The holiday party is looming large, but your waistline doesn’t have to be. To short-circuit the not-so-festive overeating cycle, plan ahead with some savvy healthy eating tips from Advance ER’s Dr. Ronnie Shalev in Dallas, TX.
“Besides the physical problems caused by overeating during the holidays – such as diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, heartburn or acid reflux, and irritable bowels – binge eating can contribute to depression and emotional angst as you mentally beat yourself up for eating so much junk,” said Dr. Shalev. “Instead, you can feel healthy and successful by implementing a few simple tricks to keep the calories down.”
Here are a few tricks to help curb the temptation to overeat at the party:
- Drink water, not punch – don’t add unnecessary calories by imbibing in calorie-laden drinks. Instead, add a lemon, cucumber, orange slice or strawberry to your water and enjoy something that actually quenches your thirst. Since thirst and hunger are a similar feeling, reach for your water first.
- Eat a healthy snack before leaving for the party – grab a fast snack like a small handful of almonds, granola, kale chips or dried fruit to take the edge off your appetite prior to the big meal. Reach for a high-fiber option, such as an apple or carrots, or a protein, like edamame or yogurt, to fill you up faster. Not only will you eat less overly-rich food at the party, but you’ll also feel good about yourself.
- Talk more – find ways to slow down your eating speed to give your stomach time to catch up. Talk to others, spread out your courses, drink water in-between – whatever you can do to allow your brain time to process chemicals from the stomach to tell you when it’s full. It will take 20-30 minutes to get the message.
- Mindful eating – this technique uses self-evaluation to check whether or not you are truly hungry and when you are full enough to quit. You have to ask yourself questions such as “Am I hungry?” to find the answer that lets you know when to stop.
- Sleep more – studies have shown that people who have not gotten enough sleep tend to overeat. When you’re low on sleep, your body produces less leptin, the hormone that regulates hunger, and increases the production of ghrelin, the hormone that tells you that you’re hungry. To beat the holiday pounds, make sure you are getting plenty of sleep every night.
“Try to visualize the party coming up and imagine where your biggest temptations will be,” said Dr. Shalev. “Then, come up with a plan to sample your favorite things but to stop short of crazy overeating. If you can enter the dinner with a plan, you’re more likely to eat healthier and feel better afterwards.”
What if I end up getting sick?
Even best-laid holiday plans can go awry. If your holiday is interrupted by sickness, injury or other emergent medical conditions, you can count on Advance ER to be open 24/7, even on holidays. A board-certified physician with an average of 15 years of experience will be there to take care of you.
Advance ER is available in two locations for your convenience:
Advance ER – Galleria Area
Advance ER – Park Cities
Meet Dr. Shalev:
Dr. Ronnie P. Shalev is board-certified in emergency medicine and sees patients of all ages. Dr. Shalev received her medical degree from Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center School of Medicine in Lubbock, TX.
Dr. Shalev completed her emergency medicine residency at Drexel University College of Medicine in Philadelphia, PA. After that, she returned to Texas to serve in emergency medicine as an attending physician.