With the holiday season quickly approaching, food is everywhere! From festive Christmas parties to dinners and catch-ups with family and friends, this time of year certainly tends to centre around food! This is why that this time of year is often accompanied with a few extra kilograms or a few bouts of abdominal pain, caused by overeating.
The reason that we get that uncomfortable feeling of tummy pain after a big meal is quite obvious- When the stomach is overloaded, food takes longer to digest. Therefore the food stays in the stomach longer and leads to bloating and constipation.
With normal sized meals, food is broken up into small pockets and moved through the intestines in waves of contracting and relaxing, contracting and relaxing. But, when the stomach is overloaded it is forced to move too much into the intestines at once. The intestines are jammed, like a traffic jam, and hardly anything moves. This causes weary muscles, and a longer transit time.
As a result of this longer transit time, more water is extracted from the stool, and therefore it becomes dry and compact, making elimination painful.
Below is a guide to help avoid abdominal discomfort and weight gain this holiday season:
1. Eat healthy most of the time.
Make healthy low-calorie choices when you can. Celebrate only at a holiday dinner party or during a holiday event. Plan your day and even plan for your occasional splurge.
2. Eat what you love.
Do not waste calories overeating on cookies and junk food that you do not like just because they are sitting there or because someone else is eating them. Save your extra calories for special foods you enjoy during this time of year.
3. Mind your portions.
This means that you can still indulge in your favourite foods instead of banning them completely. The trick is to eat larger portions of healthy foods balanced with smaller portions of more indulgent choices.
4. Eat more fruits and veggies.
High in fibre, rich in nutrients, and low in calories, enjoying colourful fruits and vegetables is a great choice. Try filling half of your plate with fruits or vegetables at each meal.
5. Limit liquid calories.
When we drink our calories instead of eat them, we do not tend to register fullness and we often end up consuming extra unnecessary calories. Many alcoholic drinks also tend to be high in calories and drinking tends to decrease our resistance to temptations. Instead, fill up on water or seltzer, before your meal which will keep you hydrated and will prevent eating too much.
6. Keep up your exercise routine.
Choose an exercise routine you enjoy and pick a time that works for you so that you will stick to it. Exercise also promotes bowel movement which is helpful to clear out the intestines the day after a celebration.
But most importantly, Drop the guilt! New research has found that people who feel guilty after eating large amounts of snack foods tend to gain more weight than those who don’t feel the guilt. So, If you do overeat, do not feel guilty as this is the time of year to enjoy yourself, to relax and to indulge in Christmas cheer!
For some deliciously healthy Christmas recipes visit: