We’ve all been there before. At our family holiday party with our elastic waistband pants on and ready to indulge in the buffet style feast. It always seems like a great idea until the food hangover hits and your stomach feels like it could explode and walking seems impossible. Why do we do this to ourselves each year when we know the awful outcomes? Fatigue, cramping, bloated, guilt, and holding up the line for the bathroom. This holiday season nip over-eating in the bud with these simple and useful tips.
- Never go to a party on an empty stomach. You may think you’re “saving calories” by skipping a few meals throughout the day knowing you have a party at night but you’re setting yourself up to consume more calories and overeat.
- Stay hydrated. Often we make the mistake of being hungry when really we are just thirsty or dehydrated. Go easy on the eggnog, Starbucks lattes, and alcohol beverages.
- Portion control! While portion control is always important, it seems to be pushed to the wayside during the holiday season. Moderation is key.
- Eat slowly. It takes anywhere from 10-20 minutes for your stomach to tell your brain that you are full. Eat slowly, take small bites, create conversation with those are you, or help with the dishes.
- Walk it off. So a few years back my entire family went to Charleston, South Carolina for Thanksgiving. It was quite warm in Charleston compared to what we were use to with Thanksgiving in Cincinnati each year. So my aunt insisted we all go on a walk after we stuffed our faces with our Thanksgiving meal. Initially, it received quite a bit of push back hence the name Charleston death march but it has quickly become a new and accepted tradition in our family. Whatever you do, just be active! Walk, clean dishes, run, play football, etc.
- H.A.L.T. Lastly think of the acronym H.A.L.T.
- H – Am I really hungry?
- A – Anxious or angry. Ask yourself if you are anxious, angry, stressed or another emotional reason?
- L – Lonely. Am I just lonely or bored?
- T – Tired. Am I tried or sleep deprived?
Think of the real reason you are eating. Is it because you haven’t consumed food or water in over 4-5 hours and are physically hungry? Or is it because the food is just there or you’re emotionally eating?
Allison Bokenkotter is an RDN in Cincinnati. In addition, she’s the diversity/national nutrition month chair for the Greater Cincinnati Dietetic Association. You can find her on LinkedIn: Allison Bokenkotter.