Why Do We Overeat During the Holiday Season?
As the holiday season approaches, it brings with it more opportunities and reasons to indulge in festive eating, which may lead to undesired weight gain or send our health into an unintentional downward spiral.
We look into some reasons why we tend to over-indulge during the holiday season and some practical tips we can have on hand to curb the binge and enjoy the holidays, sans the guilt.
Reason #1: Eating takes precedence as a social activity, over being a source of nourishment for our body.
Food is a universal language, it connects people and is a great way for bonding and interaction. In a festive occasion setting, it becomes an indispensable component.
We also tend to not eat as mindfully, as being in a social setting shifts our focus away from the original intent of food consumption as nourishment, to food consumption as a social activity or way to enjoy the occasion.
Reason #2: We tend to choose guilty pleasures which add to the festive element over the more (common) nutrient-dense options.
Carb- and sugar-laden food options like pizza and desserts, as well as fatty meats take the spotlight at festive gatherings, as compared to more nutrient-dense foods like fruits, vegetables and lean meat.
The festive occasion also subtly prepares us to “enjoy ourselves” which then translates into our food choices.
Reason #3: We let our eyes and mind decide how much to eat, rather than listening to our tummies.
Looking at food, smelling food, thinking about eating food creates an appetite and convinces us that we are hungry – this is a scientifically proven fact!
Ghrelin, also known as the “hunger hormone”, is released into our bloodstream when our stomachs are empty. However, studies have shown that sight of food also elevates ghrelin levels, causing a spike in our appetite.
In a social setting where we are surrounded by sumptuous foods, it is easy to be caught off-guard thinking we are satisfying our hunger, when it is actually ghrelin at work.
How then can we better prepare ourselves to avoid over-binging during the festivities?
Read more about how you can practise healthy eating here!
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