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Managing Food Stress During the Holidays

The holidays are here everyone... 2020 is almost over! (finally!!!)  


It is a time of joy, loved ones, and for some of us, anxiety.  It could involve finding the perfect gift or the best holiday outfit, but the one I’ve been struggling the most with is eating. 


Back when we were able to have gatherings of more than 10 people, holiday parties were the best! Everyone got together and came from all different places to have fun and catch up on what has happened since the last party. And then you sit down for dinner. Maybe your aunt makes a comment about how you look, “oh you’ve gotten so big!” Or you hear one of your friends talking about how they lost 20 pounds in two months. Maybe you get told to “slow down” while eating. 


Cue the anxiety. 


Building a healthy relationship with food is hard enough as it is. But the holidays and eating in front of others can sometimes trigger us to fall back into old habits. 


“What if they think I’m eating too much?”  

“I’m still hungry but I’m too anxious to get seconds” 

“I could run a whole mile and I still wouldn’t burn off this dessert” 


These thoughts constantly run through my head, and to get reminded of them by someone else making a comment about how much is on my plate, just proves my point.  


To help navigate your way through the holiday gatherings with minimal food stress, here are some tips.  


To avoid stress or social anxiety eating, try keeping the appetizers in a different space than socializing. Sometimes while you are in a conversation and the chips and dip are right there and hard to resist.  


Another reminder is to make sure you eat in the morning! Just because you are having a big dinner does not mean you should skip any of your regular meals the day of, before, or after.  


When it comes to preparing your plate, grab the food that you enjoy eating, and what makes you feel good. You deserve to eat.  


Don’t compare your plate to your friends, parents, siblings, or some person on a crazy diet. Everyone’s needs are different.  


One thing that I have been trying to get fixed in my brain is that you don’t need to work out to earn your food. You don’t need to double up on cardio the day after Christmas. Try to adjust your mindset of feeling guilty about eating, to focusing on how enjoyable the party or dinner was with the people around you.  


It’s ok to say no. If you feel uncomfortable in a conversation or see posts that you know hurt your mental health, leave, unfollow, do anything you need to do to make yourself feel better.


Self-care, self-care, self-care. You cannot do enough of it. To help cope with anxiety or stress, find something that you enjoy doing, anything that makes you feel like yourself again. 


Finally, eat dessert. We all have that one dessert we can’t resist. And why should we? If it makes me happy, I’m going to eat it. Do you really think that one slice of cake is going to matter 5 years from now?  


Love yourself and your body, it’s the only one we get. 

Business Major & MJD Minor Member of Women's Volleyball and Hope Happens Here
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