Have you ever stared at a pile of crumbs or empty box of food or dessert that you couldn’t help but finish and thought to yourself…. “How did this just happen?” Of course you have. The truth is we all have!
The reality is we feel guilty about this power struggle, you versus your cravings and not only that we feel out of control.
Stress, hormonal changes, health issues and your environment can all contribute to emotional eating. In addition to that, the holiday season, which is abundant in food and alcohol, makes it especially hard to resist the temptation of overindulging.
Don’t feel defeated, there is a way to handle this. Thinking “I’ll be good this time, I simply won’t eat it” is an unrealistic expectation of yourself, so instead you need to have a strategic plan and be prepared.
We have a few tricks up our sleeve to help you navigate the holidays with ease and joy rather than bloating, sugar crashes or more pounds than you bargained for.
Here are 5 Tips to managing food cravings and over-binging this holiday season:
1. Be The One To Make the Healthy Dish
Sometimes the problem at holiday dinners is that there are minimal healthy options to begin with.
If you are in charge or cooking, or even if you are just a guest, rather than a bottle of wine, surprise the host with a healthy, low carb dish. Consider making a protein and vegetable rich salad, a side dish such as Brussels sprouts with bacon, whipped cauliflower mashed, or keto-friendly cheesecake.
Check out this blog post for ideas of low carb and keto-approved holiday recipes.
2. Don’t Come Too Hungry
They say don’t make decisions when your back is against the wall, same goes for your stomach.
It’s hard to resist temptations or make conscious decisions when you are hypoglycemic and your body feels like it’s starving. We often come to social gatherings wanting to “leave enough room to fill up” and by doing that we are setting ourselves up for over-indulging.
We recommend you have small appetizer at home, such as a bowl of soup, salad or even just an apple, before attending a holiday function. This way you can make decisions that are conscious rather than based on survival mode.
3. Choose More Protein and Healthy Fats
Eating more protein and healthy fats will keep you full longer and help curb down your appetite. Unlike carbs, protein and fats stabilize your blood sugar levels and hence help reduce cravings.
Go for options such as guacamole, cheese and meat platter, assortment of side vegetables and meat and fish dishes. Avoid rice, potatoes, stuffings and bread rolls.
4. Exercise Portion Control & Take A Smaller Plate
Instinctively, we like to fill up our plate. So what do you do? Get a smaller plate! It’s that simple.
Then, wait at least 15 minutes if you want to go for seconds.
With regards to what you put on your plate, it’s all about portion control. No one says you should absolutely avoid the rice, potatoes, stuffing or cake…but instead you just need to scoop up a much smaller portion of it. This will help relieve any sense of deprivation and yet will ensure you don’t suffer the post-meal carb crash.
5: Practice Mindful Eating
Mindful eating is the practice of being fully aware and fully present in every meal. Of all the tips, this one is our personal favorite. Mindful eating is a simple and sustainable way to avoid emotional eating and maintaining a healthy weight for a long term basis.
This is not just a practice for the holiday season, but rather a lifelong practice.
Start by engaging all of your senses, appreciating your food, chewing your food thoroughly, and really listening to your body. How do you feel after you eat? Do you feel bloated and gross or nourished? Do you feel fatigued or energized?
Eating mindfully helps you shift the focus to gratitude and appreciation to every bite and being aware of whether this food nourished and honours your body rather than gobbling food without even paying attention to what’s on your plate and how much of it you had.
With all these tips, it is still understandable that the holiday season is celebrated with the abundance of good food. Celebrate the quality and what the food represents rather than showing your appreciation by consuming a large quantity of it.
While we hope that we were able to equip you with some tools, we also want to make sure you exercise self-kindness and love in the process. Even if you find yourself overeating, there is no use beating yourself up for it and letting guilt creep up.