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How to Prevent and Deal with Holiday Overeating

I love the holidays. For weeks, our family has been planning for the significant meals we'll share. We're each assigned to bring the traditional dishes we've become known for—and with our large family, there's always plenty. During the blessing my uncle always gives thanks for the food that nourishes our bodies. Then the nourishment begins!

I know these types of gatherings take place all over the world, year after year. The comments are as traditional as the food. "Honey, this is the best turkey you've ever made. Please pass the potatoes and gravy again." "I can't eat another bite or I swear I'll explode." "Alright, just a little sliver of pie then." After dinner people are sprawled out in front of the television, occasionally groaning or dozing off.  

As much I love these special occasions, I now know that there's an invisible line that I can cross if I'm not mindful. That line separates a great celebration with wonderful food from an afternoon of discomfort and regret. I constantly remind myself I live in a land of abundance where turkey and potatoes are available year round and food will always taste good. So why eat until I'm miserable? Why not enjoy the event and still feel good when it's over?  

When you live in a land of abundance, deciding how much food you need to eat is critical for lifelong weight management and health. As importantly, when you eat the perfect amount of food, you'll feel satisfied—just right!

Just Right

Think for a moment about how you feel when you're satisfied. If you're mindful, you'll notice that as you become full, the flavor of the food goes from fabulous to just OK and it gets harder to give food and eating your full attention. You are content, fulfilled, and happy. You feel light and energetic and ready for your next activity.  

When you eat more than you need, you'll feel unnecessarily uncomfortable, sleepy and sluggish. Eating too much causes you to feel low energy so you may not want to be active. Of course your body will have no choice but to store the excess as fat. It can also lead to feeling guilty which often leads to even more overeating.  

So what can you do to prevent overeating – and what should you do when it happens anyway?

Prevention is the Best Medicine  

•  Before you start eating, decide how full you want to be when you're done. It's fine to decide you want to be stuffed, as long as you've thought about the consequences.  

•  Estimate how much food you'll need to eat to reach that level of fullness. Prepare, serve or order only as much as you think you'll need; if you were served too much, move the extra food aside.  

•  Before you start eating, visually or physically divide the food in half to create a "speed bump."  

•  Eat mindfully and check your fullness level when you hit that speed bump in the middle of eating, at the end of your meal, and again 20-30 minutes later.  

•  If your goal is to feel satisfied and comfortable, it will help to move away from the table or move the food away from you to signal that you're done as soon as you are get even close.  

In my next post I’ll talk about what to do on those occasions when you eat too much anyway. (Notice I said WHEN, not if! Perfection is not possible or necessary!)

Michelle May MD
(Excerpt from [Link Removed] 


Michelle, Your links have been removed, please consider upgrading to premium membership.



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