How to Avoid Overeating Pain During the Holidays

Does overeating pain spoil your holiday fun? Try this trick to help your body function better and increase enjoyment during the season of special meals.

Overeating pain …we’ve all been there. It starts at Thanksgiving (maybe even Halloween) and it goes on at least until New Year’s Eve, (maybe further if you also celebrate Chinese New Year).

At first, you feel good because you’re having a good time with people you love and you get to sample all your favorite or memory-inducing foods.

But there’s always a moment during the specific celebration day when you begin to feel uncomfortable. You might have to open up your pants’ top button. You might have some herbal tea or a digestive drink. And after a few of these days lined up in the space of eight weeks, the discomfort of overeating catches up with you sooner in the meal and lasts for several days after.

By the time January comes, you’ve put back on the pounds you’d worked so hard to lose, and you can’t help but think back to that festive meal with a mix of joy, regret, and exasperation.

Irresistible, abundant food

I love, love, love food. Especially celebration food. If your family is like mine, this is the time for all the specials. All the dishes that takes too long to make or cost too much to bother the rest of the year. Add to it the subconscious belief that an abundant table means abundance of love, and then you get a sense of how much food we are talking about.

Another thing that’s special about holiday food: It doesn’t follow the general rules of meals—namely that they are three DISTINCT meals every day. During the family reunions there seems to be an everlasting meal, usually starting around brunch and ending late in the evening, making it impossible to not overeat.

Do you eat till it hurts during holiday celebrations? Here's a great way to approach eating at your next party to feel good and enjoy your favorites.

A solution to overeating pain: The 80-20 rule

I learned about this many years ago in a book called Body Ecology Diet by Donna Gates, who has an anti-overeating rule as part of her general diet plan.

She advises to eat until you are about 80% full, then stop to allow the digestive juices to perform their tasks. When you eat until you overeat, you are 100% or more full. You literally make it harder for your body to digest the food, which is why you feel sick afterward.

By using the 80/20 rule, you not only allow your body to function better, but you increase the actual pleasure of eating and celebrating. You can keep celebrating for days without feeling bloated and nauseous.

I do this and allow myself to sample everything and maybe on one of the days go a little overboard (but never to the point of feeling sick).

My husband, on the other hand, uses the “see and eat” method (see the food and eat it no matter how much there is). He always ends sleeping badly and feeling poorly in the days after.

The bonus of this method is that you actually get to eat anything you want but will never have to worry about putting on extra weight during the holidays again. Cheers to that!

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