Christmas Cravings (And How to Stay in Control)
Christmas is here and so are all of the incredible baked goods and tasty treats. This time of year can be especially tempting with so much on offer and messages on every sign, commercial, and storefront telling you to “Treat yourself” and “indulge”.
Part of a healthy lifestyle is balance and moderation, so for our special holiday blog we are prepared to help you manage your Christmas cravings, and not let the indulgences become over-indulgences.
First, let’s talk about sugar cravings.
A lot of holiday baking is centered around sweets. As you should know, eating too many sweets can leave you feeling bloated, inflamed, overstuffed, and guilty.
When sweets are presented to you this holiday season, try to pick your favourite, and tell yourself you can enjoy and savour 1 or 2. Giving yourself permission to enjoy what you really want will help you feel like you are not restricting yourself too much.
Having 1 or 2 of these treats will definitely give you more sugar than you need to be consuming on any given day, but these are the holidays and so if a sacrifice must be made, then so be it.
With that said, many people see the week from Christmas to New Years as a free-for-all. This mentality needs to be avoided. On Christmas day there will be indulgences, but come boxing day, everything should go back to normal. Eat the way you were before Christmas and continue on with your healthy lifestyle.
Try to avoid the boxing day guilt trip, which leaves you feeling like you committed a mortal sin by enjoying treats the day before. Crash dieting or over exercising the next will only add stress to your life and will further encourage an unhealthy relationship with food and exercise.
As a final point on sugar cravings, understand that the more you indulge in sweets, the harder it will be to avoid them the following few days.
This is because when you have a lot of sugar, it spikes your insulin, gives your brain a ton of glucose to run off of, and temporarily gives you a dopamine boost. When you are done burning through those sweets, you brain and body will crave that feeling again, making it seem impossible to say to sweets for the following few days.
Get ahead of this by having meals composed of healthy fats and proteins prepared for the rest of the week (hello turkey leftovers!). Drink lots of water, and remind yourself that if you give in, it will only make it harder to say no the next time.
Curb those cravings
When our body craves certain food it can actually be a sign of something else.
Dehydration has been shown to play tricks on the mind. When you are dehydrated your brain will misinterpret signals from the body and make you feel hungry, or agitated, or tired, when really all you need is a big glass of water.
Try having 1L of water for every 50lbs of body weight.
How Balanced is your Diet?
Cravings can be a symptom of nutrient deficiencies as well. Over the holidays it is so easy to miss out on important nutrients because we are eating a lot of the same thing, or we aren’t eating enough because we are running around to parties, and shopping malls, all while we try to get our work done before the holiday break.
A quick tip to ensure you are getting enough of the right nutrients in your day is to start the day strong. Your breakfast (or whatever meal you break your fast with) should have a high amount of healthy fats, proteins, and carbohydrates in the form of dark leafy greens, or dark berries.
This simple format to put together your first meal of the day means that you are likely getting a good amount of the vital nutrients that you require to feel energized, nourished, and satiated.
Most important of all!
Enjoy yourself. This time of year is meant to remind us of the good in our fellow man and woman. Gift giving, social events, and even family baking are all ways we reconnect with friends, family, and coworkers to remember the year that has passed, and the one that is ahead.