How to avoid overeating during this Christmas?
N.B. This blog is also available in Finnish and you’ll find it here
It’s that time of the year again; spending time with your family, having days off, relaxing and having fun. And let’s not forget the food! Food is maybe the first thing that comes on your mind when talking about Christmas and holidays, if I’m not totally wrong. And after food comes overeating, gaining weight and feeling uncomfortable in your own skin…
But what if it doesn’t have to be that way? Would you be interested in if I told you that you can enjoy Christmas fully and you don’t need to start any diet after the holidays? With these tips all of this is possible 😉 .
Before I share my tips with you, I want to give you a little reminder: An average adult stomach can comfortably hold only about one liter of food and drink. Any more than that and things start to get uncomfortable. Of course, a human body is more than flexible, but that’s the point at latest where you should start thinking if the new round in a buffet is really necessary…
Don’t skip meals. It sounds tempting to skip breakfast and “save” calories for the big feasting at Christmas dinner, doesn’t it? First mistaken step! Start with nutritious breakfast and follow your normal eating routines, not forgetting (healthy) snacks. This way you’ll keep your blood sugar levels constant, and you won’t end up eating everything in your sight when it’s time for Christmas dinner.
Drink enough water. Getting dehydrated during the winter may sound ridiculous, but believe me, it’s quite common. Make sure that you drink enough water throughout the day, as even a slightest thirst can trick you into thinking that you’re hungry. And if alcohol is part of your Christmas, you have even more reasons to drink few glasses more water.
Don’t snack while cooking. If your job is to prepare dinner for others, wait patiently for meal time with others. If you taste a little bit of this and a little bit of that while you’re cooking, you’ll end up eating hundreds of calories without even noticing it…
Don’t eat each of the available options at once. Moms want to spoil everyone at Christmas which means that there are everyone’s favorites on Christmas dinner. I like salmon, you like turkey and grandpa likes glazed ham, so of course we all get our favorites. For dessert I want pavlova, you love chocolate and grandpa has always had Christmas pudding so those all will be served, just to make sure that everyone is happy. I could go on with this list, but I’m sure you’ve got the point.
But what if you would divide all different dishes on different meals this year, or at least some of them? Being surrounded with a variety of tempting dishes encourages our minds to keep eating long after we’ve had enough, and most of us will end up eating too much. Have salmon for lunch and turkey for dinner, and maybe glazed ham the day after. Suggest this to your mom, there’s much less to prepare and stress for when doing this way!
Remember portion control also on Christmas table. Fill half of the plate with all the greens, fruits and veggies, one quarter with protein and the rest with high-calorie choices. There’s no reason to skip all the “worse options”, but don’t go crazy with them 😉 .
Eat what you love. If you don’t like cookies that much, don’t eat them. If chocolate is your thing, choose it and leave the rest. Simple as that! Just because someone put a variety of cakes, pastries, puddings, sweets and cookies on the table and your uncle is eating them, it doesn’t mean that you need to try them. Don’t waste calories overeating something that doesn’t even taste that good.
Eat Slowly. If you normally inhale your meal in five minutes, you need to slow down; it helps your mind and body to register the fullness and you’ll also enjoy more of all the flavors of the treats you’re having.
Be careful with alcohol. Alcohol can lessen your inhibitions and induce overeating, and I think it’s needless to say that alcohol offers you only with calories…
Stay active. Take a quick walk with your family in a fresh air, go ice skating or do some yoga, whatever makes you to move your body in some other way than from the couch to the kitchen and back. Making time for 30-60 minutes of exercise, will keep your metabolism running and without even noticing it, burn a few hundred extra calories. It also helps to maintain proper bowel function, alleviate the gassy feeling and reduce constipation.
Staying active is also a natural detox for your system because it helps you to sweat out all the toxins from your body!
And yes, I don’t buy an explanation that Christmas lasts only for a limited period, it’s not an excuse to overindulge. There will be also a lot of similar situations during the year like New Year’s Eve, Valentine’s Day, Easter, summer barbecues, bank holidays, Halloween, dozens of birthdays and anniversary celebrations… So, let’s not cheat ourselves or anyone else during these holidays, and let’s make some better choices on this Christmas!