During the holidays many of us look forward to celebrating with family, friends and a stocked fridge of delicious treats, not always the healthy kind. We are all coping with stressful challenges from the pandemic and if you are getting together with family again that can add to more anxiety. This seems like a great time to hit the fridge and turn to food and eating as a way to seek comfort and relax and ignore your diabetes management. 

Here are few ways to help you manage emotional eating:

  • Make a list of activities that you enjoy doing (other than eating!), such as walking, reading, gardening, etc. Keep this list handy and refer to it when you feel you are struggling to manage your emotions.
  • Call up a friend or family member for support.
  • Drink a glass of water or cup of tea. Hunger can sometimes be mistaken for thirst.
  • Keep balanced, nutritious and filling snacks on hand such as low fat greek yogurt with a handful of nuts, baby carrots with ranch dip or hummus, whole grain woven wheat crackers with 1-2oz cheese, or a slice of sprouted grain toast with peanut butter spread.
  • Don’t deprive yourself. It’s not uncommon for people trying to make healthier choices to completely cut out all of their favorite foods, but this can lead to bingeing on them later. Allow yourself to have a treat when desired and eat it mindfully. Notice the smell, texture, and mouthfeel paying attention to your fullness cues. Allow yourself an unconditional permission to nourish with both nutritious and fun “play” foods higher in calories and carbs, too. This is important when attempting to achieve a healthy, balanced, and varied diet. Too much restriction can impact your relationship with food negatively.
  • Before giving in to emotional eating, take a moment to ask yourself, “What do I really need?” If you are stressed, maybe you need a relaxing bath. If you are tired, put yourself to bed! If you are bored, find something fun and engaging to do – that does not include eating. If you are lonely, reach out to a friend or loved one. If you are actually hungry or thirsty, then allow yourself to find a healthy option and nourish your body with food that make you feel your best.

Although this content is reviewed by Joslin Diabetes Center healthcare professionals, it is not intended to replace the medical advice of your doctor or healthcare provider. Please consult your healthcare provider for advice about a specific medical condition.