I’m sure one of the things you first noticed when lockdown came into play, was that we were all a little stressed and sometimes bored/overwhelmed. If your anything like me in the past, your one of those people that checks the fridge a few times a day, figuring out if your hungry, or just boredom eating.
As the weeks creeped on, some of us were finding that constant access to the home fridge, and nowhere to go led to sneaky weight increase, combined with the lack of access to gym, outdoor sports and walking ect that we do back and forth around work.
And now, with the festive season around the corner, and all of us in various stages of lockdown, you might find it stressful trying to manage your mental health, and physical health. Xmas is a time of year where a lot of the focus is on food. Work lunches or nights out, family gatherings, special deals on at Tesco, and an abundance of sweets and festive drinks...it all can get a bit much!
Perhaps you're someone who's had a difficult time with your eating habits before, or this is a new struggle since lockdown. Perhaps you use food for comfort, or even just something to do while being stuck at home. Either way, wherever you are on the spectrum, here are a few handy tips to beat the December overeating this year.
1. Avoid skipping meals
Regular food intake at scheduled times, ideally spaced out equally during the day will help stabilise your blood sugar, leading to less temptation to overeat and binge later. If we regularly skip meals, you’ll feel ravenous and deprived by the end of the day, which will show up with a preference for high calorie, highly palatable foods which may create the cycle all over again.
2. Ensure you are hydrated - seriously. 2 Glasses of water aren't enough!
You’ll already know this, but very few people actually take this on board. Tea and coffee/ fizzy juice DO NOT COUNT TOWARD HYDRATION. There are formulas or guidelines on what the ideal amount of water is for you depending on body weight and activity level. Buy yourself an awesome water bottle to motivate you and get sipping throughout the day. You’ll thank yourself later!
3. Brush your teeth.
Most people don't feel like eating right after they do this, especially since it makes many foods taste bad. Brushing your teeth is strangely effective for warding off cravings. The taste and sensation of freshly cleaned teeth can give you a lift as well.
4. Know your trigger foods
Identify the unhealthy foods that trigger overeating. Keep them out of the home or far out of sight, and make healthy options easily accessible instead
5. Increase your protein intake
Protein helps keep your body full throughout the day and can decrease the desire to overeat. It has a high thermic effect, meaning it requires a lot of energy for the body to break down which can have positive impacts on your waistline and also your hunger. For example, eating a high protein breakfast has been shown to reduce hunger and snacking later in the day. Protein with meals tends to lower levels of ghrelin, a hormone that stimulates hunger.
6. Consume foods that are low in calories and high in fibre.
Eating things which meet this criteria such as fruits, salad greens, broccoli, various types of beans can increase feelings of satiation and also give you huge health benefits- I know our health has been somewhat under the limelight this year.
7. Reduce stress
Stress appears to be one of the top contributors to overeating. After something stressful happens our stress hormone cortisol increases to promote hunger and encourage (some) of us to eat in order to replace lost energy. For others, this can also be an emotional soothing that takes place.
There are many things that people can do to limit or reduce stress, such as:
trying relaxing activities, such as yoga or meditation, going a gentle walk
Listening to fun or relaxing music
staying connected and asking for help from friends and family
focusing on what needs doing straight away rather than on jobs that can wait
Notice your achievements at the end of each day
8. Working out what causes overeating and addressing it
Many people eat for reasons other than hunger, such as tiredness, or sadness. Try making a list of things that trigger overeating and then get practical on avoiding those.
Focus on changing one habit at a time instead of trying to tackle them all at once and getting frustrated.
Food habits can take a while to break. People should be gentle with themselves while making dietary changes and focus on taking things a day at a time.
If you found this helpful, and would like some support for overeating, body image or disordered eating over the holidays, please feel free to email email@example.com.
Get some support, you dont need to hide in shame about these issues. Break the cycle now!