Christmas is a special time of year. The music is joyful, the sights are pretty, and the mood is bright. Everyone is looking forward to presents, treats and celebrations. But for some of us, Christmas is also a really tricky time of year to navigate.

Sugar and fat-filled treats are everywhere: from supermarket aisles, coffee shop festive menus and celebratory work buffets. You want to join in the fun, but are anxious about how to keep your goals in mind and your progress in check. You’ve worked hard to set new intentions and overcome bad habits; you don’t want Christmas to undo all the positive steps you’ve made.

So how do you stop binge eating over Christmas? We have the dos and don’ts of festive feasting to help you!

What You Should Do To Stop Binge Eating Over Christmas

Create A Support System

As part of your progress so far, you’ve no doubt established a support person or group to help you stay on track with your eating habits. It’s vital you use this support at this tempting time of year.

Ask your support person or group to help you by establishing when and how they can be there for you. Perhaps they can attend parties with you, or be on the phone when you’re about to give in to the chocolate log and eggnog. You need people around who can give you their time, encouragement and honesty. Choose people, if you haven’t already, who will hold you accountable rather than tell you what you want to hear. You need key supporters to be kind but firm with you, to remind you to stay disciplined and focused at your weak points.

It’s essential that you feel encouraged and emotionally supported, so surround yourself with positive and affirming people as much as possible. These are your tribe who will lift you up when you’re feeling low, help you to stay focused on your goals, and remind you you’re not alone.

Have A Plan

The secret to all successful missions is a plan. With a plan, you’ll feel more confident and less stressed about how you’ll stop binge eating over Christmas – allowing you to enjoy this season as you should.

Decide which events you can and can’t handle. This may depend on many factors such as the other people attending, and the type of menu on offer. These decisions will be influenced by your personal triggers. You need to know what your weaknesses are, and what is more likely to tempt you into making poor choices. Your weakness may be feelings of inadequacy, which can be triggered when in the company of certain people. Perhaps buffets are too difficult to resist, but a preselected meal is more comfortable.

On-the-spot choices can also rush us into poor decisions, so reduce the likelihood of that happening by deciding your limits beforehand. Plan how many drinks you will have and the portion sizes that fit in with your healthy eating program. Maybe you will plan to avoid all desserts but allow yourself an extra plate of crudites instead. Whatever you decide, the key is to make your plans suit you, and stick to them.

Eat Mindfully

With all the delicious Christmas snacks and treats at our fingertips, it’s particularly crucial that we stay mindful when eating over the festive period. Avoid scenarios where you’re more likely to munch without noticing:

Do not eat snacks with Christmas TV shows, or you’re likely to find the bottom of the chocolate box before the credits roll. If you really want to enjoy a snack with your favourite show, be sure to prepare them beforehand; portion out the more luxurious treats so you only have a few, and make yourself some healthy snacks to bite into alongside them. This way you can still enjoy food with a film without sabotaging your healthy gains.

Likewise, always prepare healthy easy-to-eat snacks to have with you when you’re on the go. Stressful Christmas shopping is often relieved with a quick stop at the coffee shop, and the calorific treats in the display cabinet are hard to ignore. However, if you have a stash of homemade oat bars or cinnamon-dusted nuts with you, you’re less likely to give in. The same is true for your workplace at this time of year. Colleagues often bring in chocolate-covered some-things to share, so always have an alternative snack with you to stave off hunger and help you stay on track.

The Do-Nots To Stop Binge Eating Over Christmas

Get Distracted

With the fun and excitement of Christmas, it’s easy to disregard our healthy eating plans. However, once we get distracted and start to make bad choices, we can too easily fall back into bad habits that will take a lot of time and effort to put right.

Continue to eat plenty of fruit, vegetables and healthy snacks to keep you full. By maintaining your healthy eating habits, there will be less room for unhealthy temptations and you’ll find it easier to make good choices.

Ensure your meals and snacks are full of variety and flavour to stimulate your taste buds and remove any feelings you might have of deprivation that could lead you astray.

Get Stressed

There’s no getting away from it – it can be a very stressful time of year. If you can avoid getting overwhelmed you’ll be in a much better emotional state to stay self-disciplined with your eating. So recognise your limits and give yourself time to decompress without using food to placate your negative feelings. Call your support people, put on some music and dance, or go for a brisk walk. Do more of whatever makes you feel good!

Feel Guilty

If you do slip-up or make a few bad choices, do not beat yourself up about it. Those negative emotions can quickly spiral downwards. Feeling bad about yourself will only make it more likely that you’ll succumb to poor choices.

If you get off track, recognise what went wrong and why then dust yourself off. Healthy eating is a life change, and there will be many bumps along the way. Learn from your mistake and understand that it simply helps you build resilience and avoid the same mistake next time. Stay positive and determined to do your best.

Give Up

Whatever happens this Christmas, do not give up! It’s the most difficult time of year to stay focused on healthy habits and resist all the yummy treats.

Put things in place to support you with your healthy intentions such as support people, plans and healthy snacks to prevent hunger and fatigue. But if you do wander from your goals, don’t give up on yourself.

Keep going and stay focused, you’ve got this.