It’s that time of year when you tend to eat and drink more, much more than you normally do. What happens when you overeat? In come the feelings of guilt, feeling super fat or heavy accompanied with a new found determination to make some sort of exercise more, lose weight type of New Year’s resolutions. Have you done that? What is the one thing you say to yourself when you go for that chocolate mint pie or eggnog cake, ‘Oh I really shouldn’t…Alright then, it is the holidays after all.” Between Thanksgiving and New Years is the one time of year when most people just give in and eat everything because January 1st is right around the corner. A fresh start.
You don’t need to do that to your body. Especially if you are a day over 25 years old. It takes longer to shift that weight. Don’t start the New Year 5-10 lbs heavier than you need to be.
What if I told you that you could eat what you wished? I am not going to tell you to ditch the carbs, sugars or wine. I am not going to give you recipes for sugar-free or gluten free chocolate cake substitutes. Cutting carbs and sugars are serious dietary decisions you need to make on your own when the timing is right. What I will tell you is a way to enjoy the holiday season without overeating. HOW you eat is just as important as WHAT you eat.
Restricting yourself often leads to overeating. You may give your favourite carby dish or dessert the pass the first time around but then when willpower fails you, you go in big.
Why not try eating what is on your plate slowly? Once we start eating, our body needs time to adjust and react. There is a lot going on in our brain, stomach, digestive system. It takes about 20 minutes for the necessary hormones to be released to our brain letting us know that we are full. Having this as a time frame, grab yourself a plate trying whatever you like. Give yourself 20 minutes to eat your first plate. Seems easy enough, right?
Now don’t get me wrong. I am not suggesting you shove as much food in your mouth in 20 minutes. Instead you want to take your time eating. Slowing down and allowing the time your body needs to do its magic.
Here are 4 ways to easily slow down your eating:
- Make sure you are in a good mood when you eat. Did you know that stress actually shuts down your digestion? If you are in a good mood when you eat, you digestion will be working properly. You’re off to a great start.
- Chew your food. Most people don’t chew their food good enough. A couple of chomps and then it is on to the next bite. Digestion begins when you take your first bite. Carb and fat digestion begin in your mouth. Digestive enzymes are found in your saliva which will start breaking down your food before it hits your stomach. Take your time and chew your food.
- Breathe. Oxygen is an often ignored key nutrient that speeds up your metabolism. Try to take your time and allow the oxygen into your body by taking deep breaths between bites. More oxygen, faster metabolism.
- Put your fork down between bites. This is a good delaying tactic for those of us who are quick to eat. When you feel like you want to take the next bite: relax, breathe in, and chew the food already in your mouth. Take a moment to savour the food you are eating.
Make that first helping last 20 minutes. Eating slowly allows biochemical changes to occur that make you less inclined to eat. Should your first helping only last 10 minutes, don’t go in for seconds right away. Wait until the 20 minute mark and see if you still want more. Chances are you will feel full after 20 minutes.
I have tried this already. It is amazing how well it works. I thought that I would never be full with a small plate but it works when you take your time to eat. I usually avoid the scales. Lately I have been feeling that I have put on weight because I haven’t kept a regular gym schedule like I used to. I have also allowed all the deliciousness of carby European bread sneak into my diet, along with potatoes, sugar, and pasta. Sure I have gone soft in a few places but I had one big surprise when I got on the scale the other day. I have not put on any additional weight. Say what?!! I could not believe it. I have eating my food more slowly to thank.
Why not try it? You don’t have to change anything you eat, doesn’t cost any money and you get to enjoy the holidays without overeating!
Let me know how you get on.
Do you have an awesome tip on how not to overindulge during the holidays? I’d love to hear it.