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Four Ways to Avoid Holiday Overeating

Four Ways to Avoid Holiday Overeating

holiday overeating

    The season is upon us: vodka-fueled work parties and pretending you love your coworkers. The stretch from Thanksgiving to New Years is a virtual onslaught of calories and if not managed well can put a roadblock in front of all the great work you’ve done with your health. So dust off your ugly Christmas sweater and grab a ‘nog-based beverage as I show you four ways to help avoid holiday overeating!

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    1. To avoid holiday overeating, slow down when you eat!

    This applies all year round since the faster you eat, the more you will consume before feeling full. When you eat too fast you override the signals from your stomach to your brain that indicate that it is full and has had enough gingerbread for one sitting. The average person eats meals in three to five minutes (sometimes in less time) and this throws the body out of whack. Ideally, you want to take fifteen to twenty minutes to eat to let those signals work naturally. If you’re at a party, be conscious of the time you spend eating because eating too quickly causes you to over-consume as you’ve essentially short-circuited the fullness-signal mechanism. If you’re at a dinner or restaurant, try to be the last one to finish your meal.

    2. Don’t go to events hungry.

    This goes hand-in-hand with point one because when you walk into an event already starving you tend to go into “abominable snowman mode” and decimate whatever helpless food platter stands in your way. Those poor coconut shrimp didn’t even see what hit them! This is similar to why you shouldn’t grocery shop on an empty stomach since you tend to buy what you want now as opposed to later and at parties that have an abundance of undesirable treats this can be a disaster. Make sure to have a good meal beforehand that contains protein, fiber, and healthy fat to help keep you fuller for longer and you’ll avoid eating your weight in Toblerone.

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    3. Start with protein and veggies before hitting the treats.

    If you get to a holiday event and haven’t been able to eat beforehand, do yourself a favor and focus on those foods that promote fullness such as protein and fiber. This way you can tame that hunger beast a bit before it goes wild on a yule log (the cake- not the block of wood for the fire). The other advantage of going for protein and veggies is that it helps stabilize your blood sugar before you descend on the treats. If you go straight for sugar-based choices you can say hello to your good friend the blood sugar spike which will result in the inevitable crash, the craving for more sugar, and the whole vicious cycle kicks in, like the constant regifting of a label-maker. Most every party or function will have some sort of veggie and cheese platter and deli meats, so go for those before you dive headfirst into the chocolate fondue fountain.

    4. Make sure to drink enough water.

    Along with protein, fiber, and healthy fats, water is another thing that helps satiate you. The signal of dehydration can often be  confused with that of hunger, and food can be turned to when a glass or two of water would have done the trick. Go for a glass or two of water before any food comes out and it might not only help with you overeating but help keep you hydrated at the same time. You’re going to need it after the candy cane jello shots!

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    Wrapping it up

    It can be tough to avoid holiday overeating, and one big point I want to, um, point out is that the holidays need to be a time to enjoy yourself and not feel totally deprived. We only live once so we need to enjoy moments with friends and family. Don’t beat yourself up for indulging. It’s important to indulge but not over-indulge. If you’ve been working hard on your health, you don’t want to go off the rails and throw a huge wrench into all the good work you’ve been doing. If your health has been a priority to you the last year, try to make the best choices possible this time of year so that you can keep on rolling with it and not have to be rolled out the door!

    Featured photo credit: OakleyOriginals via flickr.com

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    Jamie Logie

    Jamie is a personal trainer and health coach with a degree in Kinesiology and Food and Nutrition.

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    Last Updated on November 11, 2019

    How to Improve Memory and Boost Your Brainpower

    How to Improve Memory and Boost Your Brainpower

    Have you ever noticed that some people are able to effortlessly remember even the most mundane details and quickly comprehend new things? Well, you can too!

    To unlock the full potential of your brain, you need to keep it active and acute. Wasting time on your couch watching mindless television shows or scrolling through facebook is not going to help.

    Besides getting out flashcards, what can you do to help remember things better and learn new things more quickly? Check out these 10 effective ways on how to improve memory:

    1. Exercise and Get Your Body Moving

    Exercising doesn’t just exercise the body, it also helps to exercise your brain. Obesity and the myriad of diseases that eventually set in as a result of being overweight can cause serious harm to the brain.

    Furthermore, without regular exercise, plaque starts to build up in your arteries, and your blood vessels begin to lose the ability to effectively pump blood. Plaque buildup leads to heart attacks and it also reduces the amount of oxygen and nutrients that your blood carries to your brain. When the nutrients don’t make it there, the brain’s ability to function is compromised.

    To prevent this from happening, make sure you get moving every day. Even if it’s just a brisk walk, it’ll help you maintain and increase your mental acuity. Brisk walking, swimming and dancing are all excellent activities. Take a look at these 5 Ways to Find Time for Exercise.

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    2. Eliminate Stressors and Seek Help If You’re Depressed

    Anything that causes you major stress, like anger or anxiety, will in time begin to eat away the parts of your brain that are responsible for memory. Amongst the most brain-damaging stressors is depression, which is actually often misdiagnosed a a memory problem since one of its primary symptoms is the inability to concentrate.

    If you can’t concentrate, then you might feel like you are constantly forgetting things. Depression increases the levels of cortisol in your bloodstream which elevates the cortisol levels in the brain. Doctors have found that increased cortisol diminishes certain areas of the brain, especially the hippocampus which is where short-term memories are stored.

    Prolonged depression can thus destroy your brain’s ability to remember anything new. Seek professional help to combat your depression – your brain will thank you.

    3. Get a Good Night’s Sleep and Take Naps

    Getting a consistent 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night will increase your memory. During sleep, the brain firms up memories of recently acquired information.

    Getting enough sleep will help you get through the full spectrum of nocturnal cycles that are essential to optimal brain and body functioning during the waking hours. Taking a nap throughout the day, especially after learning something new, can also help you to retain those memories as well as recharge your brain and keep it sharper longer.

    4. Feed Your Brain

    Fifty to sixty percent of the brain’s overall weight is pure fat, which is used to insulate its billions of nerve cells. The better insulated a cell is, the faster it can send messages and the quicker you will be thinking.

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    This is precisely why parents are advised to feed their young children whole milk and to restrict dieting – their brains’ need fat to grow and work properly. Skimping on fats can be devastating even to the adult brain.

    Thus, eating foods that contain a healthy mix of fats is vital for long-term memory. Some excellent food choices include fish (especially anchovies, mackerel and wild salmon) and dark leafy green vegetables. Here’re more brain food choices: 12 Foods that Can Improve Your Brain Power

    Deep-fried foods obviously contain fat but their lack of nutritional value is not going to help your brain or your body, so think healthy foods and fats.

    5. Eat Breakfast and Make Sure It Includes an Egg

    According to Larry McCleary, M.D., author of  The Brain Trust Program, an egg is the ideal breakfast. Eggs contain B vitamins which help nerve cells to burn glucose, antioxidants that protect neurons against damage; and omega-3 fatty acids that keep nerve cells firing at optimal speed.

    Other foods to add to your breakfast include fruits, veggies and lean proteins. Avoid trans fats and high fructose corn syrup. Trans fats diminish the brain cells’ ability to communicate with each other and HFCS can actually shrink the brain by damaging cells.

    Having a healthy breakfast in the morning has been shown to improve performance throughout the day. If you’re too busy to have a healthy breakfast, this maybe just right for you: 33 Quick And Healthy Breakfasts For Busy Mornings

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    6. Write it Down

    If there’s something you want to remember, writing it down can help.

    It may sound like a no-brainer, but do you really know why? Writing it down creates oxygenated blood flow to areas of your brain that a responsible for your memories and literally exercises those parts of it. Here’s How Writing Things Down Can Change Your Life.

    You can start a journal, write yourself emails or even start keeping a blog – all of these activities will help to improve your capacity to remember and memorize information.

    7. Listen to Music

    Research shows that certain types of music are very helpful in recalling memories. Information that is learned while listening to a particular song or collection can often be recalled by thinking of the song or “playing” it mentally. Songs and music can serve as cues for pulling up particular memories.

    8. Visual Concepts

    In order to remember things, many people need to visualize the information they are studying.

    Pay attention to photographers, charts and other graphics that might appear in your textbook; or if you’re not studying a book, try to pull up a mental image of what it is you are trying to remember. It might also help to draw your own charts or figures, or utilize colors and highlighters to group related ideas in your notes.

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    Here, you can learn How to Become a Person Who Can Visualize Results.

    9. Teach Someone Else

    Reading material out loud has been shown to significantly improve memory of the material. Expanding further upon this idea is the fact that psychologists and educators have found that by having students teach new concepts to others, it helps to enhance understanding and recall.

    Teach new concepts and information to a friend or study partner, and you’ll find you remember the information a lot better.

    10. Do Crossword Puzzles, Read or Play Cards

    Studies have shown that doing crossword puzzles, read or play cards on a daily basis not only keep your brain active but also help to delay memory loss, especially in those who develop dementia.

    So pick up the daily newspaper and work on that crossword puzzle, read a book or enjoy a game of solitaire.

    Pick one to two of these tips first and start applying them to your everyday life. Very soon you’ll find yourself having better memories and a clearer head!

    More About Boosting Memory

    Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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