10 Tips for Managing Holiday Cravings!

This time of year can be very stressful for many…expectations and demands mixed with the abundance of food everywhere often raise levels of overwhelm and discomfort, especially for a compulsive overeater.Problematic Eaters talk about just “getting through the holidays”, beating the battles of food cravings and the extra demands that seem to create levels of stress that feel unbearable.Difficult family interactions, holiday loneliness, the overwhelming amount of food everywhere and an expectation to feel “happy” and engaged in the “spirit” can trigger anxiety, frustrations… AND a trance state that leads to compulsive overeating, bingeing or other self destructive behaviours.

If you are feeling stressed about the upcoming holiday season, check out my: 10 tips for managing holiday cravings!


1. ONE HOUR AT A TIME- This is a powerful way to keep things simple and present over the holiday season. Take it one hour at a time. Don’t worry about what you are going to do at dinner time at noon, or obsess about the holiday party two days form now. Stay present and plan each hour as it comes. This works hand in hand with the powerful tool of eating every 3-4 hours to create a regular pattern of eating and avoiding the binge cycles. 2. JUST SAY NO. – Firm boundaries with friends and families over the holidays may be needed to maintain a healthy balance and a sufficient level of self care over the holidays. If you are feeling overwhelmed at a Christmas party, let the guests know you have to leave early as soon as you arrive! Plan to take breaks as needed and say NO to events that feel triggering, especially if it involves dysfunctional dynamics. There are NO should’s that are appropriate here. Taking apart the ‘stories” that are created around what is expected at this time of year can be empowering to say the least. Honour yourself- honour your body…never eat for someone else. You deserve it- this year…do it different! 3. PLAN BUT DON’T DIET- BIG difference between these two…and I offer an entire course on this concept, but for starters, make a decision that you will not be hard on yourself during this time. Decide that you are going to have a plan around what you will eat and when but allow for movement and flexibility. being PRESENT and conscious allows you to do just this. Perhaps you plan to eat a treat at a certain time of day, or decide ahead of time what you will and will not eat at an event. Be gentle, and remember that you can always come back to the present moment- regardless of what happens. No need to go to extremes if your plan falls apart. Simply notice it- like a behavioural experiment, and come back to the plan as soon as possible. 4. CROWD OUT- LOVE this! Instead of creating lists of foods that you must AVOID, make sure you include a healthy fruit or vegetable at every meal. Doing so, you crowd out the foods that are not so beneficial and the body tends to start to crave different flavours and food groups. 5. BRING SOMETHING TO SNACK ON- Plan for success! Bring along something to keep yourself occupied with at a party or event hat is something tasty you enjoy that can be your ” treat” for an evening? Instead of telling yourself you won’t eat anything at the event, bring along something that works for you! 6. TAKE SPACE– Take a break as often as necessary over the holidays. Taking a walk or removing yourself from the immediate crowd can help in bringing your attention back to the present and getting conscious again. Decide that you will do whatever it takes to stay present and in self care wherever you are! 7. CARRY WATER- Having a glass of hot water and lemon on hand is very helpful- or a water bottle if that works. Drink more water than you are used to drinking. It keeps your hands busy and your body full! 8. MINDFUL BREATH- Deep belly breathing is not only a powerful tool in stabilizing the nervous system, but it also changes your thinking as it brings the attention back to the present where awareness and conscious thought can take place. Set your timer on your phone to practice mindful belly breathing throughout the day and evening. This is a 3 part breath that starts at the bottom of the belly, moves into the ribcage, then the throat..rather that a shallow throat breath. 9. TEA!- Tea is a wonderful dessert option. Pack tasty teas in your bags for parties and always have it available in your home. Adding milk/almond milk and stevia/honey is an option also! 10. RE-DIRECT YOUR THINKING-When you catch yourself falling into negative thinking, take space and begin to question your thoughts. Is this thought true? Am I really stuck here? Even though I have gone off course with food today, does this really mean I have failed or can I decide that I am in a learning curve and simply stat over each moment. What can I do to shift things here?…Then- take that action! Maybe its calling a friend, taking space, or setting a boundary.

We are launching a new online program for Problematic Eaters in January which is already filling up, for more information contact Shelley at : shelley@emergingjewel.com for a complimentary session to see if its a fit for you- freedom starts now!

Health Professionals, Stay tune for updated programs in the new year, and for discounts, contact me before Dec 30th, 2015!

merry merry Have a wonderful Holiday Season, from my heart to yours!

Wellnessfranki durbin