The Holidays Bring on the Hunger

By: Helen Chickering
By: Helen Chickering

Is the anxiety over holiday shopping and family gatherings sending you running to the fridge?

Nothing like a dose of stress to trigger a bout of binge eating but when it comes to breaking the mood-food cycle, pushing away the plate is not enough.

There is nothing like a bad day to trigger a big binge.

Katrice Pane who admits to eating when stressed says, "Whenever I would get upset I would go for the snicker bar my vice would be chocolate!"

Katrice Pane is in good company.

Psychologist and eating disorders researcher cynthia bulik says stress tops the list of triggers for unhealthy eating behaviors.

"Stress eating is a huge issue. Food is just the closet most convenient quick fix but it doesn't work in the long term if anything it makes things worse in his long term because it adds stress of having overeating or gained weight," says Cynthia Bulik, Ph.D, UNC Psychologist.

Dr. Bulik says many stress eaters try cutting the food instead of dealing with the stress a strategy that often backfires.

"There is nothing better than deprivation to make you want to over eat," says Dr. Bulik.

A better approach says Dr. Bulik is to identify the triggers and she recommends keeping a detailed daily diary.

"What am I eating what time of day is it what's my mood," says Dr. Bulik.

Recognizing those triggers helped Tish Linberg push away the plate during a recent bout with stress.

"Went and got the chocolate cake out and thought I don't need this and I did something a little drastic, I just flushed the whole thing down the garbage disposal," says Linberg.

Tish now turns to exercise and reading.

"Always keep a book with me that's a good stress reliever for me," says Linberg.

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