The holiday season is synonymous with family gatherings, spreading good cheer, and of course, enjoying holiday meals together. But for many healthcare professionals, the holidays also signal increased cases of poor eating habits, and more specifically, overeating. Past research by Associated British Food showed that consumers eat a stunning 7,000 calories on Christmas Day, with breakfast coming in at over 1,100 calories alone. In a season where eating excessively is generally accepted, the temptation to overeat may be stronger than other parts of the year – and more difficult to overcome. Yet the effects are overeating are no different: weight gain, a higher risk of obesity, and various cardiovascular conditions. The good news is, with the use of integrated, whole-person nutrition and a few healthcare professional backed hacks, consumers can avoid the common temptation to overeat while still enjoying the Christmas holidays. With that in mind, here are three easy pieces of advice that can be given to concerned patients.
Focus More On The Conversation And Company, And Less On The Food
While the country has spent most of the year unable to connect with loved ones, many will be looking forward to seeing their families and catching up in person. Regardless of how small holiday gatherings are this year, many healthcare professionals recommend that patients try to shift the focus on spending quality time with their loved ones and not so much on the food. Looking at the day as an opportunity to spend valuable time with some special people in their lives means they spend less time eating.
Also, it helps patients to stay engaged throughout Christmas or the holiday season – a great way to stave off a binge or mindless eating. At the same time, they may want to practice mindful eating habits during Christmas dinner. Reach for small portions to start with and avoid waiting until Christmas dinner to eat on the day. At the table, chew slowly, take smaller bites, and leave room for conversation during the meal. Also, patients can use a smaller plate (such as a desert or starter plate), and try the use of sweet-smelling waxes to suppress their appetite. Candles with aromas like vanilla and citrus have been shown to help curb cravings and the urge to snack.
Don’t Avoid Indulging – Do It In Smaller Portions
A common mistake many make during the holidays is to restrict themselves from enjoying the indulgences of the season. Whether individuals are trying to lose weight this Christmas or want to stick to a healthy eating plan, forbidding themselves from reaching for the common Christmas food is more likely to backfire. In the end, many people may find themselves in a binge eating episode. Instead, patients should allow themselves to sample the different Christmas treats. To avoid overeating, choose small portions and a variety so that there’s no feeling of having missed out.
Do Your Christmas Food Shopping With A List
Lastly, remove temptation from your home by reducing the amount of Christmas food you buy this year. Every year, Americans spend $882 on Christmas gifts and food, which aids in the temptation to overeat. Of those surveyed, 32 percent of them went over their Christmas budget due to their food purchases. However, consumers can still enjoy the season and the treats that come with it by cutting down on their Christmas grocery list. When heading to the supermarkets, do so with a Christmas food shopping list. Remember not to vary it too much from the usual healthy food shop. It is also recommended that you do not neglect to plan your meals before doing the shopping and also, remember to meal plan for days beyond Christmas Day. Not only will this help to reduce food waste and the temptation to overeat, but it can also help the budget this Christmas.
Finally, advise your patients to look for ways to keep processed foods to a minimum. Keeping some intake of fresh, natural foods like fruits and whole grains helps to keep you satisfied for longer – and reduces the chances of you reaching for a snack. While the holidays may present more opportunities to be tempted to overeat, it is still possible to maintain control of your eating habits. Small, simple steps like these are easy for patients to remember and can make all the difference in helping them to avoid overeating this year.
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*Author Credit to Allie Oliver