Why do we overeat at Thanksgiving? Dumb question, right?
We overeat because it’s expected of us. We’re talking about a holiday that was created for the feast! Yes, of course, the feast is second to giving thanks, but I do believe the thanks was for a successful year in the new land and a tables full of special food. Heck, forget table full of food. At Thanksgiving it seems like every room in the house is full of food. Yeah, “thank you for all this delicious food.”
For some, it’s true. It’s the holiday food that makes for a lot of overeating. For others, the food is there and it’s convenient, but what really makes these people eat is their feelings.
Stress reactions often include eating. More stress = More eating.
Families can create very high levels of stress because, “I love her! I’m only saying this for her own good. She needs to hear it and I’m the one who can say it!”
Yup, getting together with your family, especially the kind of family who can’t resist getting all up in your business is stressful. The quick and easy way to deal with stress is stuff it down with lots and lots of food. The problem with this particular stress management tactic is it doesn’t work and it usually increases your stress levels.
Avoid it. Don’t go if you really want to skip exposing yourself to the criticism. No excuses necessary.
- Practice saying, “I won’t be coming.”
- If you get, “why not,” just rephrase it, “Don’t set a place for me. I won’t be there.”
- If you hear, “It’s Thanksgiving! It’s a family tradition, what’s more important than that?” respond with, “Have a good time, I’m sure you won’t even notice I’m not there.”
If you can’t avoid it, use some proven strategies to stop the criticism from getting to you.
- Don’t respond. Don’t defend yourself; don’t fling an insult(s) in retaliation. Smiling and walking away works well.
- Remind yourself it’s a temporary situation. You will only be there for a few hours/days. However long the visit, it’s temporary.
Don’t elevate stress by focusing on all that is stressful about family gatherings with a lot of “stress talk.” Give yourself a “pep talk instead.”