Tips to avoid overindulging during the holidays

By Emilie Paradis

The holiday festivities are on the way! This is the time of year when we savour traditional feasts, maybe have more wine and cocktails than usual. It is a joyful moment that we share with our loved ones, when we take the time to relax, get out of the routine and perhaps overindulge a bit. As we want to enjoy all the upside of the celebrations without feeling remorse or physical discomfort, here are some tweaks to help find a balance during the holidays:

  • Stay hydrated! Starting the day with a glass of water will hydrate the body. A convenient way to ensure that we drink enough during the day is to keep a large bottle of water handy. Also having a glass before each meal is a great way to control the appetite.
  • Eat three meals a day and do not skip! Often, we think that skipping a meal to be able to indulge in the next one is a great way to equalize the calories eaten during the day. But this is wrong thinking. I recommend snacking on greens and vegetables before or on your way to the party. It will help calm that hunger and the obsession some of us may have around the never-ending amount of food available.
  • Plan and prepare for events in advance. If possible, look at the menu and select what to eat. And there is no need to attend all of the parties!
  • Reserve a time in the morning for your physical activities. That way, if anything unexpected shows up, it won’t disrupt your exercise regimen. You will feel great, energized and it’s a good way to start your day.
  • If you choose not to eat certain foods or drink alcohol, you do not have to mention it. Do not make an issue of it, you do not need to justify yourself, just say “no, thank you” with a big smile. Getting into conversations about it can not only create frustrations, it can also make you doubt your decision.
  • Occupy yourself with games or play with the kids. Staying out of the kitchen and away from the snack table will help to distract your mind from all the temptations. All too often, we eat even when we are not hungry but just because the goodies are readily available!
  • If you bring a dish to the party, it is the perfect occasion to be creative and make something healthy. That way you will be certain to have a healthy option.
  • Holidays are a time when we go to bed later than usual. That often deprives us of a few hours of sleep. Taking a nap will help to recuperate some sleep and also balance blood glucose levels. Missing sleep may affect our decision-making. Many studies show that lacking sleep makes us crave high carbohydrate foods.
  • Take a moment before eating to be grateful or even to meditate. It calms the nervous system and can slow down the pace of eating.
  • If you can, only eat at the table and avoid snacking.
  • Use smaller dinnerware. When we use larger plates, we tend to eat more.
  • If you decide that this meal is the “happy meal,” then go for it and enjoy every bite of it! But make sure the next meal is balanced with proteins and greens!

Wishing you a wonderful holiday season with your loved ones and an amazing year to come, in health, wealth and happiness!

Emilie Paradis, holistic nutritionist, personal trainer and mobility coach, is co-owner of InStep.

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