The holidays are a precarious time for many companies. Teams are doing their best to get as much done before the end of the year, but the distractions are many. The stress alone could cause people to turn to comfort foods, and the parade of holiday treats makes it that much harder to resist.
But for those that do there are plenty of upsides. For one, your productivity won’t be affected. Research from Wellness & Prevention Inc. has shown that overeating can make people less productive. Overeating adds stress and can disrupt sleep, which makes people feel sluggish the next day. It can also throw your blood sugar off track and cause mood swings.
It’s tempting to let your regular routine slip during the holidays, but staying in peak physical health will help you stay energized and avoid putting on extra pounds. Here’s a look at how to head off the most common holiday eating issues.
The Problem: Forgoing Food in Anticipation of a Holiday Party
We’ve all done it at some point. The holiday party is scheduled for the afternoon, so in anticipation of indulging we skimp on food throughout the day. There are a few problems with this strategy. First and foremost, it encourages binge eating. We trick ourselves into thinking that we’ve earned a food fest since we haven’t eaten all day. The other big dilemma is that forgoing food will send your blood sugar on a roller coaster. Glucose levels in the brain are closely linked to willpower. When glucose is down so is your willpower.
The Fix: Eat to Keep Your Willpower Up
Luckily, the fix is the exact opposite of skipping out on eating. Eating small meals throughout the day will keep your blood sugar level steady, and this is good for your metabolism and mind.
The Problem: At the End of the Day You’re Exhausted and Just Want to Let Loose
The holidays are a festive time that we work toward all year long. After hours of cramming as much work into every minute it’s understandable that a person would want to unwind with parties, special events and holiday movie marathons. But letting the stress of the day get to you can lead to regret the next day if you overdo it with holiday treats.
The Fix: Take a Break Before Holiday Soirees and Gatherings
Try to avoid going straight from work to a holiday event. Give yourself at least a half hour in between to quietly decompress on your own. It’s also important to make sure you are getting enough sleep since being well rested keeps your hunger hormones in check.
The Problem: You Make Yourself Miserable Avoiding All Holiday Treats
Seeing everyone else enjoy holiday meats, treats and sweets can be a real downer during the holidays. By remaining overly strict with your diet, disgruntled thoughts begin to creep in every time you see someone else enjoying a holiday treat. You’re dangerously close to becoming The Grinch.
The Fix: Treat Yourself . . . A Little
Everything in moderation was Aristotle’s motto. Limit yourself to one or two cheat treats, and take your time savoring it. Eating slowly helps you consume 10 percent less calories than eating quickly since it can take up to 20 minutes to feel full. You can also find healthier alternatives like sugar free hot chocolate and candy canes. These little indulgences will make you feel like part of the festivities without going overboard.
The Problem: Alcohol is in Abundance
Judgment is the first thing to go when we overindulge on libations. Wine, beer and holiday cocktails flow abundantly during this time of year because it is a time of celebration and merriment. Unfortunately, the atmosphere can lead to uncharacteristic behavior like having one too many beverages and then eating way too much food.
The Fix: Concoct a Special Low/No Alcohol Holiday Beverage
Instead of sipping on a full, strong drink, come up with options that are just as tasty but less alcoholic. If you normally drink bold red vino try a low alcohol wine like Italian rossos. Replace sweet cocktails with a muscato, and add a juice to champagne to cut the alcohol content.
The Problem: You Had a Moment of Weakness
It happens to everyone at one time or another. You’re keeping on track, turning down treats repeatedly – but then you crack. Too often people let one slip snowball into a complete slide down the holiday binge-eating path.
The Fix: Get Right Back in the Saddle
Don’t let one slip completely derail you. Keep things in perspective and stay positive. Make up for any overindulgence by eating super healthy the next day and keeping to your workout schedule. Just remind yourself that completely falling off the wagon will make it that much harder to get back on come the New Year.
The Problem: The Stress of the Holidays is Taking Its Toll
When we get stressed we often turn to food for comfort, and the holidays are full of additional stressors. As a way to cope with the stress you start treating yourself with holiday snacks.
The Fix: Stay Physically Active
Keeping physically active will help you manage stress, and shed the extra calories that come with the holidays so there’s one less thing to worry about. This is also a smart strategy during holiday parties. If you’re busy dancing and mingling you won’t be by the buffet.
What’s the ONE Thing you do to prevent overindulging during the holidays? Share your holiday treat strategies with us in the comments or on Facebook.