The most festive time of year for many of us will begin next week. And I am probably not the only one who craves a legit reason to indulge in shopping, staying up late and snacking more than I typically do. But if you’re looking for fresh ideas to curb holiday eating patterns that might disrupt your wellness goals long-term, these tips from “This Is What You’re Really Hungry For: Six Simple Rules to Transform Your Relationship with Food to Become Your Healthiest Self” by author and celebrity dietitian Kim Shapira M.S., R.D. may be just the advice you need to approach these end-of-the-year feasts from a new perspective. Here are a few of what I found were her most helpful tips for this season:
- Acknowledge craving is not hunger. “Which means your body doesn’t need fuel. And it doesn’t need to replace something you’re labeling as ‘bad’ or ‘unhealthy’ with something you’ve decided is ‘healthy,'” Shapira explains. “The healthiest choice is to listen to what your body truly needs. If you really want to eat whatever it is you’re craving, put it on hold. It will be there in a few hours when your body is actually hungry—and can handle the digestion without stress.”
- Treat Thanksgiving like any other Thursday and be consistent in your routine. “Move, drink water and eat every three hours — you will still be hungry for dinner. The goal is to wake up Friday feeling content, well and empowered,” she says. “Studies show that the average American gains weight between October and December, but we aren’t any hungrier during those months. We’re just eating because the food is in front of us.”
- Separate Thanksgiving dinner from dessert by making dinner a real stand-alone event. Shapira recommends eating less of the main meal by saving half for breakfast, lunch or dinner the next day. After dinner, “Play games. Have a dance party. Sit and relax. In a couple of hours when folks are hungry again, bring out the desserts,” she said. “See dessert as food—not a treat. The treat is the family, friends, and entertainment.”
- Remember the 15 Minute Rule. “This is really important,” she stresses. “It takes our stomach and minds 15 minutes to connect after we start eating to know we had enough. The slower we eat, the more time we allow for that internal communication to happen, so we usually don’t need as much food as we initially thought. Understanding, plus incorporating, this mindfulness tactic can help people lose weight.”
What skills or behaviors do you employ to prioritize your overall well-being physically, as well as mentally, during the holiday season? Please pass along any successful habits you rely on via the comments box below.
I am THANKFUL for the endless well of support the entire TOPS community collectively fills with kindness, wisdom and laughter.