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Holiday binge, without the guilt

It is always best to be conscious about what you eat. Eating with abandon will make you end up with regret. So, eat wisely.

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Should have, shouldn’t have. Yes, the worrying has started to set in, although you have long anticipated this season with great expectation and some trepidation.

Almost everyone believes they have to give themselves permission to become a little more lax about their diets as the holiday season beckons one to simply let go — even just a little bit or a lot.

Besides, there is always tomorrow, right?

EAT with your mind, not with your eyes. / PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF UNSPLASH/JED OWEN

Permission granted
Whether you believe that over-pampering yourself is a good thing or not, it’s really all about the attitude that you deserve to be excessive (at least for a fleeting moment). And why not?

But how much is too much, I wonder. Here are a few examples:

Chocoholic. Understanding dark chocolates and the theobromine it contains is not rocket science. Theobromine is a natural stimulant that has the ability to dilate blood vessels and may lower blood pressure. The effect is one of relaxation. Obviously, to indulge in chocolates is good only if it is dark chocolate. The white and the milk versions have high amounts of fat.

Nancy, age 45, considered chocolates as her comfort food. So, during the holidays, she consumed an average of three chocolate bars daily. This went on for years until, one day, she felt nauseous and unwell. Initial medical findings showed that she was a borderline diabetic. The lesson: choose the sugar-free or stevia, coconut sugar or monk fruit sweetened variety of chocolate when going on a chocolate binge.

Binge drinking. This is defined as a pattern of drinking four or more drinks in a span of two hours or less. While people who enjoy their alcoholic beverage of choice are in a party mood, they may be unaware of the limits the human body can take. While this habit is serious, it does not necessarily mean that the person is an alcoholic. However, if left unchecked, it could lead to a dependence on alcohol one day. As always, the key is moderation.

Richard’s story is a compelling one. He needed his wine fix every night as his form of therapy. But the habit had become a bad one until he realized that he was drinking past the allowed limits.

It was easy for him to consume one bottle of red wine each evening. Finally, through family intervention, he agreed to change his lifestyle habits. From a zero-alcohol program to a manageable two glasses a night, he was luckier than most. Today, he still enjoys his quiet moments listening to classical music while slowly sipping his favorite Margaux.

Food overload. Can one really overeat and not end up with an upset stomach? Well, George, who is in his 30s, thought so until one fine dinner. The star of the banquet was lechon. He thought an extra helping of four servings would be permissible. Perhaps, mentally, he was prepared, but his tummy was not. An hour after his indulgent heaps of food, he developed the worst stomach ache in his life. Lucky for him, it was gas pains caused by indigestion. Apparently, he was eating faster than his digestion could keep up with the pace of his temporary gluttony.

The solution: take a probiotic pill and digestive enzymes at least 30 minutes before planning to have a big meal. Always take a cup of very warm water before a meal to stimulate your gastric juices.

Eat the raw food before consuming cooked food. This includes salads and fruits. Take your time. Never gulp your food down. It takes 20 minutes for the stomach to send signals to the brain that it is full. So, be like the French and the Italians. Meal time is like romancing the feast. Take your time. Finally, eat in moderation. Never tell yourself, “One last bite.” It’s never a valid justification for stressing your digestive system. Unless you want to regret it afterwards.

Carbo treat. Loading up on carbo is permissible for marathoners and athletes for their energy and endurance. But if you live a sedentary life or are only recreationally active, eating too much carbo is not recommended. This doesn’t mean that you cannot have that generous serving of pasta. Once in a while, it’s okay. Remember, for exercises lasting 90 minutes or more, you can practice carbo-loading, but for regular workout days, it may not work well for you. Now, can you eat that half a plateful of pasta? Yes, if it is taken during lunchtime. This, because you will be needing energy for the rest of the day. But in the evening, try not to eat too much carbs, if possible. And if you cannot avoid it due to numerous social engagements, limit carbo consumption to half a cup.

So, if you ate two pieces of dinner rolls, stop right after.

DRINK and eat in moderation. / PHOTOGRAPHS COURTESY OF PEXELS/NICOLE MICHALOU, UNSPLASH/KRAKEN IMAGES

Listen to Angie, a senior citizen. She enjoyed her rice immensely. Instead of the usual one cup of rice per meal, at
Christmastime she increased it to two cups. Within two weeks, she could not fit into her favorite red dress. After weighing herself, she was in dismay. Her weight gain was 10 pounds. Seeking professional help from a fitness expert, she restricted her carbo intake to one cup per day. With increased exercise, she was able to shed off her excess pounds in eight days.

It is always best to be conscious about what you eat. Eating with abandon will make you end up with regret. So, eat wisely. Enjoy your pasta or paella but follow the law of compensation: eat less the next day.

Helpful guidelines
Eat with your mind, not your eyes. This should be second nature to you.

Always have your probiotic pills and digestive enzyme supplements within reach.

Take something with high fiber content, like a healthy salad, before devouring that turkey or steak.

Don’t forget to take a cup of hot water before a meal to assist in digestion. Do not drink water or juice during a meal. Always before if possible. Water can dilute digestive juices.

It is okay to have dessert. Just take enough to satisfy your sweet cravings. No need to get a second serving of the pie or cake.

Take ginger or green tea after a meal to ease your tummy after a big meal.

Eat while seated comfortably. And try not to stand up or bend while eating. It helps digest your food better. This also prevents acid reflux.

Eat without engaging in heavy conversation. You don’t want air to enter your tummy to disrupt digestion.

Take a short, relaxing stroll after meals in order to prevent high-blood sugar conditions. To maintain a good sugar level, take turmeric or berberine supplements after a meal.

Have some peppermint tea.

Mealtimes are supposed to be pleasant. Ban arguments at the dining table.

Affirmation: “I am a magnet for happiness.”

Love and light.

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