How To Enjoy The Holiday Season Without Overeating
The weather is warming up and the summer holidays are just around the corner. I love this time of year, I love the delicious summer fruit on offer, spending summer afternoons and evenings with loved ones whether its at a picnic, by the pool or a barbecue, and I love the warm weather. But with all the joy that come with this time of year, there's also a lot of negative talk about food and eating, and it's as if the holiday season is synonymous with overeating, and you can't have one without the other! But if you're ready to get rid of this way of thinking, then you really can enjoy yourself this holiday season, without feeling the need to eat until you are overfull and very uncomfortable. These are a few tips I use to avoid overeating, while still enjoying my favourite foods. This helps me to enjoy the other activities that are going on because I am not caught up thinking about what I should or shouldn't eat, and not feeling sick because I've eaten too much (because believe me, I've been there too).
1. Stop restricting - when we restrict food, and tell ourselves we shouldn't eat certain foods because they are 'bad' for us, we are actually putting that food on a pedestal and making it even more appealing. We end up restricting the food for as long as we can, then eventually we give up and eat the food we've been missing because restriction can never last forever. Then because we labelled this food as bad, we end up feeling guilty for eating up, which leads to more restriction, then the cycle continues. If we stop restricting certain foods and give ourselves permission to eat all foods we enjoy, these foods will eventually lose their power over us. Then when we chose to eat different foods it will be because we want to, not because we've been 'good' or 'bad' or can't be bothered anymore.
2. Fill your plate with more vegetables - aim to eat a rainbow of colour. Change your thinking to creating and enjoying delicious meals made with seasonal fruits and vegetables. There's so many delicious seasonal produce on offer over summer, so it's a great opportunity to get creative with fresh ingredients. Filling our plates with delicious fresh fruits and vegetables will also ensure that we are eating foods that make our bodies feel good, and makes our energy and moods more stable. Aim to eat a rainbow of colour, and see how many different colours you can get on your plate.
3. Enjoy non-food activities - holiday season and food-related activities often go hand in hand, but there can be fun non-food related activities too. Go for a walk with a friend to look at the Christmas lights in your suburb, go to the pool or beach, play a game of Finska or backyard cricket. I'm not saying to avoid food-related activities, certainly they can and should be included, but having some other fun activities can help keep things more balanced. A break from work can also be a great opportunity to fit more morning walks in to your schedule.
4. End the 'it's only one meal' mentality - you can literally have this food at any time of year if you want, and there will almost definitely be leftovers for you to enjoy tomorrow. Focus on eating to make your body feel good, and know that when you next want this food it will still be there for you.
5. Make sure you are having regular meals - leading up to a meal where we know there will be lots of delicious choices on offer, we can be tempted to skip a meal to 'save room' for all of the delicious food that is coming up. Unfortunately, when we enter a meal over hungry, we are more likely to eat quickly and then overeat because we haven't given our stomach time to send the signal to our brain letting it know that it is feeling satisfied. Instead of skipping meals, make sure you have something small to eat to stop yourself from getting over hungry and to prevent yourself from overeating.
6. Check in with how you are feeling - when you are eating, take breaks and check in with how your body is feeling. Are you continuing to eat because you are still hungry or really enjoying the food, or is it just to finish what's on your plate? Is this bite as delicious as the first? It's ok to stop eating when you are satisfied, even if there is still food on your plate. You can save this food for when you are next hungry, it doesn't have to be wasted. Eating when you are no longer hungry, is a waste, stopping when you are satisfied is not.
These tips are general in nature, if you are looking to improve your relationship with food, and are looking for a Canberra Dietitian to assist you in achieving your nutrition related health goals, click here to book in for a consultation.
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