For this week’s Motivation Monday I want to tackle one of the biggest challenges many of us face during the holidays.
This week we have a holiday that is completely centered around eating.
Thanksgiving Day is a day of food, food and more food.
You may cook for hours and hours just getting ready for this one meal.
We aren’t planning a big meal at our house for Thanksgiving dinner, but I can already feel the scale numbers creeping upward.
Saturday, Andrew (my 13 year old son) and I decided to “practice” making homemade dinner rolls.
Honey Butter Dinner Rolls as a matter of fact.
My mouth was watering just reading the recipe.
Unfortunately they didn’t turn out like the picture on Pinterest (fail!).
But it was our fault.
We forgot to let them raise a second time before baking them. (See why we need to practice!?! Hahaha!)
But that didn’t stop us from brushing them with honey and cinnamon infused butter and tasting several of them.
We kept tasting and tasting to see if we could figure out what went wrong.
After re-reading the recipe directions we now know.
And now we need to make them again (or try a different recipe) to have homemade bread on our Thanksgiving table.
Thus, we will have homemade rolls two more times this week.
I’m sure you can all relate in one way or another.
There will be rich flavorful tempting foods everywhere. At home, school, the office, and parties. Everywhere!
And it’s not just this week, we still need to get through Christmas and New Year’s.
With so many tempting foods around, it’s easy to over-indulge without even meaning to.
WHY IS IT BAD TO OVER-INDULGE (besides scale creep)?
According to Gallo Institute of Health and Nutrition overeating can cause the following:
Shortness of Breath
When a person overeats, the stomach muscle gets overstretched and it starts moving towards the lungs and diaphragm. After a large meal, the stomach muscles can expand up to 3 times its normal size which can make it difficult for a person to breathe until the stomach returns to its normal size.
Nausea and Burping
When you overeat all food you eat does not make it to the stomach immediately. This could bring the food back up in the throat which can cause frequent burping and nausea.
When a person overeats, it becomes difficult for the valve on the top of the stomach to close. This could allow the digestive fluids in the stomach to be pushed back up into the throat which can cause an acidic reaction. Acid reflux can cause severe discomfort and if it continues on a regular basis, it could damage the delicate tissue lining of the throat. At times, the damaged tissue lining could lead to throat cancer.
Tired and Lazy
When a person overeats, the body has to spend more energy to digest the food. Also, the intestine and the stomach will have to work harder to distribute all the nutrients they have received. This leads to an energy drain and you start yawning and feel sleepy.
For me, this past weekend was a bust.
I ate whatever I wanted to and my choices weren’t very nutritionally sound choices if you know what I mean. 🙁
But that’s ok.
It was a good warning for me that it’s time to make a game plan on how to tackle the holiday eating traps.
I’ve been working hard on my fitness goals and don’t to backslide.
I believe that it’s possible to celebrate and enjoy the holidays without making food the focus of all the fun.
Here are 7 things to do to stay on track with your health and fitness goals (or to get back on track).
#1 – THINK ABOUT HOW YOU FEEL WHEN YOU EAT TOO MUCH
I know you get tired of hearing it, but I’m going to say it anyhow, “Everything in moderation.”
Every time I overeat I feel sluggish, guilty or depressed.
The end result is not a good feeling regardless of how good the food tasted or how happy I was when I ate it.
When I remember these feelings, I am less likely to overeat.
We all go through this from time to time so when you do, don’t give up, but use it to motivate yourself in the future not to eat too much.
#2 – PLAN AHEAD
If you have a lunch or a dinner party to attend or if someone brings in homemade pumpkin cheesecake rolls to the office, decide what you allow yourself to eat and plan what you will do if you are tempted to eat even when you know you shouldn’t. Do this before going near any food at all.
Tonight my family and I attended a pie party.
It was a fun way to kick-off the week but I knew it would be a challenge to resist all the delicious desserts.
I didn’t tell myself I couldn’t eat anything, I just reminded myself to stay focused on my fitness goals and not to over-indulge.
I nibbled on a refreshing piece of mint chocolate chip almond crusted ice cream pie while I mingled with the other guests.
It felt great!
I didn’t feel deprived and I was proud of myself for not eating more than I needed to.
#3 – KEEP HEALTHY SNACKS HANDY
Keep them in your car, desk, purse.
Nuts and fresh fruit are always good options.
Don’t let yourself get to the starving point or you’ll eat everything in sight once you finally get to some food.
#4 PACK A HEALTHY LUNCH
Packing a lunch will ensure you have full control over what foods you have access to.
When you put thought into your meals, you will eat healthier than you would if you walk into a cafeteria or restaurant.
Exercise can help curb your appetite. It also burns off those extra calories you ate that you didn’t plan on eating.
Do something you enjoy. Do something new. Workout with a friend.
Studies now show that short bursts of exercise can be even more effective than long workout sessions. So don’t feel like you don’t have time to fit it into your busy holiday schedule.
No excuses. You can take 10-15 minutes out of your day to keep your body feeling healthy and strong.
#6 STAY HYDRATED
You know this, but sometimes drinking enough water can be hard to remember.
Do what I do.
No matter where I go I have some kind of water with me. In my car, in my cube at my desk at work, I take it to meetings and on breaks with me.
In fact, I have a nice cold up of ice water sitting next to my laptop right now!
You know the famous commercial “Don’t leave home without it.”? (or maybe you’re too young to remember that)
Well, let’s change that to “Water, don’t leave home without it!” 🙂
#7 START EACH DAY WITH A GOOD HEARTY BREAKFAST
I start each day with a yummy Tri Pharm Gourmet vanilla time released protein shake. Cold water, one scoop of powder and a nice ripe banana and I’m good to go!
However, once in a while I want something more substantial. On those days I opt for some whole grain cereals, steel cut oats, whole wheat english muffins with egg whites. There are all kinds of healthy, filling options. Don’t skip! You’ll thank yourself later.
Bonus tip: Enjoy what you eat!
Chew your food with purpose. Don’t wolf it down without even tasting it. Take time to feel the texture in your mouth and to taste the subtle flavors.
This will not only feel more satisfying emotionally, it will also allow your brain time to process the signals that you are full and tell you to stop eating.
I hope these ideas are helpful for you!
If you have any tips on how to avoid over-indulging, please leave a comment. I would love to hear from you!
Happy Monday and Happy Eating!