Tips to Avoid Over-Eating at Christmas
Christmas is truly a feast. Food is a big part of the celebration and indulgence is practically mandatory. Whether it's all day grazing, a single feast or a three-course lunch with your family followed by a four-course dinner with the in-laws, a lot of us have experience over-eating at Christmas.
It’s not just the day itself either. The Christmas diet begins much earlier with the first of Christmas lunches with far-away friends in November, or the Christmas chocolate tin arriving in the office on the 1st of December. It’s no wonder that a lot of us over-indulge during the festive period, but is it really that bad?
The Dangers of Over-Eating
A steady increase in caloric intake over the month of December will result in weight gain, if not adequately burnt through activity and exercise. This is easy enough to manage and rectify if you so wish in January, allowing you to enjoy December’s offerings without worrying too much.
However, an epic Christmas lunch (or Christmas Day) could do you a little damage.
The adult stomach is roughly the size of a fist when "resting” but can stretch to fit up to four litres of food and drink. That awful discomfort some of us have felt when we over-eat is caused by the stomach growing too large and pushing against your other organs. These cramped conditions can even disrupt the function of its neighbours, causing such things as shortness of breath.
Once you start to try and go beyond your allotted four litres, the stomach will protest and activate your gag reflex. This will see your lunch regurgitated, as there is truly no more room at the inn.
Heartburn and gas also occur because of acid creeping up into the oesophagus and the body trying to rid itself of the unwanted air respectively.
At the end of the evening you might find yourself in a "food coma" - a phenomenon that occurs after a high-calorie, high-fat, sugar and carbohydrate-filled meal. The body produces insulin, causing a spike in melatonin and serotonin, plus you produce more glucose which interferes with orexin proteins that keep you awake. The result? A happy, yet sleepy person, who should really hold off on dessert.
TEA+ Tips to Avoid Over-Eating
If you're watching your weight, feeling health conscious or just wanting to avoid a repeat of last year’s food coma, here are a few tips to bear in mind on the day.
Eat more of the vegetables – this will leave less room for the desserts.
Don’t skip breakfast or lunch on the day - you’ll just be extra hungry and more likely to overdo it at dinner.
Don't eat to please others – people love to bake at Christmas, but if you don't want it, don't eat it.
Enjoy the conversation – catching up with friends and family is an even bigger part of the festivities.
Pick your treats – enjoy your favourite homemade Christmas cake instead of mindlessly grazing in the biscuit bowl.
Serve your own portions – only you know how hungry you are and how much you're going to eat.
Leftovers can be saved – you can even freeze a lot of it, so it doesn’t all have to be eaten on the day!
Listen to your body – ultimately the best advice to avoid discomfort.
Join the conversation
Do you have any tips for watching what you eat at Christmas? Let us know! We’ll be talking all things Christmas this week, so join us on Twitter or Facebook to discuss!