The holidays are here, and whether you are doing a sugar cleanse or you did one and want to stick to healthy eating, the holidays is the time of the year that makes things absolutely difficult. We have family dinners to attend, we get together with friends, and things can get really complicated if we have to go to a buffet or restaurant. It is tempting to be around unhealthy foods, lots of sweets, and tons of deadly carbs and be immune. It can become a difficult task even for a pro-dieter or a nutritionist.
This situation can bring a binge- eating reaction followed by remorse, regret, and guilt. So, no matter your motive, you need a plan this holiday season. Whether you want to keep your blood sugar balanced, maintain a healthy weight, or decrease inflammation, a plan is always healthy. But not an overwhelming one that requires you to diet with no point, because in that case, you will not enjoy your holidays.
I was in that situation some holidays ago and decided to put a survival mode together. It is a survival kit that can help you not only master your cravings but still enjoy the holidays without “New Year guilt”.
A Word About Food
Foods remind us of who we are and where we came from. Food is a tradition that is passed from generation to generation. For most people, it signifies time spent with a loving grandmother or when we learned our first cooking steps with our mother. Foods can be comforting, some use foods to fill an empty gap left by the death of someone dear or to get over a painful breakup. So, irrespective of age, background, and belief, foods bring us together.
When it becomes a toxic relationship…
But what if that same feeling of comfort becomes an addiction. What if we start using food to feel better, to repeat happy or painful moments, or to feel closer to home even though we are far.
Other reasons are:
the loss of someone dear who used to cook for us;
a toxic relationship or a bad breakup;
low self-esteem; and
What we are looking for is the sensation of happiness that we once felt. When we are no longer happy or we just want a little reminder of a sweet moment, we use food to replace that emptiness as any addict would do.
Unfortunately, TV commercials and fliers use that against us to sell us cheap foods with no nutritional value, especially during the holidays. It’s their favorite time of the year because it is the season where we get those feelings and memories. Plus we get to visit family and friends, attend dinners, and get together where we will be served foods that we can’t and won’t refuse. That’ll make us look terribly bad if we just decide not to eat; especially when auntie made us sugar-laden gluten-free treats. We would be like the Grinch who decided to steal Christmas.
Without further ado, here is how to survive:
Have enough water in your system.
Most people confuse their thirst with hunger and think that they need food when what they actually need is water. We tend to forget to drink water or refuse to keep ourselves hydrated to avoid flatulence.
Studies reveal that drinking enough water can not only help us quench our thirst but it can help with the following:
Water lubricates the joints and works as a greaser.
Drinking enough water helps support healthy digestion.
It can assist metabolism.
It can also help boost energy and decrease fatigue.
Before you go to that party or that get together, make sure to have a glass of water; if possible squeeze the juice of half a lemon or lime into your water. The combination of water and the lemon juice can help you stop eating excessively and provide the sensation of being full.
You can use smaller plates to fool your eyes. The smaller the plate, the smaller the portions. This can make you feel full and stop eating. Ta-da.
Choose low-glycemic greens.
When you are at that party, make sure to add some low-glycemic carbs to your plate such as:
cucumber, and so on.
It is the best way to achieve steady blood sugar and a balanced metabolism and curb appetite.
Have clean protein.
Your next course should contain at least one healthy protein; make it your first bite. Yes, you read right. Your first bite should be that of a protein as this can help you control craving and food binging. Doing this will also help in balancing blood sugar levels.
Fish and seafood,
Nuts and seeds,
Chickpeas and hummus,
Have something with fat.
Besides protein, one of the best ways to feel full is to have healthy fats. You are probably thinking that healthy fats are not easy to find on a menu or a party tray. But whether you are in a restaurant, a fancy buffet, or a Christmas party, there is always avocado. So, enjoy a piece of avocado with your food, the avocado will give you the feeling of being full.
If you are in luck you might be able to ask for fermented foods to accompany your meal. Some fermented foods are listed below:
Other fermented foods like yogurt and raw cheese; unless you are lactose intolerant. Most party trays are always full of cheese and pickles.
We are used to doing everything fast because some of us grew up in a fast-paced environment, we never take the time to slow down and enjoy life. We have developed a “let’s get it over with attitude.” We don’t even taste the food anymore. That excessive fast-eating habit can cause more craving, more binging, and more guilt later on. Take your time to listen to the conversation, the music; enjoy the taste of your food and chew slowly.
Still can’t stop eating
It is not uncommon that some people keep eating even when they are full. In that case, try chewing some xylitol gums. They contain no sugar and will refresh your breath and give your mouth something to do. Chewing xylitol gums can also provide a feeling of satiation, it is best to carry your own pack.
Stop using food as an excuse.
I’ve been in a situation where I grabbed a plate of food and just hid behind it and ate until nothing was left. This only happens when I want to avoid certain people. We need to have the gut to stand for ourselves and stop using food as an excuse. If the food is your getaway to a painful conversation, then have a glass of sparkling water to make it fancy and stop that eating habit.
Control your emotions.
I was there too; eating unhealthy foods and then complain afterward. I would binge and then regret it later. I can tell you the guilt, regret, and shame is worse than the excessive eating itself. It is not about will power, it’s about the emotions that come with food. Find out your weakness and harness the courage to heal.
The holidays are a time to remember those who are in need. The idea is not to make you feel guilty but to remind you that you can do something great today; by sharing your food with others. In that case, eat less.
It is wise to abstain from eating cheap carbs. You can start by avoiding the bread basket because bread can cause a rapid rise in blood sugar, causing the urge to eat more carbs and keep eating until there is nothing left to eat.
13, December 2020