Let's breathe about it.

Overeating: How to Avoid the Binge & Actually Enjoy the Holidays

“Break out the stretchy pants!” is a common phrase heard around the holidays. 

It’s no surprise many of us gain weight between Halloween and New Year’s Eve. What may surprise you though is your breathing affects your weight and offers salvation from the sugar onslaught that starts with Halloween candy.

In our culture, overeating during the holidays is pretty much expected! Along with stuffing turkeys, many of us stuff ourselves at Thanksgiving.  But aren’t you sick and tired of feeling sluggish and bloated two months out of the year? And worse yet, year after year starting a diet each January that doesn’t work . A change in your breathing to change your eating habits could be your solution.


We can prevent overeating simply by modifying how we breathe.

There’s a variety of ways to shift your respiration: exercise, start meditating, or change your environment by going to a higher altitude or scuba diving. Since it’s the holidays, we need these tips even more than ever to resist the gooey, warm and fattening temptations in abundance this time of year. Here are three discrete ways to change your breathing and prevent overeating during the holidays:


1. Singing Carols

Singing is a form of exhaling, expressing joy and gratitude. And what better way to breathe during the holidays then surrounding yourself with other grateful, joyous people in song? Keeping aware of what the holidays are truly about – togetherness, joy, gratitude- will allow your mind to shift. The holidays are not about food, they are about the joy that brings you together!


2. Exhale to feel Satiated

Once at the dinner table, remember not to scarf your food. You’re not a hyena in the savannah, there’s no need to rush through your meal before the lions come over to steal it. Take time to savor your food, enjoy the flavors and before you take another bite, exhale. By taking a moment to inhale and exhale throughout your meal, this will allow your stomach to absorb the food. When your digestion has enough time to send signals to your brain that you are growing full, this will prevent the need for your “stretchy Thanksgiving pants”. When we eat quickly, we don’t tend to notice when we’re full and this often leads to overeating.


3. Check your breathing throughout the day to monitor your hunger

Instead of refusing to eat until the big holiday meal, make sure to breathe consciously and eat throughout the day.  Connecting to your breath helps you notice if you are hungry, so you don’t show up staved for holiday feasts, which is a recipe for overeating. Keeping tuned into your respiration and regular feeding schedule is important to curb overeating! Have breakfast, a snack or light lunch and then when the big dinner is served, enjoy! By having food in your system, you’ll be less likely to binge eat.

I hope you use some of these tips and manage to stave off extra pounds and discomfort during the holidays! (and if there is weight gain, no need to beat yourself up. You can always lose it!) In the meantime, check out my new book, Rescued by my Breath (now available on Amazon!) for more ideas on how to connect to your breath. Through letters written to my Mom, Rescued by my Breath offers respiratory wisdom delivered in a conversational tone that goes down like a spoon full of sugar. 🙂 Learn more about the book here!


1Weight Gain over the Holidays in Three Countries, New England Journal of Medicine 2016; 375:1200-1202

2 Yanovski JA, Yanovski SZ, Sovik KN, Nguyen TT, O’Neil PM, & Sebring NG (2000). A prospective study of holiday weight gain. The New England journal of medicine, 342(12), 861-7