It’s the most wonderful time of the year, but it can also be one of the most challenging. In the hustle and bustle of holiday shopping, cooking, and socializing, it is all too easy to overindulge in everything from baked goods to alcoholic beverages. The abundance of food, family gatherings, and holiday traditions can make staying on track with your health goals difficult. Bethany Medical created a Weight Loss Clinic devoted to helping patients lose weight the healthy way. Our objective is to help patients adopt new behaviors and a new lifestyle to boost weight loss and self-esteem. The Weight Loss Clinic is about adopting sensible eating habits and practicing portion control while staying active leading to an overall longer, healthier life.
One of the common problems we see in our Weight Loss Clinic is weight gain due to overeating, particularly during the holidays. You can avoid overindulging and stay on track with your health goals with the tips below. Remember, you don’t have to wait for the new year to take charge of your health!
How to Avoid Overeating
Did you know that it takes approximately 20 minutes for leptin, the hormone that signals the brain when you’re full, to communicate with our brain? By slowing down your food intake at mealtime, you will feel full earlier in your meal and can save yourself calories by not overindulging. Consider putting your fork down between bites or chewing your food more thoroughly, fully savoring the flavor and texture of your food. Taking a few deep breaths between bites can also help to slow your eating.
When you’re distracted, you’re more likely to overeat. Whether you’re watching TV, browsing the internet, or chatting with friends, distractions can lead to mindless eating and overindulging.
To avoid distractions while eating start by turning off the TV or other electronics, including your mobile phone. Don’t eat in a hurry or while standing up. Always sit down at a table and make sure you have enough time to eat your meal without distractions or the pressure of being somewhere.
Practice Portion Control
One of the easiest ways to avoid overeating is by practicing portion control. When you’re served a large portion, it’s easy to finish the entire thing even if you’re not hungry. Try to use smaller plates and bowls when serving yourself food and avoid second helpings. You should also avoid high-calorie foods and drinks such as fried foods and sugary beverages. Opt for lean protein sources like grilled chicken or fish, legumes, and whole grains instead of processed meats or carb-heavy dishes.
Remove the Temptations
One of the best ways to avoid temptation is to remove it from your environment. If there are unhealthy foods in your house, you’re more likely to indulge in them. Avoid purchasing unhealthy foods like candy, chips, and sugary drinks. Instead, keep a stash of healthy snacks like nuts, seeds, fruit, or yogurt on hand for when hunger strikes.
Eat Regular Meals
Many people opt for skipping meals to avoid overeating, but this can actually backfire and result in eating more later on. When you go too long without eating, your body goes into starvation mode and starts to store fat. To avoid this, try to eat regular meals throughout the day. This will help keep your metabolism running and prevent you from overindulging later on.
Staying hydrated is a simple way to avoid overindulging. When you’re dehydrated, your body craves food more than it does when you are well-hydrated. To stay hydrated this holiday season, you might choose to carry a reusable bottle of water with you and drink a glass of water before each meal to help you feel fuller faster.
Track Your Food Intake
Tracking your food intake can be a helpful tool for avoiding overindulging during the holidays. When you know exactly what and how much you’re eating, it’s easier to make better choices about which foods to eat and when.
How Overeating Can Impact Your Health
Overeating May Promote Excess Body Fat
Overeating can promote excess body fat by causing you to gain weight over time. When you eat more than you expend, your body may store these additional calories as fat. Excess body fat is a risk factor for several health conditions including type-two diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, and certain types of cancer.
Overeating May Disrupt Hunger Regulation
There are two major hormones that impact hunger regulation. Ghrelin is a hormone that stimulates appetite, while leptin suppresses appetite.
If you haven’t eaten in a while, your ghrelin levels increase. After you’ve eaten, leptin levels tell your body that it’s full. Overeating, on the other hand, may disrupt this balance. Disruption of these hormones may trigger a perpetual cycle of overeating.
Overeating May Increase Disease Risk
When you overeat, the additional calories your body takes in may not be used for energy. Instead, they can increase disease risk by causing chronic inflammation and insulin resistance – factors that are linked to diabetes and heart disease. Chronic overeating can also lead to obesity.
Overeating May Impair Brain Function
Did you know overeating can not only impact your physical health, but your mental health as well? Overeating can actually make an impact on your cognitive function, resulting in memory loss and mental decline over time.
Overeating May Cause Issues With Your Stomach
If you overindulge on a regular basis, you likely won’t feel comfortable on a day-to-day basis. Overeating can result in feelings of nausea and cause indigestion. Overeating may also cause excessive gas and bloating, which can be uncomfortable and embarrassing. Stomach discomfort is often followed by feelings of fatigue as well as fluctuations in mood that are due to changes in blood sugar levels.
Customized Weight Loss Plans
With these tips, we hope you are able to stay on track with your healthy eating plan during the holidays. If managing your weight and health has become a recent concern for you, remember that you don’t need to wait until the new year to get started of taking control of your health. Our Weight Loss providers work with patients to develop a personalized weight loss plan that will include diet, exercise, and any medications. Request an appointment with our Weight Loss providers today.