As the festive season kicks in, no doubt most of us will end up eating and drinking a bit more than usual.
Some good advice I try to follow is don't eat and run, but carve out enough time in your day to sit down and savour your meal one bite at a time.
Enjoy eating with family or friends, or eating alone with some relaxing music maybe? Eat your food slowly and chew each bite completely to facilitate proper digestion.
Slowing down your eating connects you with the global "slow food" movement, which promotes growing your own, buying locally, preparing meals from scratch, eating in a relaxed, celebratory environment, and generally deepening your appreciation of the entire experience of eating, instead of just slamming your taste buds with the instant gratification of sweet or greasy processed foods.
There are loads of health benefits which can be achieved when fasting intermittently. Intermittent fasting (IF) has become a very popular way of helping with weight management (assuming you go easy on the carbs and sugar) as well as having anti-inflammatory effects, helping to clear out dysfunctional potentially cancerous cells (autophagy) and promoting the release of BDNF which is like ‘miracle grow’ in the brain as well as other health benefits. IF basically involves a prolonged period of not eating during the day, and then creating an eating window during which you eat healthily, when hungry and only until you are full. The more adapted you become at burning ingested and stored fat, the easier it becomes and the less hungry you feel. A good read on this subject is Michael Mosley’s The Fast Diet.1
So how about a slow and relaxing evening meal in good company, wake up the next morning, grab a coffee or cup of tea but hold off on eating anything until after midday or near enough if you get really peckish. If you’ve had a rich and filling meal the night before this will be easier. You may need to take it more slowly if you normally have a bowl of cereal for breakfast as your body will be looking for that sugar hit. But over time your body adapts, more easily if you are eating a lower carbohydrate and higher fat diet.2,3
Eating this way may help prevent the usual Christmas weight gain while you can still enjoy good food and festivity, just don’t forget to get some exercise as well!
1. Mosley M, Spencer M. The FastDiet-Revised & Updated: Lose Weight, Stay Healthy, and Live Longer with the Simple Secret of Intermittent Fasting. Simon and Schuster; 2015 Jan 6.
2. Phinney SD, Volek JS. The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Living: An Expert Guide to Making the Life-Saving Benefits of Carbohydrate Restriction Sustainable and Enjoyable. Beyond Obesity LLC. 2011.
3. Sisson M. The primal blueprint: reprogramme your genes for effortless weight loss, vibrant health and boundless energy. Random House; 2012 Aug 31.