Emotional Eating Around the Holidays
This week on the Harmony with Food radio show I talked about how the brain, immune system, and gut health are related, and I shared my strategies for preventing weight gain and emotional eating during the holidays.
The Brain, The Immune System, and Gut Health
A study has recently come out showing that 90 days of pre- and probiotics can help reduce inflammation and decrease chronic disease risk. This is no surprise to me because I've been saying for years that our gut health is essential to our overall health. In fact, about 80% of our immune system is in our gut.
They are now saying that the immune system plays a role in developing Alzheimer's. They are also saying that brain fog, joint pain, and more can be due to your microbiome. I always say, fix the brain, fix the gut. If you're experiencing anxiety or depression, this can also be caused by your microbiome or a lack of certain micronutrients like B Vitamins or CoQ10.
Read this podcast recap for more on how brain and gut health interact.
Preventing Weight Gain This Holiday Season
The Overeating Cycle
On a scale of 0 to 10 (where 0 is starving and 10 is so full you feel sick), you should be at a 5 when you finish eating. You want to feel satisfied, but not overly full.
Too often, people wind up overeating, then they feel sick and guilty. Then, they try to go to sleep, which is difficult because their brain has energy from all that food. They finally get to sleep, then their blood sugar drops, and they wake up. They didn't get into the restorative REM sleep that also helps with breaking down fat and weight loss. Then, they wake up feeling terrible, get on the scale, and see that they've gained 2 more pounds. From there, they start the day feeling terrible and the whole rest of the day goes downhill, and the cycle repeats.
I don't want that for you!
Strategies to Prevent Overeating During the Holidays
From Thanksgiving to New Years, my goal for my clients is to maintain their weight and prevent gaining. Here are a few strategies you can use:
Figure out how many events you are attending. The first thing I have them do is mark every event that they're going to. It can often be a lot, and you know there is going to be a lot of crappy food there. Once you know how many you have, you can start making a plan.
Bring a healthy dish. Don't feel bad about bringing a healthy dish to the party. Many times, people get tired of all the indulgent food and appreciate something healthy! And, just because it is healthy doesn't mean it can't be delicious. When you bring something healthy, it makes it easier to make good decisions.
Keep your blood sugars stable. Don't walk into a party hungry. Have a healthy snack beforehand that has carbs and protein, like an apple and peanut butter or carrots and hummus. I also recommend arriving a little late so you aren't waiting around and getting overly hungry and then snacking.
Fix your gut. This is a bigger preventative strategy, but working on your gut health can actually help with your cravings and make it easier to make healthy choices. You can learn more about testing and working with me HERE.