Emotional Eating at the Holidays – Don’t Let it Derail Your Low Carb Lifestyle
For many of us, the holidays can be fun but also stressful as our to-do list gets longer and we try to make everything ‘perfect’ for our loved ones. This kind of stress can lead to bad food choices if we are not careful.
Sticking to a low carb lifestyle can be tough at the best of times. You might often feel like you are swimming against the tide and not allowed to ever eat like a ‘normal person’ again. At the holidays, you might also feel miserably deprived, like you are missing out on all your favorite foods. Even worse, you might think there is no way you can stick to your low carb diet when there is so much pressure on you and food everywhere, so you give into temptation.
All of us experience a range of emotions related to the holidays, from excitement to depression. If we had a happy childhood, we will be excited and possibly nostalgic as well. We might think we have to eat certain meals or dishes because it is traditional and everyone in the family expects them. The childlike wonder of the holidays can also lead to us eating like a child, without a thought for the consequences. This is not surprising. After all, most of us never had to worry about watching our weight when we were kids.
We might also feel depressed or stressed if we do not have happy associations with the holidays, or if difficult friends or relatives will be at our home or family gatherings. We might feel self-conscious about our weight, life, cooking skills and even what we eat, thanks to the critical glare of your annoying auntie or aggravating acquaintances. Even worse is the urging to, “Go on, have a little,” or clean your plate and not waste food because this is what we are trained to do.
Add to this the stress of shopping, cleaning and preparing everything for the holidays while working full-time and possibly experiencing money worries over how you will be able to pay for all the food, drinks, gifts and so on, and you will be in dire danger of giving in to emotional eating.
With food all round us at the holidays, in the office or school, at parties and so on, it will be all too easy to grab the first tasty thing that comes to hand, even if it is not low carb. You might thing a couple of cookies or some mashed potatoes won’t make a difference, but if you have been on the Induction or Balancing phases of Atkins, for example, you might eat your entire daily carb allowance in just a few bites if you are not careful.
If you find the holidays stressful or know you reach for food whenever you have an emotional issue, it is time to cut the link between mood and food. A low carb lifestyle can actually help with this because it relies on high protein foods that can help you feel full and reduce food cravings. Reduced food cravings mean you will be a lot less likely to give in to uncontrollable eating.
A low carb lifestyle can be tough at the holidays, but researching low carb recipes, cooking them in advance and loading your freezer will enable you to stick to your low carb lifestyle and always have something handy to eat on hand no matter what the occasion.
Using low carb snack bars and candy such as in the Atkins range will also allow you to have something sweet without reaching for unhealthy holiday treats. Plan ahead for the holidays and emotional eating triggers and see what a difference it can make to your low carb weight loss goals.