For the past few days I’ve been blogging about what to eat or how to prepare it on Thanksgiving day, but a lot of our inclination to overindulge is based on our environment and emotions. Here are some tips that may help you get through the way without overdoing it:
Eat before you drink (if you drink)
Without food in your stomach, alcohol gets absorbed quickly, which means it will hit your brain in less than five minutes. Alcohol not only lowers your inhibitions and up your appetite, but it also amplifies your emotions. If you’re in a celebratory mood this can all add up to a recipe for overeating. So before your first sip, eat a small portion of nuts or some veggies with hummus. Protein and “good” fat in particular create a better buffer for alcohol so you won’t get so tipsy so quickly.
Make nibbling inconvenient
Studies show that the amount of effort it takes you to obtain food and how visible it is greatly impact how much you’ll eat. In other words out of sight, out of mind really does hold true. So if you’re visiting with friends or relatives in an area with lots of finger food turn your back to it, or better yet relocate to room that isn’t filled with temptations. If you’re the host create at least one food free zone!
Dress for success
Whether it’s a clingy dress, skinny jeans, a waist-cinching belt, or good old Spanx, constricting clothing can definitely prevent you from overdoing it by helping you stay aware of what’s going on with your body. Choose something that makes you feel aware, but not uncomfortable.
One study found that when women were instructed to eat slower they drank more water and ate four times fewer calories per minute. During your meal try to take smaller bites, put your fork down between them, chew well, and savor your food.
Reverse “last chance” thinking
In my practice when I talk to people about what was going on in their minds before a holiday overeating incident they’ll often say things like, “I was thinking this is my last chance to have _____ (fill in the blank).” If your aunt makes amazing pumpkin bread, but only for Thanksgiving, I can definitely understand wanting to enjoy it when you can. But many of the foods we eat over the holidays are available year round if we want them, or you can ask friends or relatives for recipes. While there’s definitely something truly special about how everything comes together on Thanksgiving (the food, weather, company, etc.) the idea that you must get as much as you can now because you won’t be able to have something for another 12 months may not be true. But even if it is you’ll probably enjoy it more if you eat it in a way that doesn’t cause you to feel sluggish afterward. So before you fill your plate scan all of your options. Choose can’t-live-without special foods first and build the rest of your meal around them to create some equilibrium. If your favorites are all starchy think about what other starchy foods you can forgo without feeling deprived (rolls, sweet potatoes?), aim for a balance of carbs, lean protein and good for you fat, and don’t forget to slow down.
OK I hope this helps. Have a wonderful, safe, happy and healthy holiday!!!