During this time of year we tend to eat more than normal. We also stay up later, exercise less, then eat and drink more. So, what can you do to make sure you don’t gobble til you wobble?
There is science behind why we overeat. When your stomach is empty, a hunger-stimulating hormone called ghrelin is released and tells your brain to eat. Leptin is another hormone that is released when you’re full. Our bodies are biologically wired to crave high energy foods in the winter season – sugary, fatty, carb-heavy foods which used to be scarce (think hunter-gatherer era). The problem is that our brain has not evolved with the industrial era. We have access to food all the time now, but our brain still craves the sugar, fat and carbs when it becomes dark and cold. Hence, the tendency to overeat, we no longer have scarcity to force us to fast.
Here are some easy tips to keep our waist lines in check:
- Stress – Stress during holidays alone can also make you overeat. Since there are so many more temptations, make sure you are not eating because you are stressed. Don’t eat to cover up emotions. This is where Intuitive Eating comes into play. Before each meal understand your hunger and during your meal check into your fullness and satisfaction. The first few bites of the meal is the most satisfying. Trust your body and try not to feel too guilty about your food choices.
- Eat Protein – Eating protein can help keep cravings at bay and keep your blood sugars stable so your energy doesn’t drop (causing a sugary craving).
- Portion Control – We tend to overeat if we have large portions on our plates. Instead of filling your plate till it overflows, try taking small scoops of everything.
- Choose Your Vegetables – When you sit down for these amazing holiday meals, make sure that 1/2 your plate is full of vegetables (AND try to limit the marshmallow topping or creamed veggies). If you are at a party, hit the veggie tray first. After that, fill your plate with the cooked veggies and have the protein be the size of your palm.
- Eat Before You Go – When headed to a party or even before a big holiday dinner, do a protein shake an hour before so you’re not starving. This will decrease the ghrenlin in your body so that you can make smarter choices.
- Copycat – You are more likely to choose food like the others around you. So, sit next to someone who makes better choices.
- Be Mindful – Slow down and chew your food thoroughly. Make sure you are chewing each bite and put your fork down between bites to help you slow down.
- Digestive Enzymes – I also like to take digestive enzymes with my meals. Digestive enzymes aid in the breaking down and processing of specific types of nutrients found in food, supporting healthy digestion and important nutrient absorption. Digestive enzymes such as protease and lactase help the body to digest difficult to process foods, such as dairy in the case of lactase, and may reduce some of the symptoms such as gas and bloating that can be caused by eating poorly tolerated foods. We carry Seeking Health Pro-Digestion in the office for occassions such as cheat days. You may even consider Apex Energetics Gluten Flam in case you decide to have a piece of GLUTEN pie or a dinner roll… 😛
Don’t beat yourself up if you do eat more on Thanksgiving or during the Holidays. Just remember that tomorrow is a new day and we are going to do Whole 30 in January. Drink lots of water the next day – at least 10 glasses to help flush out the sodium. Thanksgiving may contain upwards of 2000 milligrams of sodium!
Also, try not to fall asleep directly after a meal… schedule some movement (not exercise) that feels good. Your body and mind will thank you for it.
In health and happiness,