Why Overeating during the Holidays is actually Good for your Health

overeating during holidays

I once ate a pan of rice krispies all by myself.

And I hated myself for it. Before I studied health & nutrition, before I really cared about what went in my body, I was the queen of bingeing. 

Little did I know that the REASON why I found it so hard to practice portion control was BECAUSE I wasn’t eating enough food in the first place. More specifically, I wasn’t eating enough nutrient-dense food.

Once I embraced nutrient dense foods such as butter, whole milk, bacon, seasonal produce, properly prepared grains, whole eggs, whole meat & traditional fats (yes, even lard) I not only lost 35 lbs., but also found that I was fully satisfied and portion control was a thing of the past. 

The urge to binge was a thing of the past as well.

Let’s face it, you don’t need any more stress during the Holidays

The anxiety you feel before you travel to the Christmas Eve party, wondering if you’ll be able to contain yourself, the guilt you feel when you eat more ‘junk’ than you planned on, and the shame you feel after saying “Screw it!” and eating everything in sight during the holidays, all have negative effects on your health.

Guilt doesn’t make us feel very good emotionally, but did you know it can also be bad for your health? Feeling of guilt or shame can cause physical symptoms ranging from a simple knot in your stomach to fatigue and depression. It can also significantly stress your immune system.

A study published in 2004 by scientists from the American Psychosomatic Society showed that feelings of guilt and shame can have a negative impact on our immune system and produce various inflammatory responses in the body.

Salt, fat & carbs all are stress reducers. They help keep cortisol and adrenaline at bay, and help us feel relaxed. This is why they are called ‘comfort foods’.

Overeating during the holidays isn’t going to sabotage your normal diet.

Just like I mentioned above, once I started eating nutrient-dense foods, I felt nourished, and I no longer felt the need to binge. I trusted in my body, gave it whole food, and it thanked me back by finding my natural weight. 

Whatever you eat 80% of the time, whatever your ‘normal’ diet is, THAT is the one that impacts your health the most. If you can focus on eating satisfying, nutrient-dense foods, and avoiding processed garbage 80% of the time, you are doing stellar. By eating 80% nutrient dense & healthy foods, you are giving your body the nutrition it needs, and you shouldn’t feel the urge to binge or overeat often. 

20% of the time, you won’t be perfect. AND THAT’S OKAY. I’m not perfect, and I don’t have to be perfect to maintain my weight and health.  

The 80/20 RULE is the key to maintaining a healthy weight.

Why overeating during the holidays is actually good for your health

By giving yourself permission to eat “whatever the heck you want” during the holidays, you’ll find you’ll be much happier, you’ll feel less stressed, you’ll enjoy the Holidays more, and in the end you’ll probably find that you won’t overeat as much as you feared in the first place.

Maintaining a healthy weight isn’t about your calorie input and output, it’s about making sure your normal everyday diet is filled with primarily REAL FOOD. Once you do that, you’ll find you can eat whatever your little heart desires at whatever party you attend this holiday season and you won’t ruin your health.

So, give yourself a break. Don’t feel the need to be perfect. Eat that big piece of chocolate pie your Grandma makes every year. Enjoy it, and then go right back to eating your ‘normal’ diet. It’s time to stop stressing about food and just enjoy life!

Why overeating during the holidays is actually good for your health!

DaNelle is the creator of the blog Weed ‘em & Reap, and author of the book, Have Your Cake & Lose Weight Too. DaNelle, along with her husband and children, raise goats, sheep, and chickens on their urban farm. DaNelle writes about the reversal of disease, weight loss through real food, common food diet myths, and her funny farm experiences and gardening adventures.
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