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According to Affinity Health, a leading high-quality healthcare provider, we can still enjoy various festive foods and beverages over the holidays without going overboard.


The stress of preparing for Christmas, the abundance of delicious-looking festive foods in stores and restaurants, and the eating habits of those around us all combine to create a perfect recipe for overeating. 


“Many people arrive in January a few kilograms heavier, and that’s not a great way to start a new year,” says Murray Hewlett, CEO of Affinity Health.


“If you want to enjoy your food without going overboard, try some of the tips below.”

1. Purchase Fewer Items


It’s all too easy to fall for the numerous Christmas food specials and buy the same thing year after year. Every year, food marketers release new flavours of food and drink, and it can be difficult not to buy what’s on sale. This year, list the foods you intend to buy and the quantities – and stick to them as much as possible.

2. Eat What You Really Want And Skip The Rest


An excellent way to control your eating is to choose foods you really want to eat while avoiding others. 

3. Keep Unhealthy Treats Out Of Sight


Food that is within reach or sight is a significant trigger for overeating. Is it customary to have chocolates, cookies, nuts, or crisps on the coffee table or in the office during the holidays? Place the food somewhere else if possible, so you have to get it to eat, and don’t go back for seconds.


4. Develop Strategies And Plans


We are more likely to follow through when we plan to do something. Having clarity on approaching something can give you a better chance of success, so developing strategies and planning can be highly beneficial. If you want to feel more in control of your food and drink this holiday season, plan what and how much you will eat or drink ahead of time.

5. Don’t graze: Every Mouthful Counts


Some people graze because they skip meals, are bored, are influenced by external cues to eat (such as the sight or proximity of food), or are hungry while preparing the evening meal. Don’t fool yourself into thinking that putting food in your mouth is only a mouthful – mouthfuls add up! Remember what you’ve eaten – losing track of how much you consume over a day is easy if you snack regularly. Aim for more structured, satisfying eating, such as three meals and one or two daily snacks.

6. Have Some TV Eating Strategies


TV is integral to many people’s Christmas enjoyment, escapism, and relaxation. TV can be a significant trigger for mindless overeating at any time of the year. When we’re distracted by TV, it’s easy to lose track of how much we’re eating; alternatively, if the show you’re watching isn’t very stimulating, you might get the munchies. A good strategy is to put a portion of food from the kitchen into a bowl, take it with you to watch TV, and enjoy the amount without returning to the kitchen multiple times.

7. Don’t Use A Quick-Fix Diet Solution As An Excuse To Overeat 


Weight loss diets can feel like a saviour after Christmas, giving people an excuse to overindulge throughout December. Suppose a person believes a restrictive diet in January will ‘solve’ all of their holiday overeating and weight gain; this may encourage them to overindulge at Christmas because they know they’ll get back on track in the new year. However, gaining weight at the end of the holiday season doesn’t feel good, and it only reinforces people’s belief that they can’t control their eating unless they’re on a diet.

8. Eat Consciously


Mindful eating is about knowing what you eat and how and why you eat. It allows for balanced, flexible eating rather than ‘perfect, rule-based eating’. There is no such thing as ‘bad’ food; what matters is how much of it you eat and how frequently you eat it.

9. Leave Some Food On Your Plate


Are you the victim of the ‘clean plate‘ syndrome? Eating can become habitual and done without much thought. When there is food present, ask yourself questions such as, ‘Do I want to eat this?’, ‘Will this food taste as good as it looks?’, ‘Why am I eating this?’ and ‘Am I enjoying this?’ Consider whether you need to eat everything on your plate and leave some if you’ve had enough.


10. Get Adequate Sleep To Control Your Appetite


Listen to your body. Get an early night if you’re tired from all of the holiday festivities or staying up late to watch movies. Sleep deprivation alters appetite hormones, resulting in food cravings and a desire to eat more than usual the next day. The occasional late night is fine, but being encouraged to stay up late by others can lead to too many late nights, which can cause lethargy, have a negative effect on mood, cause carbohydrate cravings, and make balanced, healthy eating difficult.

About Affinity Health

Affinity Health is South Africa’s leading provider of health insurance, offering you a range of options at affordable rates including access to the widest national provider network. We understand the importance of having medical insurance that meets your needs, your budget, and your lifestyle. Our range of healthcare products are designed to protect you and your family when it matters the most. We strive to give our clients peace of mind and the highest standard of service at all times. For more information, follow us on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

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