How to Handle Holiday Overeating
For Immediate Release
Instead of worrying about weight gain and calories this season, Victoria , B.C. eating disorder expert Michelle Morand encourages people to enjoy the holidays guilt free as long as you know how to handle holiday overeating.
“There’s a perception that a little overindulging during the holidays is so me how dangerous. The truth is people have used food as a focal point for celebration since the dawn of time and a balanced relationship with food includes some social feasting,” says Michelle Morand, director and founder of The CEDRIC Centre.
“When we truly allow ourselves to eat as much as we’d like, of whatever we’d like, invariably, we end up eating less. So if you’re feeling especially out of control around food during the holidays, chances are food is an issue the rest of the year, too.”
What is the difference between bingeing and eating a lot at Christmas?
“I get asked that a lot,” Morand acknowledges. “The difference lies in how you feel afterwards: accepting and relaxed, or guilty and shameful? How often do you engage in overeating? If you overeat occasionally and can return to your normal eating patterns right away without guilt, then you’re probably experiencing a balanced relationship with food.” On the other hand, “If you’re eating consistently when you’re not hungry, and feel guilty and shameful afterwards, you’re likely experiencing disordered eating.”
With increased family expectations, more responsibilities, and increased spending it’s only natural to feel stressed at this time of year. “During times of stress, people turn to food, drugs, alcohol, and/or chemical substances to cope with their stress,” says Morand. “These coping strategies remain very popular for an obvious reason: they work, at least in the short run. But using overeating as a coping mechanism prevents us from learning how to deal with the true causes of our problems. As a result, we get trapped in a dependence upon overeating, especially during high stress times, such as the holidays.”
It’s Good to Know How to Handle Holiday Overeating
The cure for overeating? “Ironically it’s the last thing most people would ever dream of,” says Morand. “Successful treatment of all eating disorders involves looking at the root issues, finding new, healthier and life enhancing ways of coping, and allowing ourselves to eat, without guilt or shame .”
The CEDRIC, (Community Eating Disorder and Related Issues Counselling), Centre specializes in the treatment of clinical eating disorders, sub-clinical disordered eating patterns, and related issues such as anxiety, depression, and distorted body image. Their counsellors provide bodywork, group, and individual counselling, as well as community outreach presentations for schools, educators, and health professionals. All of The CEDRIC Centre’s counsellors have long standing recovery from an eating disorder, and are proud to have facilitated the recovery of hundreds of men and women in Victoria , BC and beyond.
The CEDRIC Centre’s Holiday Stress Helper
- Create Realistic Expectations-don’t try to make this the “Perfect Holiday.”
- Learn to say no to extra obligations.
- Allow yourself to enjoy every bite-without guilt. Remember that all binges stem from feelings of restriction.
- Create a budget for gift spending-you are entitled to be financially secure.
- Ask for help when you feel overwhelmed.
- Spend ti me only with those who respect you and with whom you feel safe.
- Visualize how you’d like to feel during the holidays- peaceful, relaxed, etc. What needs to happen and what do you need to do to make that happen?