As we proceed through the fall, most of us look forward to the upcoming large feasts with family and friends. We anticipate a gargantuan meal for Thanksgiving and during the December holidays, we flirt with many desserts and high calorie beverages such as eggnog and creams. Overindulging has its consequences. Preparing ahead and creating a plan for the holiday time period will prevent the ‘post-holiday blues’. In addition to the overspending on gifts and parties, weight gain and guilt associated with gluttony can also lead to regret and somber moods after the holiday season has commenced. Don’t enter 2016 with regrets and guilt, take control now and enter 2016 feeling in charge and disciplined.
Begin your exercise routine now, if you haven’t already. South Florida is warm year round. In colder regions, people can hide the extra weight gain caused by holiday meals with winter clothing. We are not impeded by cold temperatures when trying to travel to the gym or other outdoor activities for exercise. This should motivate us to be active.
Exercise is a natural way to release feel good chemicals – endorphins. The production of brain chemicals like dopamine and serotonin are increased when we exercise. Walking, running, jogging, weight training, sexual activity, aerobics classes are all considered exercise. Increasing your heart weight continuously over a certain period of time will produce healthy results, even little things such as parking far from an entrance, using the stairs not the elevator, yoga, doing squats in between phone calls while working at your desk. These things can increase your heart and release endorphins. Engaging in these activities regularly will result in burning the food and beverages we consume to make fuel for energy. Subsequently, if you burn more than you consume, you will lose weight. If you burn as much as you consume, your weight will remain stable. If you burn very little but continue to consume, you will gain weight.
During the festivities, adhere to portion control. When fixing your plate, serve a minimum serving. Dining on minimum amounts can be very satisfying. It requires practice, discipline and managing the discontent (when not giving into the overindulgence) to unlearn the practice of over eating. It is true that overindulging for several years can result in stretched stomachs making it difficult to create a sensation of ‘feeling full’. ‘Feeling full’ should not be your goal but feeling satisfied should. In addition, some people release those same feel good chemicals we make when we exercise, when they eat and overindulge. This can result in the practice of binge eating. For some people, feelings of loneliness and sadness result in binge eating because the consumption of food releases those feel good chemicals. If this is a consideration – binging or addiction to food – medications can be prescribed.
Try to cook healthy routinely, including during Thanksgiving and the December holidays. This could include not frying food, using healthier additives, including plenty of fresh vegetables and limiting the carbohydrates. When consuming carbohydrates, comply with portion control.
Exercise, portion control and eating healthy routinely will help you avoid the ‘post-holiday blues’.
(See our post from last year, on emotional self-care around the holidays.)