How to combat overeating and avoid weight gain over the holidays
NOTE: Even just adopting one of these habits can help you feel healthier and happier!
During the silly season, healthy eating can get challenging! It doesn't take long before the non-stop eating and drinking at the Christmas parties and BBQs begins to feel overwhelming.
If you're struggling to feel in control around food and want to avoid gaining weight this holiday season, here are some of my favourite practical healthy habits to adopt:
1. Avoid under eating or skipping meal (particularly on the day of a party)
It can be tempting to skip meals to 'balance it all out' - particularly when you have another party to go to that night! But skipping meals during the day is dangerous because it can cause you to arrive at a party ravenous and thats when you will eat anything and everything in sight. Under eating during the day can also make you hangry (hungry + angry) - Not ideal when you're meant to be socialising...
2. Focus on getting more veggies (not less calories)
Instead of trying to eat less or fewer calories, focus on eating more vegetables and you will naturally 'keep it light'. If you're hungry for breakfast, have some eggs, cherry tomatoes and sautéed mushrooms. Opt for a hearty salad for lunch and fruit between meals. Pick a dinner with lean protein and lots of vegetables. Naturally, you'll eat less energy without realising and won't need to risk becoming too ravenous and overeating...
3. Eat when you're hungry and respond accordingly
Some times when you have a big meal the night before, you're less hungry in the morning. Don't ignore this hunger response and eat your 'normal' breakfast. If all you need to feel satiated is a coffee with milk and a banana, then great. Simply wait until you get hungry again and then respond. There is a difference between under eating (avoiding food, feeling hungry, trying to be 'good') and listening to your hunger (don't feel hungry, happy to wait).
4. Change how you catch up
Instead of meeting your pals for brunch next week, how about a walk along the water? Can you swap that long lunch for a breakfast so you'll skip the cocktails and wine? If the plan is to catch up over cocktails - can suggest a wine bar instead? Can you invite everyone to your house for a healthy cook up? Not only will you feel better for it, you'll also save money.
5. Prioritise sleep
It's easy to overeat when you're tired (many 3pm sugar cravings are caused by being tired)! When you're overtired, you body craves energy often in the form of sugar and carbohydrates (think lollies, treats, bread). If you get to bed late one night, make sure you give yourself a sleep in the next morning or get to sleep earlier the night before. Consistently burning the candle from both ends will make you tired, likely leading to overeating. What I am saying is: Give yourself permission to sleep in!
6. Drink more water
With all the drinking, it's easy to get dehydrated which can lead to mindless grazing. Try this: Have a big glass of water with every meal. I place a large jug of water on the table for dinner every night. If you don't have a nice drink water bottle, treat yourself to a reusable design you really like. It's healthy habit to adopt. Hint: Once you start drinking more water, you'll become thirstier so it will be easier to maintain.
7. Move more
Find small ways to move more. Next time you plan to catch up with a friend (or even a colleague) suggest going for a walk together instead. Or how about getting off the earlier train or bus stop and walking instead... Even 5 minutes extra can make a difference to how you feel emotionally and your body.
7. Accept that you didn't fail
Don't beat yourself up over the fact that you ate too much. It's happens and it's fine! The most important thing is that you see it as an opportunity to learn. It's only a failure if you take nothing positive away from it. Ask yourself important questions like 'why did I overeat'? That way, you can create an action plan to help avoid the same mistake again. Use this simple trick to help!
I'll be sharing more tips on my Instagram over the next few weeks so make sure you follow me there!
Want to learn how to listen to your hunger and forget extreme eating? Want to learn how to cope with over eating? Need a little help 'adjusting your sail' instead of starting a new diet?
It's all in the BodyLove eCourse, designed to help you heal your relationship with food and feel in control at meal times.