The Thanksgiving holiday is approaching us! Thanksgiving is a time for showing gratitude to our family, friends, and close loved ones. In traditional American households, we spend the holiday giving thanks, saying grace, and preparing for the new year. Similarly, Thanksgiving is considered a time to enjoy our favorite meals such as grandmother’s famous pumpkin pie or auntie’s delicious garlic mashed potatoes. However, do we take notice when we have overstuffed ourselves to the point of misery? What are the reasons for emotional eating during the holiday season?
What is Emotional Eating?
Emotional eating usually consists of consuming excessive amounts of food. Eating to excess can cause physical pain such as heartburn, a full belly, and that feeling of misery. We might overeat because we have saved up our appetite and calories for Thanksgiving dinner and want to enjoy two slices of the sweet potato pie. Or are we overlooking other reasons for overindulgence?
Why Do We Emotionally Eat?
Emotional eating can mean we are overcompensating to artificially meet our emotional needs. The holiday season is a time of joy and laughter. However, the holiday season for many can also be emotional and saddening. This time can remind individuals of grief, seasonal depression and sadness, and loneliness.
How Does Emotional Eating Affect Us?
As humans when we are emotional we tend to feed our feelings. Oftentimes, where we lack in one area, we make it up in another area. Harmful effects overeating can include symptoms such as digestive issues, abdominal pain, and long term effects on the body. Not only can emotional eating have an effect on physical health but also on mental health including the inability to identify when satisfied, feelings of guilt or disgust, and worsened mood.
It is important to be mindful of the amount of food we are eating during the holiday season to prevent long term effects on our physical and mental health. Take the moment to identify when we are full or allowing ourselves breaks between eating can help with preventing overstuffing. We want to enjoy all that holiday dinner has to offer, rather than harming ourselves during the process.
About the Author
Briana Carr, MSW, LCSW is one of Evolution Wellness’ licensed therapists. Bri helps women and men develop self-compassion and create meaningful relationships. When Bri isn’t helping individuals, couples, and families find their inner strengths, you can find her perfecting her musical talent on the piano.