Over the celebratory months it is easy to get carried away with indulgent food available around every corner. Many people fall into the mindset that December is about eating whatever you like in unlimited amounts and January is where the diet starts. Our Naturopathic Nutritionist Sasha Paul has written a few words of wisdom to remind us its ok to indulge, its all about balance.
Here are some of the most likely outcomes linked to this mentality:
1. Knowing that you are approaching a diet can cause impulsive overeating throughout December, simply because you know you are about to enter a period of complete avoidance and restrictive eating.
2. By telling yourself that certain foods are off limits because they are unhealthy or ‘bad’, these foods become associated with a significant degree of guilt. This takes away the enjoyment or pleasure you initially associated with that food. In addition to this, many people experience increased food cravings for these ‘off limits’ foods throughout their diet and end up bingeing on these very foods.
3. Many people think that they can compensate for overeating through a crash diet, however studies suggest that those who yo-yo diet in this way actually gain more weight in the long term. A large study of 10,428 middle aged women found that both overweight and normal weight women who weight cycled (yo-yo dieted) gained more weight and were at more risk of depressive symptoms than those who did not weight cycle.
The bottom line is that the going all out in December followed by the crash diet in January is a dangerous mentality that can lead to a future of yo-yo dieting, weight gain, deprivation of your favourite foods, guilt and most importantly an unhealthy relationship with food.
What to do instead:
1) Ditch the diet. Starting the year with a healthy mindset is great but that doesn’t have to mean restrictive, in fact being able to eat indulgent foods should be part of your normal diet. The 80/20 mindset where you eat a healthy balanced diet 80% of the time and less nourishing foods 20% of the time is much healthier than the ‘all or nothing’ approach.
2) Balance. With temptation around every corner you can enjoy yourself without piling on the pounds, just keep it in moderation. That simply means enjoy your mince pie, just keep it to the one and then eat normally.
3) Avoid skipping meals. Skipping meals can contribute to food cravings and increase the risk of overeating. A study showed that eating one large meal per day increased blood sugar levels and the hunger-stimulating hormone ghrelin to a greater extent than those who ate three meals per day.
4) Don’t forget the protein. Proteins (and fats) help to keep us feeling full, so basing meals and snacks around protein-rich foods can help to reduce the likelihood of overindulging. Good sources of protein include tofu, tempeh, nuts, seeds, beans, pulses and Supernova Protein.
5) Support stress. For many people the festive period can bring extra pressures, whether it is financially or emotionally. Using daily relaxation, meditation and adaptogens such as ashwagandha are brilliant ways of supporting the body’s natural response to stress, helping you to cope with all forms of stress more easily.
Incorporating Supernova Living into your daily routine may be particularly helpful during the festive period as it contains high quality plant protein and fibre to help keep you full and keep food cravings at bay plus added adaptogens to support stress.
Is weight cycling associated with adverse health outcomes?
The effect of deprivation on food cravings and eating behaviour in restrained and unrestrained eaters.
Impact of reduced meal frequency without caloric restriction on glucose regulation in healthy, normal weight middle-aged men and women