By: Jennifer McMillen Smith, MSSA, LISW-S, Division of Infectious Disease and medically reviewed by Ann Avery, Infectious Disease Physician at Metrohealth Medical Center
Avoid Getting Full During the Holidays
When we sit down to eat during the holidays, we all have the same plan: unbutton the top button on our jeans. 😉 A clear sign that holiday food makes no exception when it comes to how much you eat or how full you might get. It’s also a sign of good food and a good time (and maybe time to find more forgiving holiday outfits).
Unfortunately, this also means the feeling coming from food can be bothersome. Totally understandable – we all tend to overeat around the holidays and there is no shame in that! 👌🏾 But it can be uncomfy for our bellies and pants. Often at the end of the year, we’re thinking of new year’s resolutions of losing weight and reaching healthier goals. When we get full, this can lead to worry, anxiety, and stress leading up to the new year and makes our goals even harder to achieve. 😩
Here are some tips on how you can avoid becoming too full during the holidays.
But before we get too deep, let it be known: ✨our bodies are beautiful✨, and that beauty exists in all sizes. Surely, there’s pressure to fight off those quarantine blues by running several miles each day, experimenting with recipes, or learning a new language. As ambitious as that sounds, surviving is enough right now. If you’ve gained weight, it’s okay. It happens and you are doing a great job! 👏🏿👏🏿👏🏿
Drink plenty of water 💦
Try drinking several glasses of water before The Big Hurray. Water helps with digestion and gives you the full feeling. Water also helps with hydrating the body. Besides going to the bathroom, what are the disadvantages of drinking water? Literally nothing.
Be active with family 🏃🏽♀️🧘🏽♀️🕺🏾
We’re not talking about running a 10K or a marathon (unless you’re into that!). This could be stretching. Maybe, after the first round, we make sure the oven and stove are completely off and go for a short walk around the corner. That way, we can use the body’s fuel from the food to power us in some sort of activity. Abilities are all different, and if you can join in with others, this could be a great way to pass the time with loved ones.
Eat a snack before "The Dinner" 😋
Ever heard the advice about not going grocery shopping while hungry? This is a close cousin. Have something on your stomach before “the main event”. Skipping meals in anticipation of the big meal can lead to overeating and not enough portion control. In doing this, you could get sick or be completely wiped out. Then, the big nap comes. We’re tired just thinking about it. 😴
Consider portion sizes 🤔
If you usually will have enough for seconds, pace yourself. Get a healthy, big spoonful of your favorites. Eat them, take a break, then get another spoonful. Your plate doesn’t need to look like a mountain.
Use smaller plates 🍽
This is a good trick to use to fool your mind. Most likely, a small plate carries less food. Plus, you can fill up that smaller plate faster than the larger plate. Once you clear the small plate of food, you can go for more rounds with less chance of getting full. MAGIC!
Focus on consuming protein 🍗🐟
Protein can be chicken, turkey, pork, fish, or beef. Protein can also be seitan, tofu, or beans. Protein is also beneficial for weight control because it increases your metabolism and levels of appetite-reducing hormones. In fact, eating protein with meals may automatically reduce calorie intake by reducing hunger and appetite
Have fun with vegetables 🥦🥕
You really can’t go wrong with having vegetables. Just make sure they’re seasoned properly (but not too much salt). Green, leafy vegetables are your best bet.
Take breaks before Seconds ✌🏽
Need we say more?
Fill up on fiber 🥬🍎
Eating fiber can reduce total calorie intake, which may help prevent weight gain over the holidays. Plus, most common holiday foods lack lots of fiber. Foods rich in fiber include vegetables, fruits, legumes, whole grains, nuts, and seeds.
Limit desserts 🍰🍪
The desserts pack the punch for sugar intake. Enjoy your favorite sweets. Also, consider portion size. Desserts can also work in rounds. You can rank your favorites and eat them one by one. If feeling full on the second slice, you may not feel obligated to cut a third slice. You can save it for later.
Give Yourself Grace 😇
Lastly, be kind to yourself. Eat what you like, what brings you joy. Enjoy the time with your friends and family, not counting calories and macronutrients. If there’s a healthy dish you want, maybe you can make it and bring it to share with others. These tips are not laws. They can provide some guidance but select which ones work best for you.
Happy Holidays, y’all! ❤️