Six Tips to Curb the Holiday Eating Extravagances

Christina Miller: MD, Integrative & Functional Medicine, Nutrition Education Trainer

Have you been indulging on sweet treats, comfort foods, and your favorite holiday dishes? Have you found that once you start, it’s hard to stop? There are literally sweet excesses and “treats” everywhere these days, even if you’re trying to be “good”.

Unfortunately, this can leave you not only feeling guilty with difficulty buttoning your pants, but it also has a greater effect on your body and mind. Remember, food is information, and the message being sent is to increase inflammation and insulin, which leads to fat storage and elevated dopamine levels, which leads to greater food cravings and the need to have more. I know this firsthand, as I used to experience significant food cravings and the need for more over the holidays.

How can you get back on track? Starting right now, it’s time to break the cycle.

Here are 6 easy tips to start RIGHT NOW.

  • Drink water: Many of us forget to drink enough, and this can lead to thinking we are hungry, when we are thirsty. Reset your hunger hormones by replenishing the fluids your body needs.
  • Slow down: The craziness and stress of the holidays increase our cortisol levels, which leads to increased appetite, especially for carbohydrate-rich foods. You can lower cortisol with slow, deep breaths (focus on a longer exhale), or any other mindful activities you like to do. If you meditate, this is a good time to continue the practice. Even a few minutes will help break the cycle and reground you.
  • Start your next meal with a large salad: The raw veggies and fiber will help reset your hormones and help supply the nutrients your body may be craving, especially as it deals with the excess oxidative stress from the holiday feasting. Finish with a piece of fresh fruit.
  • Get sleep: When we sleep, we reset our hunger hormones and decrease our stress hormones. This helps reduce food cravings and makes it easier to make better food choices. Try to prioritize sleep time, especially during this busy season.
  • Get outdoors and move: Even if it’s snowing or raining, at least take a walk. The fresh air, the movement, and the time outdoors is essential to getting back on track.
  • Enjoy the moment: Try not to be hard on yourself. The holidays are a magical time for a reason. Enjoy the season, while at the same time, remember to nourish yourself. Investing in your great health may be the best gift you can give to yourself and your loved ones. Don’t wait for the new year. Start right now.