How to Avoid Overeating At Christmas to Prevent Hormone Imbalance
Though the holiday season should be a time of joy spent gathering with loved ones, it is also associated with overeating and indulging in sugary foods. Though the occasional indulgence is nothing to worry about, sometimes gifts of baked goods and other treats accompanied by tons of leftovers means that what should be a rare treat turns into a couple weeks’ worth of consuming junk food daily. By the time the new year rolls around, some people find themselves with extra holiday weight due to hormone imbalance.
What Happens to Your Body When You Overeat During Christmas?
Not only is the Christmas season associated with cakes, candies, and other goodies, but for some, it is also associated with high levels of stress. These two issues both do a number on the body’s hormones. For example, any food containing sugar will require insulin for digestion. High-stress environments can lead to the secretion of cortisol. This time of year, hormones and weight gain go hand in hand.
Hormones and Weight Gain
High levels of insulin in the blood can lead to holiday weight gain. This is because as the body is using insulin to digest glucose, the body’s ability to use fat as fuel is suppressed. That can lead to insulin resistance and an increase in adipose tissue. This tissue creates cytokines which may lead to inflammation. This is why after indulging in junk food, the body may experience headaches, bloating, and fatigue.
Similarly, the stress hormone cortisol can have that same fat-storage effect. Studies have shown that not only does cortisol lead to fat storage, but it increases visceral fat stores. Dealing with the stress associated with the busy holiday season can lead to increased levels of cortisol. This, coupled with overeating at Christmas, will lead to an imbalance of both insulin and cortisol and possible extra holiday weight.
Tips to Avoid Overeating at Christmas
Does this mean that everyone is doomed to put on an extra 10 pounds between December and January? The good news is that there are plenty of ways to get a handle on your holiday eating so that you are not bringing extra holiday weight into the new year. Read more to learn how to avoid overeating at Christmas.
1.Watch the portions
As tempting as it is to fill your plate with a large serving of all your holiday favorites, consider keeping portions small. Load up on fiber and protein while limiting the amount of starchy, sugary, and deep-fried foods. Perhaps start with a green salad packed with fiber-rich vegetables before your main course.
2. Focus on consuming fiber
Foods containing fiber have been shown to stimulate production of the satiety hormone cholecystokinin (CCK). Adding fiber to meals can even improve the secretion of Peptide YY (PPY) which is a hormone that aids in keeping food intake low. A high fiber diet may even reduce the level of estrogen in the body which is sometimes associated with weight gain.
3. Limit dessert
Sugary foods mean the body will need to secrete insulin. Plan ahead and decide which items you will indulge in and hold yourself to it. Instead of taking a sample of all the treats you encounter, pick one or two favorites to try, and keep the portions small. Split a dessert item with a family member or limit yourself to one sweet treat.
4. Cut back on alcohol
Certain alcoholic beverages can be too easy to overdo. One glass of wine or beer with a meal is not the worst idea, but it is far too easy for that one glass to turn into many. Sip on spirits or other alcoholic beverages that are best enjoyed in small portions.
5. Avoid processed foods
As busy as the season can be, it is no surprise that some find it easy to pick up fast food or other processed foods because they are convenient. A little planning will go a long way when it comes to snacking. Wash and cut some veggies to have on hand for a quick snack. If you are craving something crunchy and salty, choose nuts over crisps.
6. Serve yourself
The only way to be sure that you are getting a reasonable amount of food is to serve yourself. Others may have a different idea of portion sizes which may result in receiving a plateful of food that could easily feed two people. Worse yet, some may even feel as if they are obligated to clean their plate as to not offend anyone. The best way to avoid this is to portion out your meal for yourself so that you will be in control of how much you should be eating.
7. Stay Hydrated
Making sure that you are properly hydrated is sound advice any time of year. If you feel you may be hungry, try a glass of water or cup of green tea instead. Green tea even has the added benefit of lowering insulin levels and containing healthy antioxidants.
The idea sounds simple enough. With a little planning and knowledge of hormones and weight gain, it is possible to avoid overeating at Christmas. However, once those sweets and other seasonal favorites show up, it is not as easy as it appears. If you are hoping to avoid gaining additional holiday weight, then there will be some work required. Plan in advance to have healthy snacks such as vegetables and nuts on hand. Also make a plan for the rare indulgences you will allow yourself to enjoy. Keep a close eye on your portion sizes, and limit intake of alcohol. Most importantly, it is important to remember to relax and enjoy the season with your family, friends, and loved ones.
* These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. We can’t guarantee the treatment result, as the symptoms of conditions are unpredictable and vary greatly from person to person. The treatment length and recovery time also varies for individual. Please visit our consultation page where a specialists will discuss your care and provide a consultation, and the treatment will be designed to meet your individual needs.
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