How to Minimize Weight Gain Over the Holidays
Updated: Aug 3, 2020
by Dr. Ann-Marie Regina, ND The holidays are a time when indulgence is typical. It's hard to say no when there is a great host of food and desserts. But how do you feel when the holidays are over? Do you feel guilty? Have you gained a couple pounds? Being strategic about what you eat can still satisfy your indulgences so you can enjoy yourself and keep you on track.
The Basics On How To Minimize Weight Gain
The holidays should be an enjoyable time with your family and friends, and food is what usually brings it all together. The idea is not to be overly restrictive with your foods, while also making sure you don't over do it. Here are some of the basic ways to modify your habits over the holidays that will help you to keep the weight off. 1. Eat Your Protein & Fats! Protein and fat are more satiating, meaning that you will feel more full for longer compared to a meal that is heavy in carbohydrates. Protein and fat also slow down the release of sugar into your blood stream, keeping your blood sugar balanced. So if you have the option of a turkey leg or a plate of pasta, choose the turkey! 2. Eat your vegetables! Vegetables are high in fibre and will also keep you full and regulate your blood sugar. Baking some mixed veggies, such as sweet potato, parsnips, squash, pumpkin and brussel sprouts is an easy and delicious way to get in your veggies and help you feel good. Root vegetables are ideal for this time of year as they are easy to digest and will nourish your body. 3. Chew your food! Chewing your food adequately prevents you from overeating. It takes 20 minutes for your stomach to signal your brain that you are full. If you eat your food too quickly, you don't give your stomach enough time to send that message, resulting in the misguided sensation that you are still hungry. It is also important to remember that digestion begins in the mouth. The mouth has different enzymes that help to break down carbohydrates and protein. Chewing your food gives those enzymes time to take effect and mechanically will assist in the digesting process. Taking your time with your food will allow you to enjoy it and make you feel more satisfied so that you are less likely to add more to your plate. 4. Moderation & Balance! Of course you will be tempted by lavish desserts and 3 cheese lasagnas. It is okay to enjoy your food, but just remember your limits. If you already suffer from digestive issues or conditions that are aggravated by certain foods, be mindful of how much you are eating. If know that you will be having a large meal, the next day you can reduce your caloric intake to maintain that balance. 5. Movement! Try to incorporate exercise into your busy schedule over the holidays. That could mean stretching before bed or when you wake up in the morning. Exercise will help burn those extra calories, improve your digestion and give you more energy. 6. Reduce your Snacking! Snacking can burden the digestive tract as it is not being given a break. There is a system called the migrating motor complex within your digestive tract that will cause your intestines to keep things moving. However, this function can only work while you are fasting. Making sure you leave 4-5 hours between meals to allow your digestive system to be swept clean by the migrating motor complex. If you tend to snack often, that may be a sign that your blood sugar has difficulty regulating itself. To investigate that symptom, see your naturopathic doctor to perform the necessary tests.Why Consider Nutritional Counselling? If you already struggle with making healthy decisions when it comes to food, most likely the holidays are a challenging time for you. Nutritional counselling can help teach you which foods are right for your body and how you can sustainably make changes at your own pace. Most people have the perception that they can just start fresh in January, but research shows that the weight gained over the holidays is much harder to lose than weight gained at any other point in the year. Further, the habits formed over the holidays can sometimes be harder to kick. Before the holidays, learning your individual nutritional needs based on your food sensitivities, your health conditions, age, sex, activity level and hormones, will more likely keep you on the right path. Dr. Ann-Marie Regina, ND, focuses on individualized nutritional counselling and helping patients make healthy lifestyle choices that are specific to them. Dr. Ann-Marie is now offering 30 minute nutritional consults focused solely on creating sustainable and effective dietary adjustments that will address your concerns. During a nutritional counselling visit, your nutrition and typical diet will be assessed and modified based on your needs. Dr. Ann-Marie will assess your nutrition with an assessment tool which investigates your water, protein, fat, vegetable, fruit and fibre intake and take special considerations such as individual health concerns into account. To learn more about what foods work best with your body and nutritional counselling, please book an appointment with Dr. Ann-Marie Regina or schedule a complimentary 15 minute "meet and greet."