Bellingham, WA  (Food News)  ‘Tis the season of holiday fun and festivity — and holiday weight gain, stress, emotional eating, and overload.

“Holiday stress has a particular impact on women, who are more likely to feel increased stress during the holiday season and are more likely to fall into unhelpful habits like emotional eating to cope with overload or overwhelm,” says psychologist, life coach, and founder of, Dr. Melissa McCreery. “Additionally, the high calorie treats are everywhere. People gain more weight during the holiday season than any other time of year and unfortunately, if you are already overweight, you are likely to gain more weight than average. The good news is, there are simple steps that you can take to stay in control.”

Dr. McCreery offers these do-able ways to take control of holiday stress, overeating, and weight gain:

  1. Be clear on your goals.
    McCreery suggests you ask yourself what you want to have or experience during the holidays. Whatever your goal — creating happy memories, maintaining your weight, or hosting an enjoyable family gathering — you are much more likely to achieve what you want if you are crystal clear on what it is.
  2. Ditch perfectionism.
    Settle for “good enough” this holiday season, and you’ll probably laugh more and stress a lot less. “Perfect” rarely happens, and frankly, it’s not very much fun having to have everything “just right.” Give yourself permission to lighten up and enjoy the moment.
  3. Set time and energy budgets.
    Setting a financial budget is critical for reducing stress and overwhelm during the holidays, but it’s also essential to be realistic about budgeting your time and energy. Be clear about how much of yourself you have to give to various projects and do your best to stick within these limits. You’ll find that this policy also helps with perfectionism.
  4. Savor the important stuff and say no to the rest.
    Focus on making deliberate choices and then savoring. This is an excellent strategy for approaching holiday treats and can help prevent holiday weight gain. It’s also a useful decision-making tool for the invitations and events that many of us face in December. The holidays come with some very special once-a-year-treats that you probably don’t want to miss. Identify what these are — and make sure you allow yourself the chance to indulge and enjoy them. Make a commitment to yourself now to pass up all the “extras” that aren’t really anything special. Decide now to skip the chips, store-bought cookies, extra cocktails, and “fillers” that people will be setting out this holiday season. Likewise, choose deliberately and decline the “must-do” events that really aren’t where you want to be spending your valuable time.
  5. Get your zzzs.
    Sleep affects just about everything including appetite, metabolism, energy, and mood. Although you may be tempted to burn the midnight oil, you’ll be more productive and effective if you commit to seven and a half hours of sleep a night.

More tips for avoiding holiday overeating and stress are available at For a copy of McCreery’s free audio set: Five Simple Steps to Move Beyond Overwhelm with Food and Life, go to

About Melissa McCreery and

Psychologist and Life Coach Dr. Melissa McCreery focuses on the three Os that ambush successful, high-striving women — overeating, overwhelm, and overload. She is the founder of where her clients take control of overeating and stress and add more ease, success, and joy in their health, their businesses, and their lives. The creator of The Emotional Eating Toolbox™ 28 Day Program and the How to Put Yourself First 7 Day Blast-off, Dr. McCreery has been featured in Self magazine, on Yahoo Health, in Diane magazine (the magazine of Curves Fitness Centers),, and many other wellness publications. For more tips and articles or to arrange an interview, visit or email

Subscribe to our RSS feed!