We’re officially in the thick of the holiday season. Have you woken up with a “food hangover” yet? That gross feeling of nausea, a cloudy mind, and a bloated belly? Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwaanza and Solstice parties are major trigger zones for those of us who stress-eat.

Did you find yourself binge eating last night? Here are three things you MUST do this morning:

1. Eat breakfast.

You’ll be tempted to skip breakfast for two reasons: one, you’re likely still full from the night before, and two, you feel guilty for the rampage you just went on. Well, don’t. Prepare yourself a small-to-medium morning meal rich in protein and fat. Protein has the effect of stabilizing your blood sugar, which will help you feel better, and fat will keep you fuller for longer. Depriving yourself of a couple of eggs or a bowl of yogurt will throw your eating (and blood sugar) schedule off once again, and it will also create a “punishment” mentality (“I ate too much, so I don’t deserve to eat again”). Neither of these things will help heal your emotional eating habit. In fact, they’ll make it worse. Choose to be kind to yourself.

2. Track the trigger.

What, exactly, set you off into binge-land last night? Was is the fact that the table was loaded with brownies, which happen to be your kryptonite? Was is the argument you had with your significant other on the way over? Was it the fact that you haven’t taken a deep breath in lord-knows-how-long? Did you skip eating all day so that you could indulge at night? Binge eating always has a trigger. If you think back you’ll be able to identify yours. Once you do that, you can use this information to…

3. Trouble-shoot future food events in advance.

Got another food-fest coming up this weekend? If you’ve figured out what caused your binge last time, that can help you avoid one at the next party. For instance, you may have been feeling uncomfortable about how you look, trying on multiple outfits and makeup only to end up sighing in despair at that extra weight / crazy hair / weird-shaped thighs / (fill in your own). Then you stepped into a party where it seemed as though everyone just jumped out of the pages of the Sundance catalog (or insert your own – I’m in Boulder so that “look” works ). As a result, you turned to the gingerbread cookies for solace. If you know that appearance – yours and others – is going to be a trigger for you, plan some time before the next event to acknowledge how you feel. You may need to have a cry, or to whack a pillow in frustration. Your feelings aren’t going to change overnight, but you’d be amazed at how helpful it is to acknowledge them.