Tips to Reduce Overeating and Stress This Holiday Season


Holidays are all about getting together with family and friends, honoring traditions old and new, and fostering everlasting good times. However, what happens when stress and anxiety get in the way of enjoying the holiday season? From working with your loved ones’ schedules to cooking and baking, this time of year can be distressing.

If you are struggling with higher levels of stress, know that you are not the only person feeling this way. A study executed by the APA (American Psychological Association) indicated that 38% of individuals have increased levels of stress during the holidays. Here are a few tips from our knowledgeable digestive health specialists at GastroArkansas on how you can minimize overeating and dominate any holiday stress you encounter that often accompanies this time of year. For additional tips or to learn more, please contact our gastrointestinal (GI) practice in Little Rock, AR.

Tip 1: Minimize processed foods to aid in digestive health

The rumbling in your tummy may not actually be due to having that second helping. The bacteria in your stomach may change when you eat processed foods. The consumption of processed foods allows molecules to escape from your intestine and pass into your cytosolic pathway. This can increase irritation in the stomach.

It is best to limit these types of foods and cook your holiday meals with fresh, local options instead. Prep the green bean casserole with home-grown green beans. Bake desserts with local strawberries. Switching out packaged and processed items for freshness makes a huge difference.

Should your gut health concerns require additional assistance, our talented GI physicians at GastroArkansas in Little Rock, AR can offer specialized care to get you back on track and feeling normal.

Tip 2: Eat a little something prior to leaving home

Overeating is quite prevalent during the holiday months and may lead to GI issues. Between warm pies, casseroles, and irresistible cookies platters, reducing holiday weight gain is hard.

Have a snack that combines carbohydrates with protein to keep yourself content in the interim before dinner. This could be as easy as wheat bread with a nut butter. A few other great carbs and protein options include:

  • Grapes with cheese

  • Granola bar

  • Hummus and celery

  • Hard-boiled eggs and seasonal fruit

Tip 3: Eat smaller amounts of food to reduce overconsumption

There is no doubt that with the variety of great food at your disposal, you will have the urge to sample it all. Pace yourself and place smaller-sized portions on your plate. Eating smaller amounts of food can let your stomach readily digest the foods you consume. Furthermore, you may not feel as bloated and uncomfortable when you choose smaller portion sizes.

Taking cues from your GI tract is prudent when attempting to keep yourself from overindulging. If you feel full before you finish your plate, simply stop eating. Your body is letting you know it is time to take a break and go visit with your friends and family.

Tip 4: Create a list to lower stress

Developing lists can enable you to stay organized and focused throughout the holiday season. Having a list provides the chance for you to ensure shopping trips stay organized and do not get out of hand. Moreover, it helps organize your household's varying schedules and provides a feeling of gratification.

Composing a list brings organization to disorder. It helps reduce anxiety and relieve the holiday stress you have been experiencing.

Tip 5: Combat holiday stress with goodwill

The old adage “Treat everyone how you want to be treated” holds true every single day of the year. However, it is particularly true throughout the holidays when stress is high.

When seeking out options to lower stress, react to each obstacle with compassion. Toning down any feelings of frustration and offering goodwill soothes worry and anxiety. This also helps everybody feel wanted and safe.

Take on the holidays without the stress

Regardless of what your holiday plans might entail, our Little Rock, AR team is excited to provide tips to help you enjoy this time of year with the ones you love the most. Realizing you have these suggestions on hand to relieve stress and anxiety can help make the season more cheerful and bright. If you have GI health concerns or need additional information, please get in touch with our experienced GI doctors at GastroArkansas today.