How to Avoid Binge Eating During the Holidays

While we certainly agree that it’s the most wonderful time of the year, we also know that it’s often the most challenging time of the year when it comes to watching your weight and eating mindfully. There are cocktail parties, delicious baked goods, family gatherings with huge buffet spreads, cozy movie night snacks, and high-calorie warm beverages. And it’s all so fun, it’s hard to turn down. So, how to avoid binge eating?


Restricting what you eat is no fun (not to mention it’s usually unsuccessful), and binge eating isn’t fun either. We don’t advocate skipping a social event to avoid temptation. What makes the holidays special are the people you spend them with, not necessarily the dessert tray or buffet table. 


We’ve put together some tips on how to avoid binge eating this holiday season that we hope will help you enjoy the holidays guilt-free! 


What Is Binge Eating?

Put simply, binge eating means mindlessly eating or snacking despite not being hungry, which is incredibly challenging during the holiday season. So many holiday festivities are centered around food. It’s easy to just “graze” while loved ones open presents or you’re making your favorite holiday crafts, not to mention the bonding time that is spent right there in the kitchen!


Tips on How to Avoid Binge Eating


1. Eat breakfast every day

Studies have proven that beginning your day with a healthy breakfast reduces the chances of binge eating later in the day. Having an established, regular eating pattern lowers ghrelin levels, the hormone that stimulates feelings of hunger. 


We especially recommend making that consistent breakfast be protein and fiber-rich foods, like oatmeal, fruits, or whole grains. 


2. Avoid skipping meals

We understand the temptation to skip lunch or breakfast when you know you will have a big, festive meal later in the day. But that’s counterintuitive when trying to avoid binge eating. When you skip a meal, you can contribute to negative cravings, leading to overeating. 


3. Eat until you are satisfied, not stuffed.

In a large buffet situation, we recommend surveying all of the options before you begin loading up your plate. This will help you select the foods that interest you and not just weigh down your plate as you discover the options on the go.


Eat slowly. Experts say it takes about twenty minutes for our brain to perceive that our stomachs are full, so small portions gradually allow us time to realize we are full and to know when to stop eating. 


4. Stay hydrated

There is never a downside to being well-hydrated – unfortunately, cocktails don’t count! 


Drinking 13-17 ounces of water a half hour before a meal can significantly decrease hunger and curb cravings, ultimately lowering calorie intake.  


Healthline recently published an article about the benefits of drinking water, and their last point addressed water and weight loss. They cited a study in which dieters who drank 17 ounces of water before meals lost 44% more weight over 12 weeks than dieters who did not. While dieting is not the topic at hand, it does show a direct correlation between consuming water before a meal and consuming fewer calories. 


Be Your Best This Holiday Season

The holidays can be a very joyful but also stressful and triggering time for many. With these tips on how to avoid binge eating, we hope that the quintessential large holiday meals can be something that you look forward to rather than dread or feel guilty about later. For more tips on how to enjoy the holidays in good health, visit the Healthy Lifestyles section of the Scripps Affiliated Medical Group’s website.

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