Chanukah is one of those festivals that centers around food. Like all the other Jewish festivals! The combination of family gatherings and food-centered celebrations can often be difficult for people who struggle with food issues. How can Mindful Eating help you to deal with the pressure?
Chanukah Food Fests
Family celebrations can often lead to over-eating. When everyone is talking and eating together, sitting at the table for a long time, and sometimes creating stressful emotional situations, we sometimes find ourselves overeating because we feel nervous, uncomfortable or challenged. “Have another doughnut!” says Auntie Rivka – “It’s Chanukah, a few calories can’t harm you!”
Getting together with other people for Chanukah celebrations can often lead to overeating because everyone else is eating and it’s easier to go along with the group than to say no. But staying home alone is not easy either. Many of us turn to food to relieve stress, loneliness, or boredom, and then we feel even worse about ourselves.
Emotional eating is using food to make yourself feel better – eating to satisfy your emotional needs, rather than any physical hunger. If food becomes your primary emotional coping mechanism, and you find yourself opening the refrigerator when you feel stressed, upset, angry, lonely, exhausted, or bored, you may get stuck in an unhealthy cycle of feeling guilty and powerless to control our cravings.
By practicing mindful eating, you can change your emotional habits to regain control over your food cravings and your feelings. It’s about being aware of your eating habits and pausing between the trigger events that send you to the kitchen and actually going there. When you feel the urge to eat, there is an unbearable pressure to find something to eat, and you feel powerless to resist. If you can think about what is happening and resist that pressure, even just for a few minutes, you can strengthen your willpower and overcome your emotions. Feeling good about that achievement can help you to wait for half an hour, choose a healthier snack, and hold onto your good resolutions.
DBT for Emotional Eating
Machon Dvir teaches DBT Skills to people who are struggling with emotional eating and other emotion dysregulation issues. The main focus of Dialectical Behavior Therapy is learning to accept yourself as you are, but at the same time striving to constantly push toward improvement in a healthy way. DBT Skills training helps people to learn and apply four sets of skills:
- Emotion Regulation
- Distress Tolerance
- Interpersonal Effectiveness
To find out more about how DBT works and whether it can help you or someone you know who is struggling with Emotional Eating, click here.