How to Lower Stress and Reduce Overeating During the Holidays


The winter holidays are about getting together with family and friends, traditions old and new, and fostering lasting good times. But what do you do when anxiety gets between you and holiday cheer? From working with everyone’s appointments to cooking, this time of year can become too much to handle.

If you think you’re feeling stressed out, it might help to know you're not alone. A survey performed by the American Psychological Association said 38% of men and women have more stress during the holidays. Here are a few ideas from the gastrointestinal (GI) physicians at Texas Digestive Disease Consultants on ways you can minimize overeating and help conquer your holiday stress. Feel free to reach out to our GI practices throughout the DFW area for further details.

Tip 1: Avoid processed meals to aid in digestive health

The grumbling in your tummy may not be due to going back for seconds. The bacteria in your stomach can change after you eat processed foods. Consuming processed foods allows molecules to escape your digestive system and enter your immune-processing pathway. This increases inflammation in the stomach.

We recommend that you limit processed foods and spend a little bit of time cooking your meals with locally grown options. Prepare your green bean casserole with fresh green beans. Make a dessert with fresh berries. Swapping out canned and processed foods for fresher options makes a huge difference.

In the event your GI problems require professional assistance, the gastroenterologists at Texas Digestive Disease Consultants in DFW provide the services needed for improved digestive health.

Tip 2: Grab a snack before your event

Overindulging is very prevalent during the holidays and can lead to gut problems. Between delicious pies, casseroles, and delectable cookies, avoiding holiday weight gain is difficult.

Before heading out to your holiday event, eat a carb and protein-based snack to keep you satisfied until dinner. This can be as low-key as toast with a nut butter. A few other yummy protein and carb options are:

  • Hummus and celery and carrots

  • Hard-boiled eggs and an apple

  • A low-sugar granola bar

  • Grapes and cheese

Tip 3: Eat smaller amounts to reduce overeating

There's little doubt that with all the delicious food available, you'll have the urge to snatch it and go. Make sure to pace your food consumption and place smaller portions on your plate. Eating smaller portion sizes can allow your stomach to easily digest what you consume. In addition, you won’t feel as uncomfortable and bloated when you eat a smaller amount.

Listening to your GI tract is smart when trying to keep from eating too much. Should you become satiated before finishing your meal, stop eating. Your body is letting you know it’s had enough for now.

Tip 4: Make a list to minimize stress

Developing lists can enable you to remain organized and on track throughout the holiday season. Making a list helps shopping trips stay on task. Furthermore, it aids in organizing your household's bustling schedules and provides a feeling of satisfaction.

Writing down a list gives a sense of order to the chaos of the holidays. It helps diminish feelings of anxiousness and can go a long way toward alleviating the holiday tension you're facing.

Tip 5: React to holiday stress with goodwill

The old adage “Treat others how you wish to be treated” holds true all during the year. However, it's particularly meaningful during the holidays when stress is higher than normal.

When identifying options to minimize stress, respond to each obstacle with kindness. Tamping down your sense of frustration and offering kindness instead soothes worry and stress. Doing so also helps everyone feel wanted and secure.

Get set for the holiday season without the stress

No matter what your plans for the holiday season may involve, our DFW team is glad to offer suggestions to help you enjoy this time of year with those you hold near and dear. Realizing you have these tips and options at hand to control stress can make the season easier and more relaxing. Should you have GI health issues or require further suggestions, please get in touch with the caring gastroenterologists at Texas Digestive Disease Consultants.