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3 Tips to Avoid Stress Eating During the Holidays

When I read on the Three60fit Facebook page that the average American gains 7 - 10lbs between Thanksgiving and Christmas, my jaw dropped… until I realized how much sense that actually makes.

I believe the two biggest culprits are stress and access.

Many of us have a lot of responsibilities to others during the holiday season. Many who have lost loved ones struggle to cope emotionally during this time. Not to mention all the shopping, planning, and traveling while still balancing the day-to-day activities of normal life.

When you combine this stress with access to instantly gratifying coping mechanisms - from the pounds of Halloween candy, to the pumpkin-flavored everything, culminating with the Christmas cookie extravaganzas?

Yeah… 7 - 10lbs sounds about right!

So with the stress that inevitably comes with the holidays and the easy access to all the delicious treats, I want to share 3 tips to avoid stress eating during the holidays.

Tip #1- Fuel Your Body Properly

If you read my last blog post, then you know that there are certain types of foods that elevate our mood hormones. During stress, these foods can give us just the emotional boost we need to cope.

During periods of stress, your body’s hunger and craving signals start to blend, confusing your body’s need for fuel with the need for an emotional pick-me-up.

What does this confusion look like? It looks like sitting down to have a balanced meal then eating two pounds of Halloween candy afterwards. Or having a craving for potato chips, and getting half-way thru the party-sized bag before realizing that you were actually hungry and needed real food.

So during the holiday season, it’s really important to focus on fueling your body properly.

Healthy meals that satisfy hunger include lean proteins, fibrous vegetables, and plenty of water. Then to enhance the satiety factor in your meals, be sure to add a little healthy fat and complex carbohydrates to your plate.

Tip #2 - Schedule Some Time to Relax

By the time you become aware of the fact that you’re stressed, it’s too late. Your body is already in panic mode and has begun the search for something to help you cope.

So when it comes to holiday stress, the best defense is an excellent offense.

Get ahead of the impact of stress by scheduling some rest and relaxation time into your week. And by rest, I don’t mean lounging on the couch binging on Netflix. Resting means participating in relaxing activities that have been scientifically proven to lower cortisol.

Some of these activities include leisure walking, restorative yoga, prayer/meditation, journaling, bubble baths, physical intimacy, and massages.

If you intentionally create a weekly rest and relaxation schedule from now until Christmas, then when you begin to experience stress, your body will start to crave the rest to cope instead of the cookies!

If you intentionally create a weekly rest and relaxation schedule from now until Christmas, then when you begin to experience stress, your body will start to crave the rest to cope instead of the cookies!

Tip #3 - Indulge in Premium-Quality Cheats Only

Be honest… how many times have you shoveled something into your mouth and then asked yourself, “Why did I just eat that?”

The holidays are a notorious season for eating a lot of foods and treats you don’t need - and most times even want - simply because they’re there.

Not this year, satan.

Instead of turning this into a season of eating any and every delicious thing that you have access to, write down your top three absolute favorite cheats, and commit to only having those this season.

These cheats could be foods or treats that you have been looking forward to all year, like Grandma’s seven-secret-spice pumpkin pie.

Choosing to indulge in only premium-quality cheats will escalate your standards, placing boundaries around every treat you can get your hands on, and allow you to actually appreciate your treat without spiraling out of control!

The holidays are about gratitude, love, and togetherness. If you implement these 3 tips, then not only can you prevent stress eating this year, but you can also be more attentive to what is truly important.

Happy Holidays!

Lynee Urban


Lynee is one of our favorite guest bloggers. She is a nutrition and lifestyle coach with years of experience helping her clients live a more balanced and healty life. Check out her social media accounts and website for tons of great content. Want to work with Lynee? Contact her to schedule a consultation.

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