Control Emotional and Stress-Induced Eating this Holiday Season

Author of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Hormone Weight Loss, Alicia Stanton, MD, offers tips to reduce emotional eating

Enfield, Conn. (November 1, 2011) – The holiday season is meant to be a time of joy, but for some it can be stressful. There’s so much to do and never enough time to do it, and money is tighter than ever for many people. It’s enough to stress out even the calmest personalities and trigger emotional eating. To avoid this annual trap, Alicia Stanton, MD, leading hormone health expert and author of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Hormone Weight Loss, provides some tips to regain control of eating habits and manage stress during the holidays.

“Stress wreaks havoc on our cortisol and insulin levels, which is why during stressful times our bodies crave sweet and starchy foods,” said Stanton. “People who are normally restrained eaters are more likely than others to eat more during times of stress. Stress eating is a way to soothe or suppress negative emotions, but it can really derail weight loss efforts.”

Dr. Stanton offers these tips for combating stress eating:

  • Tame your stress – if stress contributes to your emotional eating, try a stress management technique like yoga, meditation, etc.
  • Check to see whether you’re really hungry – Is your hunger physical or emotional? If you ate recently and your stomach is rumbling then you’re probably not really hungry. Give the craving a little time to pass.
  • Keep a food diary – Writing down what you eat, when you eat, how much you eat and how you’re feeling when you eat, may show a pattern over time revealing your connection between mood and food.
  • Get support – You’re more likely to give in to emotional eating if you lack a good support network. Lean on family and friends or join a support group.
  • Remove temptation – Don’t keep supplies of comfort foods in your home if they’re hard to resist. And if you are feeling stressed or sad, postpone your trip to the grocery store until you’re sure that you have your emotions in check.
  • Don’t deprive yourself – Let yourself enjoy an occasional, small treat to help curb cravings.
  • Get enough sleep – If you’ve tried self-help options, but still can’t get control of emotional eating, consider therapy with a professional mental health provider.