Can't stop eating? Well it's only going to get worse in the next few weeks. Avoid looking like Jabba by the time you're back at work, by following these fail-safe rules, as laid out by Dr John Briffa.
A common tactic for those anticipating a festive pig-out at lunch or dinner is to eschew breakfast. This strategy is false economy for most, however, as it almost always leads to uncontrolled hunger later in the day when food is at its most tempting and accessible. Eating breakfast is a key strategy for ensuring relatively controlled eating without needing to exercise undue restraint whatever is on offer later in the day.
Eat plenty of protein
Not all foods sate the appetite to the same extent, and basing the diet on truly satisfying foodstuffs does much to prevent overeating without hunger. Protein, calorie for calorie, has superior appetite sating properties to carbohydrate or fat. So, don’t be shy about getting your fill of eggs (say, for breakfast), meat, fish and nuts (see below) throughout the festive season.
Cut back on carbs
Fatty accumulation in the body is a process driven to some degree by a combination of spikes of sugar in the bloodstream and gluts of the hormone insulin that the body secretes in response. What this means is that those seeking to avoid piling on the pounds should scale back their intake of sugary foods as well as blood sugar-disruptive starchy carbs including bread, potatoes, rice, pasta and breakfast cereals.
One key to exercising restrain without sacrifice at mealtime is not to be too hungry when we sit down to eat. The fact is, many of us simply go too long without food, particularly between lunch and dinner, and end up gorging on none-too-healthy food as a result. The solution? Snack on a satisfying, protein-rich snack such as nuts if you get peckish between meals, particularly in the late afternoon or early evening. Simple.
Keep hunger and thirst at bay before drinking
Not being too hungry before eating can reduce the amount of alcohol we quaff too, and that’s because some of us sometimes use alcohol to pick our blood sugar levels up and sate our hunger in the evening. Another major driver of alcohol consumption is thirst. If you want to put a natural brake on how much you drink, make sure you’re neither particularly hungry nor thirsty at the start of a seasonal session.
The carb in some alcohol drinks can predispose to weight gain, with beer being the worst offender (it is called a beer belly, after all), and spirits being the best in this regard. Vodka is perhaps the healthiest option of all as it’s generally the purest of drinks and therefore least likely to induce a hangover from hell. The drink of choice? I suggest vodka and soda with a dash of lime.
Match each drink with water
Whatever you drink, you’ll do less damage if you match it with roughly the same volume of water. Water can displace some of the alcohol (so you drink less), and also help detoxification, and reduce the tendency to a hangover the following day. If you’re going to drink, do yourself a favour and drink some water with it.