Does this scenario sound familiar to you? After dinner today, you roll yourself onto the couch and then feel as if someone will have to put you on a truck and haul you away. You did not realize you were eating that much, and you wish now that you hadn’t gone for that second (or third) helping. You may be uncomfortable for hours and swear you will not eat like that again. But, just when you start to feel better, it’s time for pie!
Yes, it’s time for the annual procession of all things food. Thanksgiving, however, doesn’t need to be a reason to stuff yourself. I look forward to the holiday as much as anyone, including the eating, but I make sure I do 3 things:
1. Control the portion sizes.
This will help with caloric intake. Generally, the smaller your portions, the fewer calories you are consuming. Taste just a little bit of everything instead of piling the food on your plate.
2. Eat slowly and enjoy every bite.
Eating slowly helps with digestion and it will take less food for you to feel full. We have all heard the expression, “You are what you eat”. It should actually read, “You are what you digest”, because if the food is not broken down completely into its simplest form, it will pass unused through your body.
It all starts with the teeth. By chewing thoroughly, you increase the surface area for the digestive enzymes to do their job. Try to chew a minimum of 20 times with each bite until the food is like an applesauce consistency. By using this strategy, your body will digest more of the food, and you will feel more satisfied eating less.
Take your time when you eat by putting your fork or food down between bites. Take at least 15 minutes to eat anything. If you eat too fast, you will most likely eat too much. When you eat more slowly, your stomach has a chance to send a message to the brain that it has had enough before it’s too late.
When you sit down to eat, do it consciously. Focus on eating, chewing, and tasting your food and don’t worry about cleaning your plate.
3. Go for a walk after dinner.
If you ever eat more than necessary, go for a leisurely walk afterward. The reason is simple: when you overeat, your body starts sending you signals that it wants you to go relax so it can digest and store all those calories. Avoid crashing on the sofa and go for a walk to change the signals you are sending your body. Now, instead of storing the calories, you are telling your body to burn them up. Sounds much better than putting on more fat around your waist, doesn’t it? Plus, you will feel much better once you get moving.
It will also help to drink extra water before, during, and after your big meal and walk to help the digestive process.
Enjoy the non-culinary pleasures of the holidays, the atmosphere, relaxation, and socializing with your friends and family, not just the food.