How to cope with food anxiety during the holidays

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Odessa, TEXAS (Big 2/Fox 24) – With the holidays coming up, a big topic is about food and what meals we’ll be eating. For this week’s segment of Centers Solutions: COVID Edition, Melanie Saiz tells us what food anxiety is, and how we can avoid it for Thanksgiving. 

“The holidays can increase anxiety around food and body image, especially because we’re going to be feasting on food. Anxiety in general is the fear of what the food is going to do to your body or the intake, just a little bit of unusual attention to food in a negative light,” says Marketing & Development Director Melanie Saiz.  

When you include concerns over the pandemic, there can be even more uneasiness. To try and ease your anxiety-or the anxiety of those you care about-try to be careful about the way you mention food. 

 “Our therapists recommend you avoid saying things like, ‘ I’m going to have to run 10 miles after this meal or before. I’m glad I ran before.’  You know, just making it about body image. Or paying attention to someone else’s plate. Maybe try not to-especially with kids, sometimes as parents, are unaware of the things that we say to our kids. So try not to make too many comments about, ‘Oh you have a lot of mashed potatoes there,’ ” says Saiz.

Saiz recommends speaking about the meal in a positive way. She also recommends giving yourself permission to enjoy your what you’re eating for the special occasion. 

 “Food is a celebration for many of us. It’s part of our culture, it’s part of our joy and it’s okay to experience the joy…but because also we live in a society that is so driven by body image and things that we see on social media, we can have a lot of pressure. If someone is experiencing an eating disorder, which we don’t always know that- that’s something our therapist tries to make us aware of. These things that we say that seem lighthearted and maybe joking, can maybe be very triggering for some people,” says Saiz.  

If you feel anxious about food over the holidays, Saiz recommends speaking to a therapist who can help you process your thoughts about it. For details about food anxiety during the holidays, you can listen to the Centers podcast. 

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