fter all the holiday parties, cookie exchanges, and baking extravaganzas are you feeling a little “stuffed?” Are you ready to tackle another big day of eating? Do you have any idea how you will survive the next serving of cookies, treats, breads, and indulgent fare
We talked a bit about the role of sugar and the holidays: why we crave the sweet relief so frequently may have something to do with stress management: Why Christmas Makes You Fat (It’s Not Your Fault)
So if we are already in a state of deficiency, stress, and exhaustion, how will we ever escape the cheese dip, chocolate truffles, and wine on Christmas day? The anxiety can be overwhelming just thinking about it. What’s next? The stress hormones pour out, and food pours in. Ugh.
Be gentle with yourself.
Berating yourself for lack of “willpower” is very damaging. First of all, get the willpower thing out of your head. Cravings and overeating really do not have much to do with willpower. Secondly, your body has a much easier time digesting your food when it isn’t guilt-covered. Enjoy the holidays. Love who you are. Find joy and pleasure in every moment.
And...if you would like to keep the stuffing in the bird and not in your pant size, give these a try:
10 Tips to Avoid the Extra “Stuffing”
Avoiding food so you can go crazy at your office party will blow up faster than a New Year’s firecracker. Instead of skipping meals, bolster your breakfast and lunch with lots of veggies and protein. And never, ever go to a holiday event hungry! Grab a snack and a large glass of water to keep you from becoming ravenous amongst the deviled eggs and snowball cookies.
Water, that is. It is very easy to find yourself with a hot beverage (coffee or tea) in your hand instead of water. Last weekend, I realized that my liquids consisted of coffee and wine! Trust me, it WILL catch up with you. Dehydration can cause cravings, so fill up your tank! Have a tall glass of water before your meal, between each dessert (because you KNOW there will be more than one!), and after each alcoholic drink to help keep your over indulgence to a minimum.
Digestion starts in your mouth. So does the pleasure of eating. You need to smell it, see it, and taste it thoroughly before you decide to swallow. Put your fork down between bites. Chew 30 times per spoonful. Experience your food. What does it taste like? How does it feel on your tongue. How does it feel going into your stomach? Does it sit in your stomach well? How do you feel right after? Does it give you the pleasure you desire?
Notice how each bite may taste differently. The pleasure principle may diminish with each bite. Learn to put the fork down when the pleasure is gone.
…the rush of insulin. When we overdo the carb heavy, sugar laden foods, our body dumps insulin into the bloodstream to shuttle the glucose into your cells. That’s all well and good, however, the more glucose swimming through your veins, the larger the insulin tidal wave, leaving you feeling fatigued and in search of the next quick fix for energy. You need to put something in front of the storm to blunt the insulin response. Enjoy a bit of protein PRIOR to your indulgence of choice to slow the glucose/insulin wave to a ripple. Try some nuts, a hard boiled egg, or maybe veggies and hummus.
…the cycle of tired, eat, tired, eat… The easiest way to become lost in the food storm is to let yourself become so exhausted that the first thing you reach for when you are hungry are the leftover cookies from the night before. Those quick fixes for your sleep deprived self will perpetuate a cycle of highs and lows due to nutrient deficiency and blood sugar instability. As challenging as it may be, get. some. rest. When you are tired, it is very easy to have a steady diet of coffee and chocolate. Or maybe that’s just me. When you are rested, you are more patient with yourself (and your kids) which diminishes the stress response to reach for a savory or sweet treat.
This shouldn’t be a problem with all the cleaning, wrapping, shopping, visiting, and holiday eventing you are doing. If you can throw in a quick jaunt outside, you may be amazed how refreshed you will feel. Not only will your stress drop a notch, but your blood sugar will regulate, and your energy will perk up! And burning a few extra calories can’t hurt either.
Stress may be the number one villain for holding you down and shoving food down your throat.
Here is my example: The school holiday party starts at 5. I forgot to wrap the present, the food needs to be packaged to travel, the kids are running around refusing to dress in the collard shirt and vest I promised my Grandma I would put them in, I got myself dressed but can’t find one of my earrings, I am breaking a sweat which makes my hair frizz, I get everyone out the door and the young one throws a tantrum…oh.. and my husband is at work.
How would this make you will feel upon arrival to the party? WINE AND CHOCOLATE PLEASE! Oh, you’ve never experienced this? Lucky you. Before you get out of the car. Breathe. Deep. Eight seconds in, hold for 4 seconds, and let it out for a slow 8 more seconds. Rinse, repeat 3 times. In fact, do that now. Go ahead, do it. Feel better? Me too. Now you can enter your party without ripping through the crowd to the treat table. Plus, people won’t think you are nuts *wink*
What are your triggers for going overboard with food? What situations push you to gobble down the cookies? Re-read my guest post and see which common cause resonates with you. Once you figure out what type of over-eater/sugar-eater you are, you can have a plan of action and a counterattack when you feel the need to pad the tummy.
Deprivation and self-loathing is painful. Enjoy these moments. Live to find pleasure. Try this exercise: write down 5 things that bring you pleasure (not food) that you can do in 5 minutes. Whip this out when you think food is what you need. Hug your child, pray to God, sip some tea, close your eyes, kiss your spouse, or write in your journal. Pleasure can be found in so many other areas of our lives, we just need a little reminder.
Remember what this season is all about. The birth of Jesus, time with family, peace, love, and goodwill towards others. Nowhere in that statement was their mention of red velvet cake or eggnog. Avoid the food table and loiter with a family member you haven’t seen for a bit or a lonely stranger who looks like he/she needs a friendly person to talk to. You won’t even miss the treats and your pants will still fit next week.
Go ahead and give these a try, unless, of course you rather ignore all this and just “live it up!” If that’s your pleasure, then I’m all for it. Guilt-free is best. But just for kicks, review the list and see if you can’t implement ONE strategy. Your body won’t mind if you do.
Selena Moffitt is a mom on a mission to help women survive motherhood through simple changes for herself and her family. Her blog 1 Moms Mission provides solutions for improved relationships with God, the Earth, and Yourself. In her spare time, she supports busy women in their quest for RADIANCE as a Holistic Nutrition Counselor. If you want to Rock the Radiant life, visit her new blog at www.RadLifeRocks.com coming soon!