As we're approaching Christmas and New Years, I wanted to revisit my primary tips for eating healthier, painlessly through the holidays.
1. Breathe—remember your body needs a full breath. That means that you breathe clear into your belly. When you breathe shallow, your body takes it as the first cue that you are under stress and will need to run for your life. This makes your body hold onto calories and crave carbs. Take frequent breathing breaks to avoid throwing your body into a stress reaction; thereby reducing cravings and avoiding a metabolism slow down.
2. Set a food allowance. Commit to eating healthy 70, 80 or 90 percent of the time. During this time focus on eating 50% of your plate in vegetables and the remaining to include grains and a protein source. The remaining 30, 20 or 10 percent of the time you can relax a little. Remember when you let your guard down a bit treat it “like going out for drinks, not going out to get drunk.” You can have a serving of dessert, you don't need to have all the desserts, have a glass of wine, not a bottle of wine, etc.
3. Chew; then chew some more. Chewing is the most important part of digestion. Not only does it make the food small enough we can swallow it but it also breaks the cells open that hold the nutrition. If we don't break open the cells we don't get the nutrition and our bodies will continue to crave food. This also allows our body to start dispersing the enzymes necessary to process the food. The mouth is the only place the body releases salivary amylase which is the enzyme that allows the body to process carbohydrates.
4. Review the table before you eat. Take the time to look over the food being served. Eat foods that are minimally processed first. Look for foods made by friends and family members. Avoid the foods made in stores and factories. Look for the foods that have Vitamin L(Love) and avoid foods made by machines and/or in a tense production environment. Remember the old adage “You are what you eat” is true. Your food goes into your mouth, your body assimilates and absorbs the food; then uses it to make new cells and fuel your body. 5. Fill up on primary food first. The holidays are about family and relationships. Enjoy the company and the connections. People who have a strong community supporting them live longer, happier lives. So take a bite, chew, talk, laugh, love. Savor the food and the company.
Also, take small portions. Give yourself permission to go back for seconds or thirds but make a rule that you have to wait 5 minutes before going back for another portion. This will give time for you to enjoy the holidays, the food and allow your body to get the leptin, the hormone that tells your body it is full.
I hope you all have happy, fun and fulfilling holidays. Keep your focus on what matters most-love!