How to Avoid Overindulging this Holiday Season
The holiday season is upon us. I don’t know about you, but I love this time of year – the nip in the air, the selection of holiday treats in the supermarkets, the lights, celebrations and of course the excitement of planning gifts for our nearest and dearest. It’s my favourite time of year by far.
The one drawback about holidays is the tendency to overindulge and then feel riddled with guilt over it. So, how do we break that cycle???
It is possible to enjoy traditional holiday meals without launching into an intense food coma – it’s just a case of finding the balance. Even your favourite meals can be balanced with regular portion sizes and plenty of vegetables. Don’t rule out the healthy side dishes completely.
Enjoy your Food
Give yourself permission to enjoy whatever holiday meals and food you want. Some dishes we only enjoy once a year so take your time and savour them. Don’t just wolf it down without noticing how good it looks, smells and tastes. Notice how much you need to feel full and satisfied and try not to go past that point.
If you are enjoying your food and have given yourself permission to eat, savour and enjoy it, there should be no room for guilt. As we’ve discussed before, food is fuel for our bodies, yes, but it’s also a social experience to be enjoyed with those we care about. Eat what makes you feel good and allow yourself to enjoy it without feeling guilty. Guilt can easily destroy a good day or happy celebration, give it the heave ho!
Easier said than done sometimes, especially when a holiday tradition revolves around eating too much followed by afternoon naps before the second sitting. Listen to your body – don’t fill your plate with foods you don’t want but are piling up out of habit; if you don’t love mashed potatoes, don’t eat them, save the space for the foods you really want instead. You can stop at feeling comfortably full, you don’t have to go overboard.
Eat slowly, Chew and Digest
When you’re faced with a delicious meal you only eat once a year, it’s too easy to shovel it into your mouth without chewing properly. By taking a little more time to chew and eat slowly, you’re helping your digestion and giving yourself a better chance of avoiding that stuffed, uncomfortable feeling. I think we’d all agree that a special dinner feels a lot more special when it’s not followed by heartburn.
Slow Down and Enjoy it
This doesn’t just apply to the food side of the holidays. All too often we get caught up in the rush of shopping, preparing, making plans, cooking then fussing over everyone else to pause, take a moment and truly enjoy the experience. The holidays mean something different to all of us, and, we all look forward to different aspects. For me, it’s giving and spending time with the people I care about; when I’m busy dealing with or worrying about other things, I don’t enjoy the parts I look forward to every year. I also love the food. I love Christmas dinner; planning the menu, shopping, preparing, cooking, laying the table, serving the people I love and sitting together to enjoy the occasion. It’s special and it happens in this way too rarely. I love inviting special people to join us and seeing their enjoyment in partaking in our family traditions, it adds a layer of something extra special to the day. There’s a lot to be grateful for, a lot to be shared and given, and a lot to be enjoyed at this time of year, and none of it involves an overstuffed tummy bursting out of my clothes because I filled up on one too many desserts. No one wants to see that. When I’m mindful, balanced and savour my food, I really can have my cake and eat it too; so can you.
Wishing you all a very happy and healthy holiday season!
Health Coach & Nutritional Therapist
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