it’s that time of year from now until Super Bowl where a good amount of the struggles start to happen.
Thanksgiving and Christmas are fantastic times of the year. Let’s face it……family, friends, presents, love, good memories, fireplaces, hot apple cider, hot chocolate………the list could go on.
With all those good feelings, for some people it can be extremely stressful and overwhelming. I’m not talking about the shopping for presents and dealing with the crowds; I’m talking about the battle in your minds with food.
I know for me in years past, I would really get stressed about this time of year because I knew I was going to be inundated with food, drink and more food. It freaked me out that I felt I was getting ready, mentally for warfare. It wasn’t so much a fun and festive time for me, because of that I missed out on a lot of things being consumed with my thoughts of food and the battle to come.
Can anyone relate to that? Does anyone else struggle with this?
Well, let me see if I can put a few things in perspective and then provide some tips and encouragement for you.
These are holidays and people always put the emphasis on food more than gifts. Sounds crazy right? It’s true, people will sit around a table for hours on end eating, drinking and then doing it some more.
I recently watched an episode from the Hunger Games: Catching Fire where the main characters are at this party with all this food around them, no way you would be able to try it all in one evening………….they offered them a drink and when Peeta asked what it was, they told him it was to help him throw up the food so he can have more, you have to try it all because it’s all so good and amazing.
Well, that is not appealing to me at all (it’s called binge and purge which is bulemia, an eating disorder which is serious, but I am not going to discuss it here at this time), but yet that is how society is surrounding food. Eat it all up, taste all of it…….it’s like an orgy for your mouth.
So, what do you do for the holidays? I say, enjoy the 2 days out of the year, but within reason. Don’t go overboard that you feel stuffed and sick, that isn’t a pleasant experience. The temptation is to want to taste many things offered. Just plan ahead – make sure you have a macrobalanced breakfast. Don’t wait all day to eat and then think, I will fill up on Thanksgiving dinner. That is not the way to plan and you won’t feel well and overeat in the process. Pick out your 3 favorites with good portions, not so the plate is overflowing. That way, you are eating what you really like the most and won’t feel deprived. Also, don’t worry about feeling guilty for not trying something or that you’re being rude, you’re not. I refuse offers all the time and people just say ok. It’s not a big deal to say no, it’s your choice to eat what you want. Having poor health as a result isn’t the outcome we’re looking for. We want to be healthy and have fun during the holidays.
When it comes to desserts, pick your absolute favorite and enjoy it.
I do recommend that you make sure to get enough protein to balance out the carbohydrates. Also, have smaller portions of the carbohydrates to balance with the protein, that will help you not to “crash” after the meal.
Take your time not to rush, savor the flavor of whatever you decide to eat. Being a food addict, I eat very fast, I’m better now than I used to be, but it’s still a struggle for me. When I really make the effort to chew slowly, I notice I really taste the food so much more and enjoy it too.
See the issue isn’t the one day, but all the days in between with the left overs or things that family or friends brought over. How many of you are trying to send the food away with people for fear you will eat it all? I think we have all done it at one time or another.
I say, take some of the food and put it away in the fridge. Then check out this idea……..
Set up a buffet style table with all the leftovers and provide the guests with to go packaging. That way, you have what you want already in your fridge (you won’t feel you lost out – come on, I know the feeling of someone taking the food away and the anxiety there won’t be any left for me, let’s be honest) They will leave with something for lunch or dinner the next day and get what they really wanted because the setup is buffet style. You can really have fun with this and enjoy it………….giving more as they walk out the door.
Now some people like to exercise to burn off the extra food that they typically don’t eat. If that is you, please do so and go for a brisk walk or 2. Honestly, it doesn’t matter which time of day you exercise, in fact, there’s been a lot of research on this over the past 6 months and it doesn’t matter when you exercise. If you like it in the morning, afternoon or evening, just do it and enjoy!
- Have a well macrobalanced breakfast and avoid snacking throughout the morning. There will be plenty when it’s meal time to eat.
- Choose 3 of your favorites and make sure you have enough protein to balance out the carbohydrates
- Do some exercising if you want to whenever you’d like during the day.
- Remember that the carbohydrates to control are potatoes, rice, breads, desserts and alcohol. I would suggest, turkey, green beans, and potatoes – If you want the alcohol – nix the dessert……if you want the potatoes, then nix the alcohol or dessert. Pick one complex carbohydrate.
- Take smaller bites – they big and small bites taste the same. The smaller bites will be better because you will eat less and have the same satisfaction.
- The day after a holiday you’re usually dehydrated. You may think you’re hungry, but you’re dehydrated. You should typically take in 8-14 glasses a day, but I would definitely go towards the 14 glasses when recovering from the holiday meal.
- Exercise – run or walk 10 mins, then go lift some weights, then go bike for 10 mins, then go lift weights again or yoga – stretching is beneficial for activating the muscle metabolism. This back and forth really aids in activating the muscles and keeps the heart rate working well.
I wish you all the best holiday season. Enjoy your time with your family and friends.
Peace and love,
**some of the information is from Dr. Donald Layman