Today's Episode


Hi and welcome to today's podcast episode.

Thanks for being here and I'm looking forward to getting stuck in today.

What I thought we might chat about is emotional eating and eating at Christmas time.

It used to be a really big struggle for me.

I used to feel very out of control all throughout Christmas time being around so much food.

And I used to then feel very uncomfortable in myself.

Come January, very overweight, very bloated, very sweaty puffy red, horrible.

And I did that for years and years and years and years feeling really, really bad about myself.

So what I want to do with the outcome of this podcast episode today is to give you some tips around emotional eating at Christmas time and maybe help you with some guidelines around eating at Christmas time so that you don't enter into the New Year, feeling absolutely desperate.

Now, this is for you, if you haven't really liked what's been going on for you over your previous Christmases, I'm not chatting to you about not enjoying yourself over Christmas and this certainly isn't an episode about dieting or how to stay the same over Christmas or anything like that.

I despise that kind of stuff.

I believe that holidays are there to be enjoyed to relax, to do what you want.

I'm talking to you in particular.

If you feel very stressed out and out of control around Christmas time, maybe you've spent all year getting fit and healthy and for you, you just feel like it's going to bring out all your old habits and you're going to go back into default mode and you don't want that.

You don't want that.

That's who I am chatting to today.

I want to be super, super clear, I think if you want to go and enjoy your Christmas and eat what you want, you go and do that and you enjoy yourself.

Um, so the way I used to be at Christmas time apart from this year and last year is I used to feel desperate, all the food and alcohol I ate and it was always coming up to December.

I looked forward to it.

I looked forward to the different routine of Christmas time.

I mean, like the first of December to the second of January, I would look forward to it from the beginning of November sitting back with the fire on having a glass of wine.

I would look forward to what I would see in the movies and what I would see on the TV.

I would look forward to the strawberry on my Prosecco glass clinking glasses, having the crack.

I would look forward to looking at the dogs beside the fire and everything being really cozy.

I would look forward to going into the market into Galway at winter time at Christmas market and having mulled wine, I would look forward to all that stuff so much.

I would get so excited.

What I noticed every single year without fail is after doing that for two days, I used to get really down in myself.

I used to start getting a red face really sweaty.

My clothes started feeling really tight and I absolutely despised it because of that I would go into this all or nothing mode where I would consume everything, drink everything, eat everything.

Part of that for me was to just get it out of the way.

Now, for those of you that are listening that can't relate to that you're thinking that makes no sense.

You ate more and you drank more because you didn't want to.

Yes, I did because I wasn't healed enough and I wasn't like fit and healthy enough.

And I didn't know back then what I know now to be able to just not do it.

Back then I was stuck in a cycle of drinking and eating and not wanting to and not even knowing why I couldn't stop.

And just thinking to myself, it's OK.

It'll all be over on the second of January and then I'll give up alcohol and give up health uh sugary foods forever.

And obviously that never worked.

And then I dieted and then it just went round and round in circles.

People don't understand that when you are drinking too much alcohol and you are eating too much that you might not want to be.

A lot of people don't get that, that you, you might be getting drunk or drinking wine and actually actively not wanting to be a lot of people think that you're either an absolute raving alcoholic or that you are, you've got the ability to say no.

So there can't be any part of you that's just drinking and not wanting to drink and it's, it's just simply not true.

And the same with eating biscuit tins and the sweets and, and, uh, and, and all that sort of stuff that we do at Christmas time, you can drink and drink and drink and eat and eat and eat every night between the 23rd of December to the second and not want to.

And almost in a way because you don't want to do it even more.

And that was the cycle that I got trapped and stuck into.

And I want to give you some things that might help you over the Christmas time.

Just keep a bit of yourself intact so that you don't go into January feeling absolutely desperate.

So the first tip, I want to give you around emotional eating and eating at Christmas time is that there's a difference between enjoying your food and emotional eating.

And I want you first of all to accept that you're going to be out of your routine.

Now, this is for those of you that really are very controlled with your food and you maybe have been striving all year to be fit and healthy and you like, identify with a fit and healthy person and you're stressed out about gaining weight over Christmas time.

I want you just to ask yourself, is there a way that you can accept that it's Christmas time?

Know that you'll be out of your routine and that your body might change a little bit and things will change and to not get a fright.

Does that make sense that if you want to enjoy your treats and if you want to drink more than normal, not in an emotional way, just like, enjoy yourself, that the chances of your clothes getting a little bit tight are normal if you are very routine and have an exact routine of what you eat and how you socialize throughout the rest of the year.

And that changes, even if you just end up a little bit out of your routine, your body is going to change a little bit and your clothes are going to feel a little bit tight.

Now that can really have a very negative effect on some people.

It definitely did on myself.

And what it made me do is it made me really hate on myself.

And it was in those moments of my body changing and me eating a little bit more and socializing a bit more that I would start to really be very hard on myself.

I would get up on the weighing scales more.

I would look at my body naked in the mirror more.

I would feel my stomach for the weight gain more than normal.

And I would start to really hate on myself while I was out of routine, eating and drinking a little bit more.

Whereas a well rounded healthy person might think to themselves, I'm out of my routine.

I am not working out as much as I used to.

I am eating a bit differently.

Obviously, it's a credit to the healthy eating that I've been doing all year that it was clearly working because now that I'm out of that routine and I'm eating and drinking a little bit more and eating different things, my weight's changing.

That's ok.

It's Christmas time.

So because of this acceptance that it's Christmas time, I'm actually going to not get on the weighing scales, not stare at my body looking for changes, not touch my stomach in a really critical way, not try to squeeze myself into the pair of jeans that I have that only really fit well when I'm really fit and healthy, that I'm actually going to be kind and compassionate to myself and I'm going to leave off the weighing scales.

I'm going to wear my pair of jeans that I have that look nice, but they're just a little bit more comfy and I'm going to accept that my body might be changing for a few weeks while I get through Christmas time and I enjoy myself and that's what I do now.

I my body will always change a little bit at Christmas time now.

Um because I am healthy now and part of being healthy isn't controlling my food and going the opposite way and being like really extreme and rigid.

Um And for many people myself included having come off comfort eating and coming off alcohol and having become become healthy, you don't want to go the other way then and get really rigid in your rules.

So it's, it's strange to be accepting of your body changes around Christmas time and be ok with it and love yourself and show yourself compassion and kindness.

So I really recommend that you do that, that step number one, if you're, if you're not emotional eating and you're just eating and you're out of your routine and you're having more treats than normal, make sure that you're aware that your body's going to change a little bit.

And that's no reason to start jumping on the weighing scales and saying, oh my God, I'm adding a couple of pounds even though we should never have the weighing scales is rubbish anyway.

And those of you that follow my podcast know that I really encourage everybody to stay off the weighing scales.

But I'm talking to you if you are on the weighing scales all year and then Christmas time comes and you eat a bit more and you just find yourself eating more and giving it to yourself about the weight gain.

A little bit of weight gain is really normal around Christmas time and you don't need the weighing scales to tell you that you're out of your routine.

Just stay off the weighing scales totally.

So my second tip is to ask yourself what your guidelines are.

If this is for you.

If you like find yourself very triggered around Christmas time to go into that all or nothing mode where you just attack food, attack alcohol, you just want to drink it all and eat it all the way I used to do or you just do it even when you don't want to do it.

Um And you want to be healthy, you want to be healthy, you don't want to diet and restrict, you just want to feel good and you want to be healthy.

You ask yourself, what are my guidelines?

What are my guidelines this Christmas time?

What would my avatar do around Christmas time?

Would my avatar just eat?

What I wanted to eat between the 23rd and the second of January, would my avatar would the person that I'm that I'm working at becoming um drink loads of water and eat healthy and have treat nights like you have to meet yourself where you're at.

It's all well and good for people to say I'll just eat in moderation and have a little bit of something every day.

But if you're still healing, if you're still working on your comfort eating, that is just not going to work.

So rather than follow other people's advice or things that you come across online, ask yourself, what are your guidelines based on where you're at now?

Like for me, back when I was still comfort eating and I was really striving to be fit and healthy, but I hadn't quite figured it all out yet.

My guidelines around Christmas time were that I would really actively have days where I wouldn't be eating any treats because I knew because I was still quite vulnerable that if I had a couple, I would have a box and I just wouldn't want to do that.

So my guidelines were very clear cut back then, you know, that I would, that I would strive to be healthy around the days between the 27th and the 31st of December.

Um So you have to meet yourself where you're at on your journey that might not work for you.

Now, I have really come to realize that what I used to think was restriction and dieting some parts of what I, what I love to do now that I thought were dieting and restriction actually, aren't they just me wanting to be fit and healthy?

So if you called around to my house on the 28th and I invited you in for a cup of tea and I said, do you want a slice of apple cake?

And you said yes, please.

I'd love some.

Are you having some?

I would say no, thank you.

And my automatic reaction when I'm saying no, thank you is for you to presume that I'm on a diet.

So the old me might have just had a slice of cake just to show you that I wasn't on a diet.

The New Me doesn't care what anybody thinks.

And the new me loves to be fit and healthy and part of being fit and healthy is allowing yourself the freedom to say no, thank you and not having to get on your hands and knees and persuade people that you must want it.

But you're just saying no, because you're trying to watch your weight.

No, I don't want it.

No, thanks.

Not now.

So, get really clear on what your guidelines are.

If you want to spend Christmas time skipping breakfast and only having brunch and dinner.


If you're the type of person that needs to feel grounded through your action steps.

I do.

I have a breakfast, lunch and dinner every day, no matter what day of the year it is.

I snack on fruit if I'm hungry, no matter what day of the year it is.

I would never dream in a million years to get up in the morning and just have sweet stuff.

If I'm having sweet stuff, nine times out of 10, it's after dinner.

If I'm having sweet stuff out and about nine times out of 10, it's after lunch.

If I'm walking the prom or if I'm having an ice cream, I don't like to do it any other time.

I would never skip a meal and have treats.

Instead, they're my guidelines and they are where I'm at now.

They might change next year.

What are your guidelines around Christmas time.

When do you want to eat healthy?

Do you want to have an evening off?

What are your guidelines around alcohol?

Write it all down now so that it will help you move away from old habits that haven't been serving you up until this point.

My third tip is to check in with yourself often and frequently every evening throughout Christmas time.

From the 23rd to the third of January.

Am I happy with the way I'm eating?

Am I happy with the way I'm drinking?

How am I feeling?

Is this taking me further away from myself?

Why am I doing this?

I used to always feel every Christmas time that I was moving further and further away from myself that I was eating and drinking when I didn't want to.

And I felt so helpless in those moments, so helpless in those moments, so desperate.

I used to feel so bad in myself.

I'd be drinking thinking I can't wait for this to be over.

I'd be eating sweets thinking I hate the feeling I get when I eat too much sugar and I would just do it anyway.

I didn't do much reflection back then.

I never really checked in with myself because I didn't really know how to love myself.

And now I understand a big part of loving myself is to actually know how you're feeling when you're feeling very stressed and anxious.

I don't think that you, you you, you spend a lot of time checking in with yourself.

I check in with myself frequently.

Now, you know, if I'm gasping for 1/5 cup of coffee in the day or for it.

Now, I only, I aim to have three a day no more.

I ask myself, why do I want it?

Oh, I'm feeling stressed out if I turn around to Joe on a Tuesday evening and go.

Oh, wouldn't treats be nice then I think to myself, why am I saying that?

And nine times out of 10, it's because I feel anxious or stressed out.

So check in with yourself frequently and figure out how you're doing if you're sitting on the couch at night time and you are just about to say to somebody, let's eat something and you don't want to take a deep breath and pause and ask yourself how you're feeling and what do you really need?

What do you need in this moment?

And if it doesn't work and you eat the sweets anyway, at least you know the part of your journey that you're on and at least you've observed your behavior that you're eating it because you're stressed out and you've gone ahead and eaten it.

But, you know, in the new Year you can work on your stress.

My next tip is to, I wish I had done this.

But every day you can start again.

You don't have to wait until the third of January like, if you have a big, massive blowout, you can wake up the next day and start again.

You can go for a big walk.

You can drink lots of water and you can ask yourself what's triggering you.

They're the three things that I do around Christmas time.

If I've had a big blowout, I wake up the next day.

I drink loads of water.

I go get some fresh air and I ask myself, what am I at?

Why am I doing this?

And I just calm down, fresh air really helps getting out for a walk.

Really helps.

I always feel better after a walk.

And I'm sure you do too, walking and fresh air around Christmas time, walking and water around Christmas time can be so helpful if you're feeling desperate.

If you're just feeling locked in your unhealthy habits, I want you to be kind and compassionate to yourself around Christmas time for many of us myself included for years.

Christmas time was a time when all my old behaviors came out.

Like I, I healed throughout the year and then Christmas time, I just went bananas and there's a lot of food around, there's a lot of alcohol around.

And if you're not at that place yet where you're, you're fully healed, you can, you can go back to the old you and that's ok.

That really is ok because they'll be next year and, and you have to be kind to yourself and go.


I wonder why, you know why I'm like this and it's ok.

It's ok that I'm like this.

I must be hurting or in pain or suffering in some way or I must be feeling stressed or anxious or lonely.

That's ok.

We're going to solve these problems.

We're going to take 2024 to fix these problems and you will, um, sitting in silence for 10 minutes can be very helpful Just sitting on a chair and closing your eyes and putting your hands on your lap and just, and just setting an alarm clock for 10 minutes can really help you emotionally regulate.

It helps me a big walk, helps me just getting out my journal helps me just, just writing maybe my goals for 2024.

I find that looking forward into the New Year can be very helpful if you're not feeling very good about yourself and if you trust your partner or your husband or your wife or your friend and you're just able to chat through with them some stuff, it's amazing what a five minute conversation can do with your, your loved one.

Sometimes if I chat to Joe and I tell him how I'm feeling, you think?

Well, let's go to bed and read our books and I'm like, oh my God, really?

Like there's, if you have a good person in your life, lean on them, tell them, look, it's going to get to seven o'clock and I'm going to ask you, do you want to have a drink?

And I don't really want to, but I'm just feeling trapped in this all or nothing.

And I'd love to not drink.

Ok, let's not drink tonight.

And sometimes you have to meet yourself where you're at.

Sometimes you need your other person to tell you it's ok and that you can go to bed and read your book and in fact, let's do it together.

Sometimes you need that when you're not yet quite there yet where you can do it for yourself.

And it's amazing what a good night's sleep can do for you.

You can say it to your husband feeling desperate if you ask me right now, do I want to drink?

I'm going to say yes, but I don't if you, if you helped me somehow just get to bed and read a book and, and it's amazing the support and just being honest in that moment, it can be very, very helpful, very helpful.

I want you to take care of yourself this Christmas time and taking care of yourself is different to being fit and healthy and doing everything correctly.

You might be at a critical part in your healing journey when the last thing you need right now is to be surrounded by food and alcohol.

And maybe, you know, you'll backtrack a little bit, maybe you'll drink too much alcohol when you haven't wanted to or you'll have eaten too much and you haven't wanted to.

That's ok.

Get your journal out, write out what you want out of yourself for 2024.

I remember up until very recently when I was drinking and eating way too much at Christmas time.

Every time I felt desperate while I was drinking, I would get out my journal and write out in the morning time, desperately hung over what my goals were and what my avatar was for 2024.

It helped me feel some sort of control.

I'd be dying of a hangover, feeling so bad.

And I would write goals for next year and I would just feel calm and better that I wasn't where I wanted to be now.

And I was still feeling so trapped in my unhealthy habits, but it's ok.

I, I was, I had a plan, I had a plan and it was that type of behavior that helped me get to where I am now.

So take good care of yourself this Christmas time.


And observe your behavior, observe how you're doing and we'll be into January in no time at all and we'll be back into our routine, back getting fit and healthy again.


I hope you enjoyed this episode if you could help me out so much and share it with a friend, share it in a whatsapp group, somebody, you know, that would find it helpful.

I would appreciate it.

So, so, so much.

Thank you.

So much for listening.

Goodbye and take care and see you soon.

Thanks for listening to another episode of the Jessica Cook podcast.

Did that go by way too quickly or is it just me if you want more, you can head on over to Jessica Cook dot ie forward slash playlist.

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