by  Elyse Resch, Nutrition Therapist

I hope that you're finding that preparing and rehearsing your holiday plans is helping to reduce your stress and anxiety about the holidays.  Some of my clients find that they can avoid eating problems during these holiday events and have a happier holiday season.  Here are some of the strategies that might be helpful:

1) Making sure to eat regularly throughout the day.  If you skip meals, it's so easy to fall into primal hunger and end up eating way beyond your fullness signals at the evening meal.

2) Taking a plate at appetizer time and placing an array of interesting appetizers on the plate.  Treat this as your snack, and focus on being mindful, while eating what's on the plate.  Mindlessly taking one appetizer after another is not very satisfying and will probably diminish your enjoyment of the dinner.

3) Have a back-up plan for the stressful feelings that might come up around family or friends.  You could ask a friend if it would be OK to call, if you're having a hard time.  Or try taking a time-out and walk outside for a while, so you can get some space for yourself.  If you have a smart phone, this would be a good time to write a note to someone safe.

4) Always keep in mind that you can eat whatever pleases you any time you like.  This will help you remember that you don't need to "get it all in at the party or dinner", because you won't be able to have it freely in the future.   Making peace with food is essential, especially around holiday time.

5) Evaluate how much holiday activity you can manage, and choose to attend the amount of events that you can handle, without getting overwhelmed.  Remember, it's OK to say "no" to some things.  You don't have to please everyone.

6) Pay attention to how alcohol affects your hunger and fullness signals.  Drinking too much for your tolerance can end up becoming a problem for your eating experience.

7) Don't forget that you can say "no" to the second serving of food, if you get full.  Again you don't have to please everyone! 

Hope this helps!  Enjoy