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Local dietitians offer tips for people struggling with binge eating over the holidays

Published: Dec. 23, 2020 at 5:00 PM CST
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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) - The holidays are a time full of fun, where food takes center stage. But for those who struggle with portion control, it can be a time of frustration.

“The actual holidays are just a couple days so being patient with yourself and giving yourself a little bit of grace that it’s okay to have foods that you enjoy,” said Erika Oltmanns.

The holidays have long been considered a time to indulge and registered dietitian Erika Oltmanns says this year’s uncertainty makes the rise in disordered eating inevitable.

“Stress, boredom, any kind of emotional things going on or mental health is often tied into eating as well, so, especially with everything going on, and then to bring all the holidays into that as well that I think may increase our eating behaviors as far as like the quantities that we eat what type of foods that we eat,” said Oltmanns.

Terms like the “quarantine 15” are unfortunately part of our lexicon these days, but SwedishAmerican’s Rachel Bagne says we can change that - and develop positive habits for the New Year.

“The way that we’re approaching food this year is drastically different than in the past, and what’s different is that things like food scarcity and stockpiling, both which were really prevalent early on in the COVID pandemic, those types of things can really trigger past trauma,” said Bagne.

Both Oltmanns and Bagne say the best way to start curbing an unhealthy relationship with food is to focus on *why you eat, not what you eat.

“Ask yourself the question if you’re hungry, because sometimes we don’t tend to actually ask ourselves that. We just have this either stress response or boredom response and then we just go look for food,” said Oltmanns.

“We want to make sure that everybody is feeling really safe in their home, everybody’s feeling safe around the food that they have available to them and that they have the resources to find food, if it’s not something that’s readily available to them,” said Bagne.

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