Emotional Eating During the Holidays

How to Avoid The Diet-Binge Cycle

Tis’ the season – the season of mounting obligations, socializing and added stress from all directions. If you’ve ever engaged in the diet-binge cycle, the holidays are a time when you can easily detach from your body and eat emotionally.


It’s important to note that emotional eating is not inherently wrong. Many people choose to eat certain foods for nostalgic reasons, especially this time of year.  But I believe behaviour becomes problematic when it’s numbing a need that goes unmet. It soothes distress in the immediate moment but does not support you in the long-term.


To be clear – the goal is not to try and avoid food. This only adds momentum to the destructive diet-binge cycle. So know that if you eat while also trying new non-food coping tools, you’re still moving in a positive direction. Every eating experience holds information to learn and grow from.


The goal is to connect more deeply to what you truly need, experiment with different coping tools and discover what feels most helpful for you. If the holidays have been a challenging time for your wellness in the past, I invite you to take a moment before all the hoopla begins. Use this opportunity to pause, reflect and plan ahead.


Ask yourself: what would it mean to have a happy, nourishing holiday season?


Eating habits

  • Ensure you’re eating enough and consistently throughout the day.

  • Make a list of simple and satisfying snack and meal options. Prepare to have them on-hand or organize a pick-up/delivery when your schedule starts to fill up.

  • You can find a list of balanced snack ideas on my website: http://www.clairelegresleyrhn.com/free-resources/



  • Pay attention to your needs.

  • Check-in with yourself regularly – set a timer on your phone/computer that reminds you to check-in. It might prompt you to ask: What am I feeling? What do I need?

  • When you start to feel depleted – rest, say no, exercise, journal, meditate, carve out some quiet alone time.



  • Give yourself permission to enjoy and savour the tastes of the season.

  • Reflect on the foods that provide pleasure. Make a point of including them when you’re able to give them your full attention.

  • Be sure to take delight in every bite!


Give yourself the gift of taking care of yourself this holiday season


The holidays can be both a magical and emotional time for many people. Remember to take it day by day. Connect with loved ones and spend time outside.


If at any point you feel as though you haven’t made supportive food choices or you’ve let yourself down, be gentle with yourself. The most important gift you can give is self-compassion this holiday season.


Claire LeGresley is here to help you rediscover your relationship with food. No experience required, we start where you are. For more information, please visit www.clairelegresleyrhn.com

Categories: Nourished