5 Ways To Prevent Stress Eating During the Holidays

5 Ways to Prevent Stress Eating During the Holidays

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Who ate all the cookies?!!!


Week 2 of the holiday season and you can feel the frustration and stress of the people around you. The closer the calendar gets to Christmas Day, the more frustration you’ll experience; either for yourself or in others.


Have you noticed an increase in frustration and stress in your own life recently?


Anxiousness just hangs in the air. We’re so busy we can’t enjoy the holidays and that brings on more stress and frustration.


Where’s all that joy and wonderfulness of the season? 🎄🎁


My “The Not So Perfect Christmas” challenge ended this week and during the challenge we discussed how we allow different situations to invade our emotional well-being and cause us to become stressed. Even if you love everything about the holidays – family get-togethers, holiday shopping, hosting relatives, and all the parties and events that are part of the season; you can become overwhelmed and an emotional basket case.


Often we have a tendency to turn to food when we’re stressed and frustrated. At this time of year it’s easy to find yourself eating an entire tray of cookies 🍪 or a tin of party mix 👀 without a thought (I can actually eat two tins of party mix – UGH).


Then, when reality hits, you beat yourself up for giving in and sabotaging your health goals. We all know that the average weight gain during the holidays is 7 pounds. That’s about 2 pounds a week for the month of December. I would venture to say, that most of that weight comes from stress eating.


If you find yourself stressed and frustrated during the holidays and heading toward the cookie jar or candy tin, let me share my 5 ways to stop the stress eating before you get started. None of us want to arrive at the end of December and not being able to fit into our favorite jeans.


Here’s my 5 ways to overcome stress eating…..


Be active

You have to love your family – right? I didn’t hear you – right?

It seems that when you pile all those lovely family members in one room someone is going to say something that will set you on fire.

You knew it was bound to happen, so rather than grab a knife – I mean cookie – get outside in the fresh air for a walk, hit the gym, chase your kids in the yard, or just do something physical that appeals to you (no you can’t hit your brother).

You’ll release that pent up stress and the exercise will help release the proper chemicals in your brain to make you feel better. I’m not kidding, this really works.


Workout your mind

Now that everyone has gone home, or you’ve gone home, don’t dwell on all the negative you heard or experienced during the day. Instead of letting all your negative feelings take control and drive you to eating ‘til midnight, give your brain something constructive to do.

Take 10 to 20 minutes to yourself to read something you want to read, work on a crossword puzzle or do something else that stimulates your mind in an enjoyable way. It will help you feel refreshed and will conquer those negative feelings.  


Focus on healthy eating

While it’s true that the holidays are certainly a time for more indulgent meals, let’s focus on your healthy eating prior to the big family dinners, it won’t be such a shock to your waistline.

Make sure you’re eating meals as you would normally without skipping them. If you starve yourself all day because your job or your family (or both!) is making you nuts, you’re more prone to stuffing yourself at dinner with things that aren’t very healthful.  We’ll discuss this more next week.


Practice moderation

Look around your kitchen and dining area – is there food everywhere? Cookies, candy, cakes, pies, breads, and the list just keeps growing. I enjoy eating my share, as I’m sure you do, but we need to be mindful of what we’re doing. Eating all of them isn’t going to do us any good.

Stress eating usually hits without any warning. With all of those goodies sitting around, we’re just prone to start eating. You’ll need to be mindful of what you’re doing and practice moderation.

This is a practice you’ll need as you visit with others and goodies galore are everywhere. Decide which of those goodies you enjoy the most and focus on eating a small serving. I’ve learned that you can take 3 bites and be satisfied, which means I don’t need the entire slice of cake or pie. I’ll get smaller amounts of a few of my favorites and let that satisfy me.


Forgive yourself


In fact, if you’ll take deep relaxing breaths prior to heading to the cookie jar, you may not want any cookies. But, no one is perfect, so if you find you’ve caved in to peer pressure at work and ate treats you promised yourself you wouldn’t, or ate way too much at the family holiday dinner, forgive yourself and move on.

Follow the 80/20 rule; which means to eat healthy at least 80% of the time and give yourself permission to eat off plan 20% of the time. Just make the next thing you eat healthy and get moving on your exercise.



Holiday stress and frustration does not need to ruin your holiday or your health habits. Stay strong and keep your head up because that is the key to getting through the stress of the holiday season.


Sweet Orange Oil to Promote Happiness


Essential oils are wonderful at relieving stress.

Sweet Orange essential oil has a wonderful scent and is used to promote feelings of joy and happiness.

Put a few drops in your diffuser to scent your rooms. 

Blend a few drops in your favorite carrier oil and pour into a roller ball bottle. Keep bottle handy and, when you feel the pressure mounting, use your roller ball to massage the oil on the back of you neck, behind your ears, and on your wrists.


I buy my essential oils from Palmetto Grace Oils  (I’m not an affiliate of Palmetto Grace Oils or Doterra).


Join us in our members Facebook Group Healthy Living for Life and share your tips for surviving holiday stress.


Contact me at terri@balancedhealthandyou.com when you’re ready to schedule your strategy session to discuss your health goals. 

5 Ways to Prevent Stress Eating During the Holidays at www.balancedhealthandyou.com