5 Tips to Avoid Over-Eating at Christmas
5 Ways To Avoid Overeating This Christmas
It’s the holiday season. That strange, ever expanding period of the year that marks the build up to Christmas, full of boozy parties, reckless abandon and gastronomical decadence. This is the perfect time to, ‘let go’ and ‘have another beer/pie/day off from the gym’ and, given its constantly extending nature, destroy the fruits of your labour. So here are our 5 top tips to try to minimise the damage we do to ourselves:
1. Don’t Do It
Yep. don’t do it. Willpower, grit and determination. Every time they offer you more food, say no, leave your plate half full, starve yourself and stare longingly as everyone gorges themselves on the free food at the Christmas party. Cry into your water at the family BBQ. Sound fun?
No, not really. You want more than that? Okay, here are a few healthy tips to help you feel less hungry and less tempted by the foods around you:
1. Pay attention to what you eat
We spend all year watching our diets, making sensible choices and small culinary sacrifices. Then suddenly, around December 12th, that all goes out the window. One sniff of appetisers or a tray of tapas wafting under your nose, we forget and just grab what we can while we can. Make sure you keep making the same choices (to some extent). Try to keep the focus on protein instead of carbs and fibre rich foods. Avoiding too many the filled pastries, rice and potatoes has obvious benefits and the fibre rich foods are generally more filling and “tend” to be lower in fat and calories.
2. Drink More Water
This will help you out in 3 very definite ways.
- Water fills you up – N, I know, not the greatest insight, but then why aren’t you doing it already? Oh, you are? Well done, keep it up.
- Your body confuses the signals of dehydration with hunger. Amazing right, but studies have shown that nearly ¼ of all feelings of hunger can be attributed to dehydration.
- Drunken food cravings – .It’s Christmas, you will probably be drinking alcohol. By drinking water with alcohol, you will not only stave off intoxication but also those crazy cravings for a late night pizza or kebabs.
3. Don’t Go Hungry
This may seem like a slight oxymoron, but the best way to avoid over-eating is to eat. The real problem is the temptation to eat too much or stuff yourself with unhealthy food, not avoiding eating itself. So many people will starve themselves in preparation for an unhealthy meal, which is actually completely irrational. Rather than eating healthily as they would normally and making sensible food decisions, they will build themselves into a ravenous state of hunger and unleash the beast on unhealthy food.. If you are hungry during the day, don’t hold out for that dinner, grab a piece of fruit and give yourself a better chance in the battle for self-control.
4. Exercise Before A Big Meal
A classic piece of advice for the overeater, but it actually works. Exercising before a meal, whether it’s a workout or walk, will help you avoid overeating and piling on the Christmas Kilos. Apart from the obvious cardiovascular benefits, and the effect on your mood there is biological science linking exercise and appetite. Exercising increases protein levels in your hypothalamus which in turn increases the sensitivity of the most important appetite controlling hormones. Exercising can also send your brain the message that it is satisfied and reduce the desire to over-eat.
5. Slow Your Workout
High intensity or highly anaerobic exercises will deplete your body’s glycogen stores suddenly, which stimulate a spike in ghrelin, leptin and NPY’s activity in the hypothalamus. The NPY (Neuropeptide Y) will make you crave sweet and starchy foods as the grehlin and leptin increase your general appetite. This will make avoiding the ever-present holiday banquet even more difficult. You should look to keep your Christmas workouts at moderate intensity to keep yourself ticking over.