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The Holidays are Here: Minimizing the Holiday Eating “Binge”

holiday eating

The point, of course, is not to binge during your holiday eating. But we all know that’s easier said than done, especially during the holidays. So, to help minimize the damage, here are some tips:

The Days LEADING UP

Eat 3 regular meals a day. Regardless of whether you like it or not, your body thrives on routine. Biological processes function best when they are done at approximately the same time every day. Eating is one of the key factors in regulating routine in the body; it sets up an internal clock. When your eating is erratic, the biological processes are also erratic and can start to function less optimally. Maximize your metabolism and decrease your hunger pangs by making sure to eat at regular intervals leading up to “the day”.

Don’t deprive yourself of cravings. Unless you have self-discipline of steel, this tactic will only get you to go bonkers once all the delicious food is laid out in front of you. In the days leading up, allow yourself some goodies in moderation.

Fill up on veggies and fiber. Your meals should consist mainly of leafy greens and high-fiber foods (flax, chia, legumes, fruit). You want to keep your bowels functioning optimally and vegetables can fill you up without the excess calories.

Warm lemon water every morning. Aside from the alkalinizing benefits, drinking lemon water has been shown to be extremely supportive for liver and gallbladder functioning. During a “binge” the liver is working overtime trying to process all of the extra food that is being consumed. Likewise, the gallbladder, which is responsible for emulsifying fats, will be getting hit hard. Lemon water will help to encourage both of these organs.

Get active. This will release endorphins (making it less likely to binge for emotional reasons), ramp up your metabolism throughout the day (getting rid extra calories more efficiently), and increase circulation (allowing all body functions to work optimally). We all know the benefits of exercise. As Nike coined: Just Do It.

The DAY OF

holiday eating

Have a hearty, healthy breakfast. Studies have shown that those who eat a healthy breakfast are less likely to overeat as the day goes on. Same rules apply during holidays.

Don’t starve; eat when you’re hungry. All day long, you’re cooking and surrounded by mouth-watering dishes and scrumptious smells. This is bound to get your gastric juices flowing. When you hear that first grumble, put together some greens, an avocado, a protein of choice, sit down, relax, and eat. It’ll keep you from picking from that bag of marshmallows on the counter, the bag of chips that accidentally got opened, or the fancy cheese that was meant for the guests.

Drink a glass of water per glass of “drink”. Wine, beer, toddy, cider, spiced rum, nog…whatever your drink of choice, go ahead, celebrate! Just alternate the drinks with a full glass of water. The tipsier you get, the more you’re likely to overeat. Stay hydrated and minimize your chances of making bad decisions.

Turn on the music and dance. There are some who wake up an hour earlier to go for a morning jog before the festivities begin. If that isn’t you, you can still get your heart pumping to some music while you cook.

The AFTERMATH

No regrets. No guilt. What’s done is done. There’s no point in spending your energy feeling guilty. Instead, start fresh! Go for a jog, drink a ton of water, and give your gut a break by eating small portions and focusing on greens.

Helpful digestive herbs. Great in teas and infusions.

  • Peppermint: helpful for nausea, general indigestion, irritable bowel syndrome, mental fatigue, and in dissolving gallstones.
  • Chamomile: helpful for acid reflux, gas, indigestion, irritability, and for calming nerves.
  • Ginger: helpful for slow digestion, sluggishness, increasing bile secretion (for emulsifying fats) and digestive enzymes, gas, and nausea.
  • Dandelion leaf: helpful for stabilizing blood sugar, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and a good food source for beneficial gut bacteria.
  • Licorice: helpful for gastric ulcers and supporting liver function. Avoid if you have high blood pressure.
Photo Credit: Marissa Gawel, Matthew Yeo
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