Holiday Survive + Thrive: Don’t Skip Meals

DontSkipMeals

The holiday season is upon us, and I want you to feel emotionally and physically well. Hectic schedules and travel are enough to send stress levels to the moon. Throw in pumpkin pie, cookies, and mashed potatoes, and now we’re off to Pluto!

Here’s a secret to help you remain sane this holiday: don’t skip meals. Before you start calculating calories or carbs, consider these reasons.

Skipping meals promotes bingeing

Although it may seem productive to skip breakfast to “allow” for more food consumption later, research has long been suggesting just the opposite.

Every binge starts with not eating enough earlier in the day. Skipping a meal amounts to “prolonged food deprivation”, in which the human brain fixates on food. This makes the celebratory meal even more enticing, and will make it tough to stop eating at a comfortable fullness and satiety level.

If you follow a typical day’s intake of 3 meals and a couple of snacks on the day of the holiday meal, you can then just experience the holiday meal as a normal meal, instead of a binge.

Skipping meals promotes irritability

From the Oxford Dictionary:

han·gry [ˈhaNGɡrē]

ADJECTIVE

bad-tempered or irritable as a result of hunger: “I get very hangry if I miss a meal”

Have you been hangry? Have you seen the Snickers Candy Bar commercials, where the tag line is: “You’re not YOU when you’re hungry”? Can you relate?

We know that going too long without eating lowers blood sugar. And often, a sign of low blood sugar is irritability. I’ve heard from many people that holiday family time can be trying enough on its own; you definitely don’t want to add your own irritability on top of it!

To keep the peace, at least within yourself, keep to regular meal and snack times.

Allow the focus of the holidays to remain on what’s important

We give food too much power.

Turkey, stuffing, cookies, cakes and other holiday delights taste great and are fun. Avoiding one or more meals to feel justified to eat that one special meal only backfires. Instead of giving permission, it promotes bingeing and moodiness. Even more, meal-skipping keeps our minds focused on eating instead of the reason for the season. Food ends up being a distraction instead of the great connector to holiday traditions, culture, family, and friends.