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7 Strategies to Overcome Overeating During the Holidays

Identifying the reasons you overeat and gain weight ups the odds of overcoming overeating and weight gain during the holidays…and ALL WAYS! Here, some strategies to get started.


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Do you typically eat more during the holiday season? If you answered “yes,” you’ve got plenty of company. Millions struggle with overeating and weight gain—especially during the holidays. Now is the time to “reset” and rethink new possibilities; to replace traditional dieting with a science-backed way of eating that lessens overeating and that leads naturally to weight loss, health, and healing.

Welcome to Whole Person Integrative Eating (WPIE)®: A scientifically sound dietary lifestyle that treats the root causes of overeating, overweight, and obesity.

Over 25 years of research on the Whole Person Integrative Eating (WPIE)®, by behavioral scientist Larry Scherwitz, PhD, and me, has revealed that overeating, overweight, and obesity may be halted, even reversed, by replacing the root reasons you overeat—meaning, the new-normal overeating styles Larry and I have identified—with their antidotes: the ancient/new elements of our Whole Person Integrative Eating (WPIE)® model and program.

Meet the Overeating Styles—the Reasons You Overeat

Here are today’s new-normal overeating styles that lead to overeating and weight gain, and some—but not all—characteristics of each. Do you see yourself in any of them?

  • Emotional Eating: Eating based on negative emotions instead of a healthy appetite
  • Fast Foodism: A diet of mostly fast, processed food
  • Food Fretting: Dieting and obsessing about the “best” way to eat
  • Task Snacking: Doing other activities, such as working or watching TV, while eating
  • Sensory Disregard: Not taking time to taste, savor, and enjoy food
  • Unappetizing Atmosphere: Eating in unpleasant emotional or aesthetic surroundings
  • Solo Dining: Eating alone most of the time

7 WPIE Strategies to Overcome Overeating

To get you and your waistline started on the path to eating less and weighing less—during the holiday season and throughout the year—here are the overeating styles and the WPIE strategy for overcoming each overeating style.

#1. Overeating Style: Emotional Eating
WPIE Rx: Positive Emotions 

To reduce odds of the Emotional Eating overeating style—turning to food to manage negative emotions—commit to eating when you have a healthy appetite; and to enjoying food while filled with positive emotions.

#2. Overeating Style: Fast Foodism
WPIE Rx: Fresh, Whole, Inverse

If a donut for breakfast; a double burger with fries for lunch; and a pepperoni pizza for dinner is typical for you, the Fast Foodism overeating style could be contributing to your overeating and weight gain. The WPIE Rx for Fast Foodism is to eat freshwhole, food as often as possible. And to eat inversely, meaning, at the holiday table, choose lots of side dishes—that are often plant-based foods (fruits, veggies, whole grains, legumes, nuts and seed) with small servings of animal-based foods.

#3. Overeating Style: Food Fretting
WPIE Rx: Appreciate Food

If you identify with the Food Fretting overeating style—and you’re often filled with thoughts about “going on a diet” and the “best” way to eat—consider replacing your Food Fretting “think” with authentic, from-the-heart gratitude for food as a life-giving gift.

#4. Overeating Style: Task Snacking
WPIE Rx: Moment-to-moment mindfulness  

If you often eat while working, driving, or watching TV—in other words, while doing other activities—it’s likely that the Task Snacking overeating style is contributing to your overeating and weight gain. The WPIE antidote to Task Snacking is to bring moment-to-moment nonjudgmental awareness to every aspect of the meal.

#5. Overeating Style: Sensory Disregard
WPIE Rx: Savor Food

Do you focus on the aromas, colors, or flavors of food? Do you appreciate the presentation? The life-giving qualities inherent in food? If not, the Sensory Disregard overeating style could be increasing your odds of overeating and weight gain. To overcome this overeating style, commit to enjoying food more by eating “with your senses.” In other words, savor and “flavor” food with loving regard.

#6. Overeating Style: Unpleasant Atmosphere
WPIE Rx: Pleasant Environs

Dining in unpleasant psychological and aesthetic environments is the Unpleasant Atmosphere overeating style. The psychological element refers to your internal feelings and the external emotions—from people around you—when you eat; the physical atmosphere refers to the aesthetics of your surroundings. The WPIE solution? Eat in a positive psychological atmosphere and in pleasant aesthetic surroundings.

#7. Overeating Style: Solo Dining
WPIE Rx: Share Fare

Our WPIE research revealed that the Solo Dining overeating style—eating alone more often than not—can influence how much you eat and your weight. The WPIE “prescription” for the Solo Dining overeating style is to enjoy food-related experiences with others as often as possible.  If you’re dining alone during the holiday season, reach out to people you like and share a virtual meal.

The Takeaway

As you become familiar with the WPIE strategies to overcome overeating, please keep in mind they are really a first step. The ingredients of WPIE are designed to be a lifetime practice; something you get better and better at each day as you rethink, reflect on, and make a conscious, intentional decision to rewrite your fundamental relationship to food, eating, and weight.

In other words, by thinking outside the diet with the Whole Person Integrative Eating dietary lifestyle, you up your odds of creating true change in what and how much you eat, and making weight loss last. Throughout the holiday season. And ALL WAYS.

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