Beating The Holiday Binge
It's that time of the year where we are in
holiday mode and parties abound. Often we throw common sense out
the window and eat and drink more than we should.
Top Wellness Health
bands together some sensible tips to help you stay on course
this year and ring in the New Year unscathed.
It's the season to be jolly, goes the
standard cliché this time of the year. The kids are on their
long holiday break before the new school year begins, and so are
we, for long stretches of the time. Plus there's the New Year
celebrations and the general run up to it that all participate
in with gusto.
But this is also the
season where we seem to do everything in excess - especially
when it comes to eating. It's so much easier to succumb to the
temptation to cut loose and gobble and rely on the old standby,
the New Year Resolution, to lose the weight we will inevitably
But there's bad news.
Studies indicate that the weight we, gain during the holidays -
approximately a pound (though those that are already overweight
tend to gain more) - is typically not lost. So says the New
England Journal of Medicine. Since the average weight gain
during adulthood is about one to two pounds a year, this means
that much of the midlife weight we gain, can be attributed to
But it doesn't have to be that way. You can
literally have your cake and eat it too without having to suffer
the ignominy of buttons popping afterwards, if you care to
follow a few savvy guidelines:
trigger foods. These are foods that
have high abuse potential and can lead to overeating. Increase
your awareness of your personal trigger foods and give them a
environment. Weight Watchers'
research indicates we tend to overeat simply because the food is
Remove and Replace sources of temptation," they say. Mental
rehearsing helps. Imagine an upcoming event that you know will
be challenging and rehearse in your mind how you will approach
the food and fill your plate with 3/4 healthy choices and 1/4
indulgence items, these experts suggest.
exercising. The break from
routine during this period often makes it easy for us to put our
exercise routine on hold. That's a big no-no. Find time to fit
in a few push-ups or abdominal
exercises at the very least. Alternatively, play with the kids
or simply take a short stroll in the
garden or neighborhood
playground. Exercise helps digestion and
keeps those cravings at bay, so remember to keep moving.
Never abstain to
eat later. Don't under-eat the
whole day, just so you can overeat at a party. As my mother
says, we are not camels. Binge eating does a number on your
metabolism that is bad news for your body.
Watch your portions.
Dieticians will tell you, if you
can keep portion sizes under control, you can still enjoy a
feast over the holidays without encountering its first cousin,
the ugly bulge, post holidays.
Choosing a small plate to eat off is one good trick that
does wonders when it comes to portion control.
Become a holiday
diva. If you are a female
binger, change course completely. Indulge in luxurious body
pampering this season. Treat yourself to sumptuous bubble baths,
spa treatments, facials and pedicures and team it up with bold ,
high-gloss red lipstick. The logic goes that this will curtail
your tendency to binge since you are taking all that care (and
money) to look and feel good sans food.
Long before ancient Egyptians begin raising a
beer in honor of the god Osiris, we humans have thrashed around
in search of a hangover relief from having imbibed a tad too
much drink from our festive revelries.
Outer Mongolians reportedly have feasted on
pickled sheep eyeballs in tomato juice for comfort, whilst
cattle ropers in the Old West went one better and sipped brewed
tea from rabbit dung, so they say. Russians meanwhile, have been
known to drip vodka over fatty sausages into a tumbler and then
PREVENTION, NOT A CURE
The cures are many but their efficacy is
suspect and perhaps boils down to blind faith. As Dr Jason D.
Rosenberg at John Hopkins University in the USA avers, even
physicians cannot agree on what causes a hangover, let alone
cure it. But as he puts it, "There's the truth and there's the
larger truth. The truth is conventional remedies probably don't
work. The larger truth is that if you
think they do, it makes all the difference.
However, if we aim to avoid a hangover rather
than try and treat one, then we stand on far firmer ground.
There are some eminently sensible steps we can all take to
ensure we drink responsibly enough to enjoy the festivities and
still wake up on New Year's day minus the dreaded symptoms of a
For a start, never
drink on an empty stomach.
Before you head for a party consume a glass of milk or milk
thistle (a herbal product available at most pharmacies that
assists your liver to flush out toxins from the body). The
science behind it is simple. Anything that helps coat the
stomach, slows down the absorption of alcohol.
Though the amount of alcohol that can lead
to intoxication differs from person to person, bear in mind that
women and Asians in general should drink less because we have
lower levels of alcohol
dehydrogenase, the enzyme
responsible for breaking down alcohol.
Alternate your drinks
with water. That's what the French
do and that's why you rarely see them smashed despite their
penchant for drink. The rule of thumb is one glass of water per
drink. Water keeps you hydrated besides helping slow down the
Choose your drinks
wisely. It’s a good idea to keep
them light (by way of color). Congeners are chemicals formed in
the fermentation process.
The darker the drink, the more congeners it will have. Clear
drinks like gin and
vodka, have the least congeners
while darker ones like bourbon, scotch and whiskey have the
most. Also, try not to mix alcohols. As the rhyme goes, "Liquor
before beer, never fear. Beer before liquor, never sicker." Red
wine is another alcoholic brew that does not go down well when
consumed with other brews, while carbonated drinks like
champagne and rum coke have bubbles and carbon dioxide that are
absorbed into the bloodstream faster.