As the holiday season approaches, our attention turns to all the delicacies that will be on the table and that we will eventually eat. This, however, brings also a feeling of overindulgence, overeating, and feeling full. When we eat more than we need our body uses much of its energy to digest food, thus making us feel tired and sleepy.
So who wants to be tired during the December festivities?
These 5 methods will help you avoid overeating, or at least too much of it during the holidays.
If you are going to a party where the table will be full of temptations, make sure you don't go hungry. We all know how hunger provokes us to "attack" food and doesn't even allow us to feel pleasure from it. Eating a balanced meal containing no less than 20 g of protein, enough complex carbohydrates and fats to satiate us is great prevention of overeating. It will also allow us to be more relaxed around food and enjoy other emotions. However, when we are hungry our focus is mainly on what to eat and not on the surrounding Christmas decorations, for example, which is the essence of this time of the year.
Overeating and excessive consumption of food are a type of compensatory behavior for the body. In other words, it needs to catch up with food that was not given to it at the right moment. It is quite common to delay and skip meals because later we will be exposed to large amounts of food and thus the opportunity to eat more. It is important to understand that when the body is hungry, it does not care about your future meal plans. Making sure that we eat regularly without skipping any of the main meals of the day (i.e. breakfast, lunch, dinner, etc.) will ensure that our body gets the nutrients it needs when it needs them and therefore it will not need to overeat at the sight of food.
Just because it's Christmas doesn't mean we have bury ourselves in all the sweet and salty foods we can find in the store. Christmas is the time to show respect not only to the people around us, but also to ourselves – by not eating too much harmful foods like it is our last day on earth – we can get this food all year round, but not wrapped in Christmas decoration. Make your home fresher and more colorful by surrounding yourself mainly with fresh foods such as fruits and vegetables, and let all the packaged food be a compliment rather than accent.
The one thing that studies are certain that definitely predisposes us to overeating, it's watching television while eating. The reason is that our brain "turns off" when we watch TV and is not sensitive enough to feelings of satiety. Try to eat when the TV is not working - this is also a great opportunity to create an interesting conversation with your family.
You have probably heard phrases like "Come on, eat some more". "Why don't you eat, don't you like it?" Other people's pressure to eat more than we want and our worrying that we might offend our companions, are the leading reasons for overeating. It is important to understand that it is human nature to drive those around us to overeat when we have done so ourselves. Or simply as a confirmation that our dish is tasty. Responding to the invitation to eat, however, can be a great excuse to turn our backs on our own feelings and desires. Building healthy boundaries and being able to say "no thanks" is a great way to reduce overeating during the Christmas holidays.
Nellie is a clinical nutritional therapist, nutritional psychologist and lecturer in Psychology at two universities in the United Kingdom. Her approach to nutrition is based on building long-lasting healthy habits, not only around what we eat, but also the way we think. You can learn more about Neli here.