November 24, 2014

How to Cope with Eating Through the Holidays -Part 2

This week, we continue our series with the wonderful Kristen Kancler in which she shares with us how we can be SAFE around food. If you missed last week's post, check it out here.  

Also be sure to check out her free gift, “6 Simple Recipes to Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth – Without Sugar!”

Navigating Trigger Situations

Thanksgiving, the most notorious day for overeating, is just a few days away. And with it, the holiday season will be official.

Whether you’ll be hosting for others, traveling to them, dining with dozens of family members, or celebrating solo, chances are you’ll be faced with a multitude of emotions.

Perhaps you’ll feel joy and excitement. Maybe stress and overwhelm. Maybe sadness.

For many of us, and survivors of sexual abuse in particular, these emotions can trigger a compulsion to eat. And you end up feeling out of control, seeking comfort from your food.

In my first post of this series, I shared one of the most powerful things you can do to feel balanced and in control.

But being in control isn’t just about knowing what to eat. It’s also necessary to look at why you’re eating. What’s going on that you’re turning to food for comfort?

These answers are deeper inside; they’re underneath your cravings.

A large part of the work I do with my clients is helping you get in tune with your emotions on an ongoing basis so that you’re actually in the world differently and able to move through situations with grace and ease.

But I think the most powerful tip I can give you right now is for how to deal with the in-the-moment trigger situations.

After looking closely at how I’ve successfully navigated my own trigger situations, I came up with a 4-step process (plus an acronym to help you remember it):

This is my SAFE – which is great because that’s what you most need to feel when you’re triggered.

Step 1: S = Surroundings

Change them. Pull over the car. Get out of the kitchen. Step outside. Changing your environment snaps your brain out of the one-way train it was on and suddenly has to take in new input from new surroundings. The first thing you need to do to interrupt the pattern is change your surroundings. 

Step 2: A = Arrive

Be in the new space. Take a minute just to land, and get present. This is really a crucial step. 

Step 3: F = Feel

Allow yourself to feel what’s there. What just happened? What’s going on? How are you feeling? Are you angry? Disappointed or stressed? This is the thing you’re wanting to eat over. And sometimes just naming the emotion can be a huge relief. 

Step 4: E = Explore

Ask yourself: “What do I really need?” (And I’ll give you a hint: it’s not a cookie). Maybe you need to take a deep breath. Maybe you need to have a good cry. Maybe something really upsetting just happened. Maybe you need to laugh – you’ve been stressed all day and need some lightness in your life. Take 2 minutes to yourself. More if you can.


It makes all the difference going through this process, getting out of the triggered moment and tapped in to your emotions.

A lot of the women I work with have disconnected from their feelings. They brush them aside, laugh them off, or put on a front because it’s scary and uncomfortable to feel what’s really going on inside.

But here’s something that I really want you to get: the only thing your feeling wants is to be felt. So when you brush it aside or bury it, it doesn’t go away, it gets stronger.

And you have to eat more and more to keep it quiet. That’s why it’s so important to feel your feelings. So you can move through them and let them go.

One of my clients came to me feeling stressed and overwhelmed at work. She didn’t feel confident and she found that she was triggered and turning to food to calm herself down.

She started practicing the SAFE exercise as a tool to deal with things in the moment. She started to feel more in control, which was great! And then we did an exercise (which I’ll share with you in my next post) to find where the lack of confidence and overwhelm originated from. We discovered that it went back to an incident when she was really young, and the thing that was missing in her life was play!

So she started painting on the weekends and found that it opened her mind, sparked her creativity, and her flow.

She was able to tap in to her intuition, learn to trust herself, and let go of trying so hard to prove herself all the time.

Her life opened up in an entirely new way and she felt more confident than she had in years. And doing that released her need to turn to food because she wasn’t stressed out all the time.

She was able to bring balance to her life and trust that she has all the answers she needs inside.

Healing emotional eating is a layered process. There are many aspects to it. Some great places to start are by balancing your body with these 3 steps, trying some of my favorite recipes (download my free e-book, “6 Simple Recipes to Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth – Without Sugar!”) and following my SAFE process when you’re triggered.

With these tips, you can have a completely new – and empowered holiday season.

In my final post next week, I’ll be diving into self-sabotage. You’ll learn what’s really happening – and what you need to do to finally follow through and transform your relationship with food and your body. Stay tuned!

To get your copy of “6 Simple Recipes to Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth – Without Sugar!” go to and be sure to come back next week to learn more!


Kristen Anne Kancler is an Emotional Eating Expert and the founder of “Your Delicious Life,” a one-on-one program for women who daydream about how fabulous they’ll feel once they get their eating under control but end up on the couch with a pint of ice cream.

By getting to the root of what creates your sabotaging patterns, she works with you, personally, to help you put down the spoon… wave goodbye to “I’ll be better tomorrow”… and say, “YES!” to a delicious life – today.

Former Health and Wellness Editor for Glam Media, graduate of UC Santa Barbara and the Natural Gourmet Institute for Health in Manhattan, and reformed pastry chef, Kristen is a role model for healthy eating and living a delicious lifestyle.

After struggling with diets, compulsive eating, and sugar addiction for 20 years, she finally found the answers she needed to find peace with food, feel healthy in her body, and fall deeply and sweetly in love with her life.

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