Are your holidays sometimes too jolly and you end up feeling like the big guy in the red suit? No one is perfect and sometimes it’s easy to fall into unhealthy habits when we don’t have a game plan to stay on track.
If you find yourself bloated around this time of year, read on to learn some ways you can take control of your health. Feeling and looking your best year-round is possible with some planning and discipline. That said, here are some ways to beat seasonal bloat:
1. Recognize your triggers
As a guest, you might feel like it’s rude to ask about the menu but going into a situation blind can be a recipe for disaster. If you find yourself feeling less than great after eating dairy, gluten or another trigger, you might want to come up with a game plan to avoid having to feel “off.” For instance, you might offer to bring a dish so you know you have something you can eat if all else fails. Realize that an invitation doesn’t have to mean eating. After all, being present is the best gift you can give your friends and family.
2. Don’t save calories for the party
Eating consistently during the day can help keep you from over-eating at the party. Waiting too long between meals can cause you to binge and eating too fast can induce bloating. Instead of stockpiling all your calories for a big meal, it’s best to not skip meals. Hydration is important too, especially if you plan to consume alcohol at any point.
3. Make food swaps
The holidays don’t have to be associated with over-indulging. You can have your cake and eat it, too, so long as you’re intentional. For instance, instead of a cheese ball and crackers, you might prepare a platter with hummus and fresh veggies. Instead of loading up on starches like yeast rolls, you might enjoy whole-grain rice or quinoa. Instead of a large piece of pie, you might consider having a piece of fruit.
If it’s too much time and effort to make these switches, you might do better with sticking to basic nutrition guidelines. Build a balanced plate filling 1/3 with produce, 1/3 with lean protein, and the remaining 1/3 with any favorite side dishes. This allows you to not feel deprived without having to worry about feeling heavy and uncomfortable after. Win-win!
4. Add leafy greens to your plate
Veggies are true wonders in that they tend to be high-water content and are also low in calories and packed with vitamins, minerals and fiber. Think spinach, kale, asparagus and the like. Fiber is a friend to anyone because it keeps things moving along in your digestive tract, a great way to maintain weight. However, if you’re trying to increase your veggie intake, it’s best to do so gradually. That’s because adding too much in too fast can be a shock to your system and result in more bloat. Also, be sure that you’re upping water intake as well when you make this change, as your body needs more hydration to break down the food.
5. Limit alcoholic drinks
While booze is a common addition to a holiday spread, drinking alcohol after eating a lot of calories can exacerbate bloating. That’s because alcohol drives inflammation in the body, stymying digestion and making you retain water. It can also lead to swelling in the body, which can result in gas, discomfort and bloating. That’s why people who are trying to lose weight often cut out alcohol.
To prevent dehydration and up your water intake, you might consider investing in a large water bottle with lines that mark your intake. You can also download apps to remind you to drink water or set a reminder on your phone. Either way, water intake is a way to stave off dehydration and related bloat. You might try adding a lemon or a sugar-free flavoring to keep things interesting.
You might be able to avoid the temptation altogether by making a mocktail. There are many fun recipes that pack a mean punch of flavor without the booze. You might even find some low-sugar ones. You can look to sites like Pinterest for inspiration. The sober community is growing so you’re in good company if you don’t imbibe this holiday season or at any social engagement.
Holidays or not, we believe that achieving health and wellness is accessible to the everyday person. That means looking at lifestyle, nutrition, addressing physical activity levels and sleep quality and looking for any allergies or intolerances. If you’re fed up with traditional medicine and want answers (maybe not found online), that’s exactly what we offer. Give us a call at (703) 822-5003to make an appointment. And happy holidays from all of us at Proactive Wellness Centers! We wish you a happy and healthy new year ahead.