The Psychology Behind Holiday Hunger?

So I was asking myself the other day how was I going to handle all the food I will encounter today. It’s Thanksgiving after all, and food will be everywhere. I have extra insulin with me, but I have been down this road before. Feeling good while eating the food but sick later on into tomorrow. I’ve played this tape countless times, and the outcome never changes I only end up feeling guilty and sad in the end.

Why do we do it? The first thought I had, was it culture or family dynamics? I ruled both out as an excuse. ‘Cause no one forces you to eat or will care what you eat or don’t eat.

If they do, are they thinking about your health or needs? You might hear “I spent all that time cooking…” or “After I slaved over that hot stove…” So you might end up feeling guilty over someone else’s choice to cook. It was their choice to cook, not yours.

Whether you give in or not, you might feel angry or frustrated.

Angry or Frustrated!
For some, it is all food! The craving to eat causes the overeating or eating when one is not hungry.

Back to holiday/emotional eating! Most people eat when emotional. The emotion doesn’t matter really. Happy, Sad, Angry or Frustrated it is all the same when it comes to eating. There is a tendency to eat when one is not hungry because of their emotions or even to avoid a feeling. The feeling of being left out of the group when everyone else is eating can create pressure to eat.

Some of you reading are saying “but wait no one does any of that to me, and it’s a joy to get together with my family.” Maybe so, but think about all the things you have to do or reflect on for and during the event. Is it stressful? If yes, then there you go. Stressful events in life, even happy ones can cause emotional eating.

There are other ways like meditation, but eating does reduce stress. Although temporarily, it does!

In the end, to avoid unnecessary eating, be alert and aware of your emotional state.

Before you put any food in your mouth:

  • Think about why you are about to eat (Are you hungry or is it something else?)
  • Play the tape of what will happen after (How you will feel emotionally and physically?)

Then make your decision…

To eat or not to eat? That is the question!

Eliot LeBow, LCSW, CDE, is a diabetes-focused psychotherapist. His private practice, located in New York City and is also available via Skype. LeBow, who has been living with type 1 diabetes since 1977, treats the many diverse cognitive, behavioral, and emotional needs of people living with type 1 and type 2 diabetes.

For more information go to his website or Facebook Page or set up a free 30-minute phone consultation to see if talk therapy is right for you.

Medical Disclaimer:
All the advice included in this blog is therapeutic in nature and should not be considered medical advice. Before making any changes to your diabetes maintenance program, please consult with your primary physician or endocrinologist.

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