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Katherine Moon
Katherine Isabella Moon
Meow, hello there, my name is Katherine, but you can call me Kat; because I basically am a cat. Anyways, I am a 26-year-old, lifestyle blogger, with an INFP-T personality type, from the United States. I love fashion, the color pink, cats, dogs, and spending all my time on my computer. I'm often seen wearing cat ears headbands.
The Kat Life
The Kat Life

how I'm choosing to live my best life

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

How I Avoid Overeating At Holiday Dinners

Christmas table setting
Photo courtesy of Terri Cnudde on Pixabay

Although I wouldn't quite call myself a foodie, I do love food. I look forward to any holiday where there is food involved. Especially holidays with foods that I wouldn't typically have any other day, such as Easter, Thanksgiving, or Christmas. Although, in my household, we sometimes have a big dinner on New Year's Day rather than on Christmas. Either way, I still look forward to that special holiday dinner whenever it happens. The only thing is, it's extremely easy to overeat at holiday dinners. I've been known to get so excited at dinner time that I'll pile so much onto my plate that I'm lucky if I can finish what I put onto my plate. So much so that I actually won't have room for dessert! 

No, seriously, I'll actually have to pass on dessert because I'm so full my stomach can't take anymore. Even though it always makes me sad to pass on dessert, I have to listen to my body telling me to stop at that point. Unless I want to make the discomfort in my belly even worse, or even get sick. I'm not passing on dessert to cut back on calories, or anything like that. I do like to indulge a little bit during the holidays. If I can, I will often have my dessert the next day if I'm too full after dinner. But I'd prefer to have room for dessert after dinner when everyone else is having dessert. I'd also strongly prefer to avoid digestive discomfort and the feeling of being so full that it feels like I can't move. So it's better if I  avoid overeating in any way that I can, while still enjoying the holidays. 

How I Avoid Overeating On Holidays

Before I get started, I'd like to make it clear that this is not about calorie restriction! Although some of these tips may help you to spare a few calories, this is more about avoiding digestive discomfort than anything else. I'm all for indulging a little bit for the holidays or on special occasions. I just don't want to give myself a tummy ache in the process. Because that's not fun. 

Don't skip meals

Waffle with berries for breakfast
Photo courtesy of Humphrey Muleba on Unsplash

I used to have this mindset that if I skip breakfast and don't eat anything before dinner, I'll be extra hungry, and I'll be able to eat way more. While it's true that I do feel extra hungry when I don't eat anything before dinner, I usually can't eat as much as I think I can. Honestly, I can't actually eat that much more than I would typically be able to if I didn't skip any meals. Yet, I'll pile a ton of food onto my dinner plate, thinking I'm hungry enough to eat it all, and I'll start struggling less than halfway through. The fact that I tend to eat faster when I'm hungry from skipping meals doesn't really help the situation either. Skipping meals and not eating until dinner can also lead to me becoming hangry, and I mean hangry. To the point that I'm quick to get irritated and become snippy. Which isn't exactly great if I'm around relatives. Especially children. Enough said.

At the very least, I'd say not to skip breakfast. But I also wouldn't skip lunch if dinner is going to be later in the day. These don't have to be large or heavy meals. Just enough to keep hunger (and hanger) at bay.

Stay hydrated throughout the day

Woman drinking water
Photo courtesy of Sean Kong on Unsplash

I find that it can be easy to forget to drink enough water when it's colder outside, and it can be even easier to forget to stay hydrated on busy days like the holidays. When you're running around, preparing for the holidays, or you're just caught up in the excitement, it's easy for drinking water to slip your mind. Let's be honest, drinking enough water is probably the last thing on your mind on a busy holiday. So it wouldn't be a bad idea to keep a water bottle with you at all times and keep it within easy reach, so you're less likely to forget to stay hydrated.

Another thing that really helps me is to make sure that I drink a glass of water either with or before my meal, as drinking water helps to regulate your digestive system. It also aids in recognizing my body's satiety cues, so I don't go back for unnecessary seconds thinking I'm still hungry. 

Snack mindfully

Snack tray
Photo courtesy of Brooke Lark on Unsplash

On a typical day, I like to have a couple of snacks throughout the day to stave off hunger between meals. Sometimes I also like to enjoy an indulgent treat while I'm watching a YouTube video, TV show, or movie, not gonna lie. So when the holiday treats come out, I find it hard to resist. And honestly, I don't try that hard to resist. As some of these treats only come out a few times a year, if not only once a year. So why not treat yourself and enjoy them while you can? The only thing I'd say is to be mindful of your snacking and to avoid filling up on snack items.

One thing that helps me to be mindful of my snacking is to make a note of each snack that I choose to have, whether physically in my journal or even just making a mental note. It also helps to plan out my snacks and to consider which snacks I really want. Although, not gonna lie, when it comes to the holiday treats, I may want a little of almost everything. And honestly, I'll typically allow myself that for holidays, as long as it isn't all sweets; too much sugar can give me a stomach ache quickly. But with everything else, I'll put a little of everything that I'm craving onto a small snack plate, then sit down and enjoy them.

Keep an eye on your portion sizes

Table setting for a dinner party
Photo courtesy of Sincerely Media on Unsplash

One of the biggest things for me when it comes to any large meal is knowing my limit, and watching how much I'm putting on my plate. I've actually gotten much better at this over the last few years. In the past, I'd overfill my plate based on how much I wanted to think I could eat, rather than how much I know I can actually eat. Either that or I'd base my portion sizes off of how much other people would put on their plate, despite knowing it would be too much for me to be able to comfortably finish. But now I base my portion sizes at dinner off of my own limits, and what I know I can finish. I also like to take a bit less than what I know I can eat when I'm serving myself. Holiday foods are often heavier than the foods that I normally eat, and are much more filling. Plus, I want to make sure I'll have room for dessert! 

Enjoy your meal

Woman enjoying her meal
Photo courtesy of Mike Mayer on Unsplash

You're probably not going to be having a special meal like a holiday dinner very often, so try to take a moment to truly enjoy it. No, seriously, truly take the time to enjoy this meal and savor every bite. There is no need to rush through dinner. Take smaller bites and spend a little extra time chewing. Not only will you get a little extra enjoyment out of your meal, but you'll also make it easier on your digestive system. And regardless of whether you're eating alone, or with family, it wouldn't be a bad idea to put the electronics away for this meal and focus on this special dinner.

On a typical day, I'm guilty of multitasking while I'm eating. I'm often working on my blog, scrolling social media, or watching something when I'm eating. Perhaps this is another thing I need to work as a New Year's resolution. Because am I really enjoying my food if I'm working, reading, gaming, or scrolling through Twitter while I'm eating? I'll also tend to ignore my body's satiety cues if I'm distracted and end up giving myself a belly ache. So perhaps I should be trying to minimize or eliminate distractions on a more regular basis than just the holidays. 

Try to relax

Woman relaxing on the couch
Photo courtesy of Paige Cody on Unsplash

For me, one of the biggest causes of tummy troubles is being anxious or stressed out. It's no secret that the holidays can be stressful as it is, but for myself and many others, social anxiety can also be a factor at dinner parties. When I'm not eating at home, I often find my social anxiety rearing its ugly head. Sometimes making me feel a little woozy on its own. I also tend to find myself eating faster when I'm stressed out or anxious for any reason, and not taking the time to chew my food properly. Which isn't exactly great for digestion, especially for large meals. Or when my gut may already be a little wound up from stress or anxiety. 

Relaxing is often easier said than done. Sure, there's an element of discipline in everything else on this list, but I find that it's easier to control my actions than my thoughts or how I'm feeling. Honestly, I'm still working on how to go about calming my mind when social anxiety hits, or when any significant stressor comes up. One of the biggest things that I've found to be helpful is trying to take a few slow, deep, and controlled breaths if I start to feel anxious. It also helps to meditate or to do something that relaxes you before you go to a holiday party, or to any event that may make you anxious. 

Another thing worth trying when it comes to holidays with a lot of extra food is to maybe try a yoga routine created to help aid digestion. Yoga With Adriene has a full playlist of yoga routines that can help to aid digestion. Adriene also has an abundance of routines on her channel that can help with stress and anxiety. 

Once again, I'd like to make it crystal clear that this is not about calorie restriction or passing on those fun holiday foods that you really want. Although you may shave off some of the extra calories with these tips, this is more about being mindful and using moderation to avoid a tummy ache. Because who wants an upset stomach? Especially during the holidays! Although I do feel like that feeling of being "stuffed" and holding your belly is just a part of holiday dinners. So maybe I'm "doing it wrong" by trying to avoid that? But personally, that "stuffed" feeling makes me feel a little Grinchy! So it's better if I avoid it. 

Do you have any additional tips for avoiding overeating, and keeping your digestive system happy during the holidays? Or do you prefer to embrace that "stuffed" feeling instead? And what's your favorite holiday food? I'd love to hear your thoughts! 
Thank you for reading, and I hope the rest of your day is wonderful!
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