List: 6 ways to reduce over consumption


Holiday calories count: How to reduce overeating.  

Thanksgiving Turkey

Thanksgiving dinner. Roasted turkey on holiday table with pumpkins, flowers and wine

The real truth about holiday calorie counts is that we eat way too much.  I have heard many people make this delusional statement.  The fact is that we, Americans, consume a huge amount of calories every holiday season.  Have you ever wondered how many calories you consume on a typical Thanksgiving?  Some news sources have estimated that we consume an extra 619 calories per day from Thanksgiving to New Years.  If we assume that is 35 days on the average, that will come to about a pound every 5-6 days or about 6-7 pounds in a month.  That is a huge difference, and it should not surprise you why we feel terrible when we return to work.  

How do you enjoy the holidays and not supersize your waist? Slow down and be more mindful while you eat.  Pay attention to the food and enjoy it.  If you are aware, you will be less likely to overeat.  I have written about mindful eating before.  Mindfulness is a popular buzzword today in the weight loss world. Mindful eating doesn’t necessarily mean dieting and will not always end in weight loss, but it can help.   

6 Tips to reduce your holiday overeating by being mindful:

  1. Only eat when you are hungry.  Grazing is not the way to lose or maintain weight loss.  Try to eat when you are only hungry.  Avoid food as the answer for stress or as a comfort food.  
  2. Avoid drinking your calories.  Be mindful of the calorie counts of the beverages you are drinking.  Eggnog or soda can pack on the pounds.  
  3. Slow it down.  Eating fast does not allow you to adapt to the food you are eating.   Allow your stomach to expand and your mind to feel satisfied.  Take the time to enjoy mealtime.   
  4. Drink plenty of water.  Drinking water can help fill you up quicker.  
  5. Savour your food.  Go beyond tasting the food and enjoy your food.  Enjoy the company, sounds, and smells of dinner.  Feel the textures and slowly chew the food and taste the flavours.  Taking the time to savour each bite and increase satisfaction and lower the amount of food you eat.
  6. Choose a smaller plate.  Using a smaller plate allows you to take less food and encourages proper portion sizes.  Smaller plates will slow eating and allows you to realize you are full.  
  7. Put on the breaks when you are full.  You should stop when you are full.  You can leave some food for later, and this is not an eating contest.  In fact, eat more is not the goal so just stop.
  8. Exercise after meals.  After dinner, get some physical activity. Take your kids outside and take a walk.  This exertion will help prevent that second or third trip down the feeding line. 

The bottom line: You can avoid or reduce weight gain during the holidays.  Use mindful eating to stave off the expanded waistline. 

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About the Author

I am a family physician who has served in the US Army. In 2016, I found myself overweight, out of shape, and unhealthy, so I made a change to improve my health. This blog is the chronology of my path to better health and what I have learned along the way.

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