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6 Ways to Avoid Overeating During the Holidays

6 Ways to Avoid Overeating During the Holidays

Ah, the holidays…

A time of caroling, eggnog and good old-fashioned mall tramplings…

Mix into that some time with family and work functions and you have a pretty busy time of year—and a time of year where your diet and healthy eating choices get thrown out quicker than a sweater I got from my great aunt.

The holidays are tough because it is a time you want to treat yourself and it’s also a time where people forget what they’re eating. So whether it be a work lunch, a family get-together or any holiday event that involves more food than a cruise ship buffet, here are 6 ways to help avoid overeating.

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1. Don’t go to an event on an empty stomach.

This is probably one of the most important tips for the holidays or any other event. Going into a party or function when you’re starving is setting yourself up for disaster. Your eyes will become bigger than your stomach and you will want to eat everything in sight. Also, when hungry, we tend to crave things like sugar and refined carbohydrates, which are public enemy number 1 in the pursuit of a healthy lifestyle.

Eating a quality meal that includes some healthy fats and protein prior to an event will help keep you fuller, longer and less likely to jump on the first plate of crab cakes you see.

This tip also works for grocery shopping. Don’t shop on an empty stomach as you will tend to pick the items that look immediately satisfying or that you are craving which again tend to be those refined carbs and sugar.

2. Change your mindset to “I can have it but I don’t want it”.

This can actually be beneficial when you really have a tough time avoiding culinary temptations. Too much of the time we beat ourselves up saying we can’t have something. Switching that mindset of “I can’t have it” to “I can have it but I don’t want it” can actually cause some powerful changes in how you view what you can and cannot have.

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The connection between the mind and food has actually been looked at through studies from Yale that look at how psychological factors can even influence the biological impact of food. Your mind, like your karaoke skills, is a powerful thing.

3. Drink water.

Sometimes hunger signals are actually mistaken for dehydration. Drinking water throughout the day will help to alleviate this potential signal cross. Also having a glass or two of water before you hit the snack table will be a nice little way to help avoid eating an entire figgy pudding..

4. Eat slowly.

The feeling of fullness can take around 20 minutes before the brain recognizes the signals. Eating too quickly overrides these signals causing you to eat more than your body would naturally prefer. We tend to lived in a rushed world and we don’t give those satiation signals a chance to work so slowing down your eating will help you avoid eating more than you actually need.

The best way to do this is keep an eye on the clock and focus on chewing your food quite thoroughly. We tend to stuff food in our mouths, give a few quick chews, and then get ‘er down the hatch. People who chew longer ultimately take longer to eat and report feeling fuller. You will also eat around 10% fewer calories eating slower as opposed to rushing. This slower eating will also help digestion and avoid feelings of cramping and discomfort.

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5. Focus on protein.

If it’s impossible to avoid all the baked good and desserts on offer, at least try to consume protein before you dive into them. Eating protein prior to the ingestion of sugars is going to help minimize blood sugar spikes. Protein is also helpful in making you feel full. The foods that best promote satiety contain protein, water, fiber and healthy fats.

Protein also increases metabolism as it requires calories in the digestion and absorption of it in a process called thermogenesis

Protein sources in the form of nuts are usually plentiful during the holidays and will help you from overeating any refined sugar and high glycemic choices. Starting the night off with sources of protein like that will help in the overeating long haul. If only they could help with that hideous tie you chose…

6. No need to be too hard on yourself for holidays.

I can go on about keeping blood sugar levels under control and making sure leptin resistance isn’t occurring, etc, etc, but we are human and it is the holidays.

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As a fitness professional, I’m not going to pretend I don’t indulge from time to time. We have these events and foods in our lives that should be recognized as celebrations and enjoyment. Don’t beat yourself up because you had a little extra candy cane ice cream. Just make sure you keep an eye on it so it doesn’t get out of hand and ultimately create discomfort. If you have been keeping on top of your fitness and nutrition, you’re winning in the long run.

Don’t consider the holidays a “slip up” and remember: it’s not going to undo all the good work you’ve been doing. When it comes to your diet just remember, progress not perfection.

Now please pass the figgy pudding. Whatever that is…

Featured photo credit: David Goehring via flic.kr

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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 March 13, 2019

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

1. Work on the small tasks.

When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

2. Take a break from your work desk.

Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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3. Upgrade yourself

Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

4. Talk to a friend.

Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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6. Paint a vision to work towards.

If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

7. Read a book (or blog).

The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

8. Have a quick nap.

If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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9. Remember why you are doing this.

Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

10. Find some competition.

Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

11. Go exercise.

Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

12. Take a good break.

Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

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Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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