We’ve heard from many people at the box that the following problems are the top 3 nutrition struggles people face at the holidays.
Luckily for you, I struggle with ALL three at the same time (overindulging is my super power) and have had to learn some tricks to keep myself from doing it. 😉
While I love food, I really hate how I feel after when I do let myself overindulge.
So what are the top 3 struggles?
Ah, the Holiday Food Baby. All that food just tastes so good and is totally worth going back for seconds – and thirds! Until 30 minutes later when you can barely move and are so uncomfortable because you’re SO FULL.
How to avoid overeating
Fill half of your plate with veggies. Then, eat those first AND aim to chew each bite at least 30 times. It might sound excessive, but most people actually don’t chew their food anywhere near enough.
Eating slowly and mindfully gives your body time to register when it’s had enough. Then it can send the correct hormones to signal that you’re full.
Often we just wolf food down and don’t give our bodies time to catch up and by the time it does, you’re in a food coma on the couch, wishing you hadn’t eaten so much.
If, after taking time on your first serving – which will also allow you to fully appreciate the taste – you still feel hungry, go back for seconds. But give yourself a full 15 minutes before you do. This time, take much smaller portions than before. And take your time eating it.
In my experience, by the time I’ve finally eaten my first plate and given myself the 15 minute buffer, I decide to skip my seconds and just save room for dessert.
2. Pumpkin pie (and other sweets)
Mmmm, dessert. The wonderful thing about the holidays is that there are just so many to choose from. Surely, though, I’m going to tell you to skip this entirely.
How to avoid the sugar guilt
First, use a small dessert plate. Not the salad plate – the tiny one. Use this plate for dessert and don’t go back for seconds. You don’t want a food baby.
Now, if you’d normally eat a giant slice of pumpkin pie and nothing else, I’m going to encourage you to just take a smaller piece of pie. How small? It should not fill up the tiny plate – you should have plenty of “white space” around it (and I’m not talking about whipped cream).
If you like to have a little bit of everything, though, have a little bit of everything. Only pretend you’re at Costco and they’re giving out sample sizes. Don’t take full-size servings of everything.
The same rule applies here when it comes to chewing. The idea isn’t that you’re sitting there counting all night, though, but that you’re really taking the time to savor your food.
If you sit and take the time to enjoy what you’re eating, it should satisfy you so you don’t feel the urge to get more.
3. Wine (and other alcohol)
It is way too easy to overdo it here. You’re having a great time, the drinks are flowing and it’s just so easy to say yes if someone asks if you’d like another pour.
Or, you’re feeling seriously anxious and using this to cope.
Either way, you’re in control here and you’ve got this. You just need a plan.
How to avoid overdrinking
Set a limit ahead of time. Sometimes all you need is the awareness that you tend to overdo it and a limit you decide on ahead of time. If you realize that you tend to drink x amount, and you don’t like how you feel after, decide ahead of time to only drink y amount.
Drink plenty of water. We’ve all heard the rule that you should drink a glass of water (or two) for every drink you have. It applies here so you don’t feel terrible in the morning. It will also take up some stomach volume and trigger the “don’t overdo it here” hormones.
Drink it slowly. I’m sensing a theme here … Just like your meal, take the time to savor what you’re drinking. There’s no rush, so there’s no need to chug.
Thanksgiving is still a few weeks away, which means you have some time to practice. Start chewing each bite 30 times and waiting 15 minutes before going back for more. Savor every bit of your small serving of sweets and be done. Set limits each time you drink and drink slowly.
These tips will help you through the holidays and the rest of the year as well.