There are many ways to fight holiday binge eating
By David Higgins
A ‘diet’ is basically a personal pact to eat healthy and exercise regularly. It’s an honorable oath, always set with good intentions to work towards becoming your best selves. If you are like the rest of us, this pact was most likely forged early last January and then reaffirmed as the summer swimsuit months drew near. Regardless of our good intentions, all self imposed food and alcohol consumption restrictions fell to the wayside as we rounded the corner from Thanksgiving and began the race headlong towards the deep vortex of the holiday season.
T’is the season to be jolly? With the onslaught of the holiday season comes the holiday song list played on perpetual repeat. What does it actually mean to be ‘jolly’ and how should we interpret ‘jolly’ when we are attempting to limit ourselves from satiating our greatest indulgences. The holiday season is brimming with engagements and activities such as decorating, shopping, baking, parties, family photos and card writing, which can take its toll, leaving us stressed out and exhausted. This feeling of burnout makes us even more susceptible to the temptations that greet us at every work or house party we arrive at. Although you may have promised yourself not to submit to temptation, at the epicenter of yet another social event lies a tantalizing spread of turkey, stuffing, gravy, potatoes, bread, dips, desserts, beer, wine, and rum. Let the binge-fest begin!
Binge eating and drinking is a phenomenon that most North Americans experience while showing their gratitude at Thanksgiving and Christmas. It is this binge part of eating and drinking that is just as unhealthy as not eating at all so I’m providing some tips to help you control your holiday eating and drinking while maintaining strong emotional health throughout the holiday season.
First of all, if you are out holiday shopping before an impending social gathering, you can ward off stress or fatigue by ensuring that you take intermittent 10 minute breaks. During these breaks, sit down for a tea or a snack and take a mental break from the chaos that is surrounding you.
The second tip encourages you to take ‘time outs’ at the party. No one is going to judge you if you tap out at the turkey table and lay down on the floor or a comfy chair for a quick nap. Escape to a quiet room, the back patio or even to the bathroom for a 5-minute breather if all of the excitement gets a bit overwhelming.
The third tip suggests cutting back on the booze. This might be the most difficult dragon to slay especially when the house or venue you are celebrating at has a fridge full of craft IPA’s and a freezer full of frozen mugs to pour them into at your leisure. Pace yourself and if you have to, there is probably an app with an alarm to let you know when you are going a bit too far.
The fourth tip is to fill your plate up with 80% vegetables so that there is less room for the higher calorie items that add the holly jolly to your belly jelly.
The final tip is to be sure that you always have a game plan before you arrive at the holiday parties. Map out your culinary game plan and make decisions about how much you are going to drink and eat when you are calm and rationale before taking a seat at a table full of temptations. Prep yourself with positive self talk such as, ‘This might be tough but I have a plan to only drink 3 IPA beers in ice frosted mugs over the evening and I can do this.’ If all else fails, drink a full glass of Perrier or water for every alcoholic drink you consume to help pace yourself and slow down the process of getting drunk and sloppy.
If any of these holiday survival tips save you or your loved ones from binge eating and drinking yourself into oblivion, be sure to leave us some feed back and let us know whether our articles are assisting you through this crazy walk called life in Okinawa. Until then, celebrate with balance, love and safety in mind and you will have nothing to regret or give up for the New Year. Happy holidays to you and yours, both near and far!