Things to do 𝓑𝓮𝓯𝓸𝓻𝓮:
➊ Have a plan! — Which foods are non-negotiable? Which foods are just OK that you’d be fine to skip this year. Spend some time thinking through this and having a game plan free of guilt and shame. You decide what makes sense for you and no one else.
➋ Exercise — Get your workout in like you normally do. Don’t skip. For women, workout in the morning because studies show that it helps improve insulin sensitivity and sets you up for better fat burn for the rest of the day.
➌ DO Not Skip meals. Even moreso, DO NOT fast! — I get it, you want to save your appetite for the ‘big meal’, but doing this will almost always guarantee someone will overeat; especially if you’re not fat adapted. Although generally a good practice, fasting before a big meal always backfires causing increased bloating. Instead, eat when you are hungry throughout the day focusing on proteins and healthy fats.
Things to do 𝓓𝓾𝓻𝓲𝓷𝓰:
➍ ACV — Taking Apple cider vinegar 20-30 minutes before your meal will help with 2 things: it helps stimulate adequate stomach acids to help digest your upcoming meal and two, it acts as a great probiotic, stimulating your gut biome for the upcoming task. ACV is also show to help curb appetite naturally.
➎ Eat Slowly — It takes 15-20 minutes for your fullness hormones to register in the brain that you’ve had enough. Eating too fast will almost always result in over-eating.
➏ Have more protein and fats — Of the 12+ hormones that signal fullness, NONE of them are activated by carbs (that’s why you can overeat carbs so easily). Therefore choose more protein and fats during your meal and keep carbs to a smaller portion. Extra points if your carbs are from whole, fresh versions (sweet potatoes, potatoes, veggies).
➐ Eat Carbs LAST — Several recent studies have shown a significant reduction in post-prandial (after meal) glucose levels if you eat carbs last! This means less insulin dump which means less fat storage signaling. So you don’t need to skip carbs, just eat them last!
Things to do 𝓐𝓯𝓽𝓮𝓻:
➑ Have your wine AFTER dinner. — Having a cocktail before (or even with) dinner will pause metabolism of your food until the calories from alcohol are burned. That means everything you eat will be converted to fat and “dealt with later”. Have wine at the end of your meal (like suggestion #7 but in this case you’re ‘drinking’ your carbs).
➒ Go for a walk — Or dance. Or move your body. Burn the calories you’ve just eaten with movement. Walking will also help activate your lymphatic system, detoxing and digestion. When you move, your muscles will help clear the glucose in your blood stream, decreasing insulin and helping not only with bloating but also reducing fat storage!
➓ Coffee (or Tea) and Cream before dessert — Before reaching for dessert, have a cup of coffee or tea with a Splash of heavy cream. Giving your body this final push of healthy fats may be just enough to “cap” your meal; lessening your desire for dessert. At the very least it may prevent you from eating a ton of dessert.
In the end, celebrate your WINS no matter how small. Passed on the sweet potato casserole? Wonderful!!! Only had one serving of dessert? Or one glass of wine? Stellar!!!!!! Healing your relationship with food takes time and is a skill that needs to be practiced.
Give yourself grace this season and know that it’s OK to set aside perfection. Soak in the love and joy from being around family and friends (there’s tons of research that say the endorphins from this have great healing power!!) and don’t worry too much about being perfect with your way of eating. There’s always the next day to get right back on track 😉
Arlene Santos is a Certified Health & Nutrition Coach and works with women and families to implement achievable nutrition plans centered around primal, nutrient dense foods that are easy to prepare, kid-friendly and delicious. She believes that every woman and mother deserves to feel energized, focused, healthy, lean, happy and confident. As purveyors of nutrition within our own households, mothers have a unique opportunity to change the definition of "healthy foods" in their families. Arlene empowers women to take back their own health, fill and strengthen their cups, so they can advocate for wellness in their families.