s party this year” or “I have to bake homemade cookies for all of my neighbors my son’s teachers”. It is probably normal for you to be running around trying to find the perfect gift for everyone on your list, attending every party, having the right outfit for every occasion, and making sure you always have a smile on your face (even if you aren’t happy). You might not even realize how miserable you really are and that this is causing you to overeat.
Between the overwhelming stress and the abundance of delicious treats, it’s no wonder you are bingeing or emotional eating. It’s clearly not your fault yet you are constantly berating yourself and telling yourself you should be able to have more control. There actually is something you can do to reduce your overeating now. You can empower yourself to evaluate your “should” list (“I should make homemade cookies from scratch for every teacher.” “I should attend every party.” “I should send holiday cards with handwritten notes in each one.” ) You can empower yourself to choose which events to say yes to in the coming weeks, whether you need to bake all those cookies from scratch and have them sitting around your kitchen or whether to even send holiday cards this year. You can give yourself permission to do it differently this year. Yes, it will feel weird and even uncomfortable, and you will worry about what others will think. Trust me, most of them are so busy and stressed they won’t have time to realize what you are or aren’t doing. Besides, if you are doing all this out of fear or worry about what others think of you, then you may want to look at that. This could be an underlying reason why you are so miserable inside.
You can start now by eliminating one “to do” off your list each week for the next few weeks. If this seems like an impossible task, you may want to ask for support from a friend who will validate your need to reduce your stress level. If you are ready to commit to ending this cycle and starting the new year differently, we can help you now. You can pick up the phone and schedule a time to talk with one of our compassionate therapists or coaches. Most of us have availability in the coming weeks. You will not be bothering us. In fact, we would love to know that you are giving yourself the ultimate gift of self-care.
There is hope. We can help you now. It’s time to end the cycle. Don’t wait.