The holidays are upon us, and it’s a time where “comfort food” seems to come at us from every direction. Since the pandemic has limited our time with our friends and family, many of us turn to food as the next best thing. The holidays unfortunately yield foods such as baked goods full of sugar, butter and processed flour and heavy dishes full of fats and carbs. When we overindulge during the holidays, we put enormous stress upon our digestive system, immune system and more.
These foods cause plenty of digestive upsets, which can result in heartburn, constipation, diarrhea, bloating, gas, irritable bowel syndrome, and other familiar discomforts. Furthermore, the sugar and fats can have a tremendous impact on your immunity. Consuming sugar significantly slows down our natural healing process by flooding our bloodstream with glucose as opposed to the vitamins and antioxidants in food that we need to boost immunity. This “crowds out” the ability for our bodies to absorb the nutrients we need in a time of immune defense.
Unfortunately our bodies are naturally wired to crave fat, sugar and carbs- we can thank evolution for that! Since food was scarce at many points in history, our bodies have evolved to prefer high calorie meals, so we can store up for harder times. However, I believe we can all agree there is no shortage of high calorie foods today, especially during the holidays!
Because we are entering a season with plenty of temptation, we have put together our top 10 strategies to stop overeating during the holidays.
Eat real whole foods. Be especially mindful of enriched flours, added sugars and fats. They might taste good, but there are a myriad of consequences to them, starting first around the waistline. The single most important tip we have for you is to get as much unprocessed food as possible. Minimize the steps between your food growing from the earth and getting onto your plate.
Studies show that people who eat breakfast daily actually lose more weight and are able to keep it off for longer than people who skip breakfast regularly. Make sure your breakfasts are always high protein, such as an easy Vegan Vanilla Proteini that you can make first thing in the morning. Here are some recipes that you can try for a quick and easy breakfast every day.
The longer you can go without eating before bed, the better for your digestion and immunity. Your immunity spikes in the evenings, so a carb, sugar and fat-laden meal is one of the worst things you can do. Try to eat your last meal at least 3 - 4 hours before bedtime. If you get hungry after your last meal of the day, try drinking a Pineapple Chia Cleanse, which will keep you full and nourish your digestive tract while you sleep.
Our stomachs take a full 20 minutes to tell us that we are full. When we are hungry, we know how much damage we can do during the first 20 minutes. The key to not overeating is to have your meals a little before you get hungry, so you can eat mindfully and focus on the nourishment that the food is giving you as opposed to satisfying a biological need for calories.
Alcohol removes our inhibitions, which can lead to us eating more than we normally would. That is why restaurants love serving us a cocktail before dinner, which whets our appetites more than anything. Of course we’ll have the 3 appetizers, the special main course, side dishes and the hot lava cake that takes 25 minutes to start! Try limiting your occasional nightcaps to after the meal if possible.
What’s a trigger food? It’s a food that affects you on a physiological and emotional level. Pizza? Goes with beer and hot wings. Burger? I’ll have to order fries with that. Pumpkin pie? Goes with ice cream, of course! Watch out for certain triggers that make you eat more than you normally would. During the holidays, consider abstaining from them altogether since you’ll be around more food than usual.
Keep a journal to release your emotions. As many of us turn to food when we are stressed, establishing a good habit of first writing down what’s troubling us can put one extra step between us and the pantry.
We can’t say this enough- sleep is one of the most powerful tools you have in your arsenal of health. Sleep regulates our hunger hormones, activates our immunity, liver function and nearly every biological function of healing we have. Plus the biggest bonus of all- keeps us out of the kitchen.
Stress makes us overeat and steers us toward the wrong kinds of food which lead to weight gain. Learn how to relax in a healthy way that appeals to you. Try walking outside with your favorite playlist, playing with your pet, calling a friend, taking a nap, deep breathing, or whatever way helps you cope and calm down.
30 minutes of movement daily is imperative for keeping us on track during the holidays. Make sure it’s something you love- like a dance party at home, streaming your favorite workout class, getting 10k steps a day, or whatever gets your blood pumping. Expert tip: try drinking our beets juice before you exercise, which has everybody swearing they can’t stop movin’ and groovin’!
We hope this guide helps prepare you for the holiday season ahead. Keeping all these strategies handy will help you navigate the inevitable spread of holiday foods. If you would like some encouragement along the way, please join our exclusive Facebook community where our nutritionist, fitness trainer, health coaches and community of juicers are there to cheer you on and answer any questions you might have.