In the News: Eat in Moderation, Even during Holidays


By: , SparkPeople Blogger

What excuse do you make to overeat during the holidays?

"Just one bite."
"It's only one day."
"I'll work it off tomorrow."

Whatever our reasoning, overeating during the holidays has just as much of an effect on our health and our waistlines as it does any other time of year. I recently read that if we overindulge only on weekends, we'll gain nine pounds a year!

Holiday gluttony has a higher toll that we might have imagined, I recently read.

In addition to gas, indigestion and tight pants, overeating can have more severe health side effects.

According to an NYT blog: "Food fatigue, along with holiday alcohol consumption, the monotony of driving and a natural circadian dip late in the day all make for a lethal combination behind the wheel."

Overeating can even cause one's heart attack risk to surge.

Wow-za! Those are some pretty detrimental effects. While I can't say that I won't indulge in an extra cookie or a second helping of mashed potatoes on Christmas, this news is an extra incentive not to eat until stuffed to the gills!

Do you routinely overeat during special occasions like Christmas? Will you this year?

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  • 69
    I came back from Holiday 4lb lighter, I had a great time and even ate out a couple of times, did do an awful lot of walking though so that probably helped, I have never been able to do this before so Sparks is working for me. - 5/31/2010   2:31:35 PM
  • 68
    My birthday was my real free day. Christmas and Thanksgiving I really kept things tight. - 5/20/2009   7:57:29 PM
    9lbs a year, thats alot... - 1/11/2009   8:32:04 PM
  • 66
    I allowed myself a "free" day on Christmas. I wasn't planning on overeating, just allowing myself to eat foods like gravy and candy that I do not normally eat. I thought I had taken reasonable portions at dinner, and was proud that I didn't inhale the candy like I would have in years past. About a half hour after dinner I started feeling so sick, I had to go to bed.

    I'm not sure if my reaction was due to the fat-filled food, or if my portions were too large for me now that I have reduced my calorie intake. Whatever it was, I felt horrible afterwards. I'll think twice about chosing these foods again. Soooo not worth it! - 12/30/2008   7:28:21 AM
    I did overeat during the holidays. I started my exercise program again this morning. I was going to wait until the new year but decided to stop doing damage to myself starting today. Waiting a week would only make it worse. - 12/29/2008   10:58:29 AM
  • 64
    Someone once told me that "The word 'diet' is a four-letter word and should not be in our vocabulary. Why should having a daily food plan, eating sensibly, and feeling better be something horrible?" (Of course, I pointed out that both 'food' and 'plan' were four-letter words also, to which he replied, "In the US, they put words together therefore, 'foodplan' is an eight-letter word"!) ;-D Oh well, whatever works! But I agree with the sentiment.

    I am on a gluten-free "food plan", so at this time of year if I am tempted by cakes, cookies, candy, and (my favourite -- my mother's turkey stuffing), I just have to remind myself of what happens if I have "just one little bite". I did over-indulge in a loaf of (gluten-free) bread that I made with my brand new breadmaker, but that does not happen every day! :-D - 12/28/2008   9:51:49 PM
  • 63
    several years ago after eating "just a bit" of everything I decided i was over stuffed and uncomfortable, so I have been cutting way back at family and other gatherings. It amazes me how much food we serve during special occasions as opposed to usual meals. I am lucky that I don't like mashed potatoes and I never have been a gravy fan. I like the sweet potatoes, turkey and salad more. I did really well this year, used a smaller plate and only ate the good stuff. I do have a love of chocolate so I did indulge in a bit, along with some wine. I did manage to stay within my food ranges and am proud of myslef for learning to eat healthy. - 12/28/2008   5:05:49 PM
    Mine wasn't so much the food. I was pretty stressed out about hosting this year with a few unexpected guests and had a few too many glasses of wine. Empty calories....I'll have to watch that. Time to get back on track!!!! - 12/28/2008   2:27:24 PM
  • 61
    I've been training myself to only eat if its really good. So if the only thing that is really good is olives, cranberries and green beans that will be what I will mostly eat. I have stuffed myself with too dry turkey, bland mashed potatos and tasteless gravy in the past, and made it a goal for this holiday season not to do it again this year! I had a very small servings of all of these, (just to see if by some miracle they werent what they were last year!) with everyone else at the table, no one noticed that I had hardly eaten a thing, and I had a nice piece of salmon when I got home :) - 12/28/2008   12:16:34 PM
  • 60
    My hubby is on a no salt diet and so all the savoury foods I normally bake over Christmas have been left "un-baked" this year. In fact I've baked a whole lot less this year, really MOMMABEAR is right - it's not about the food but about the birth of a Saviour. - 12/28/2008   11:05:44 AM
  • 59
    I did pretty well with my holiday meals. I fill half my plate with vegies and small portions of meat and starches, I don't eat everything on the table but choose what I like best. For desert I had half a slice of pie. As a result I lost a pound over Christmas. It's not all about the food, there are other ways to celebrate. - 12/28/2008   8:41:28 AM
  • KAREN214
    This Christmas I have done the best of all. I had a party on Christmas Eve and was to busy intertaining to eat a lot. I limited my self to items I don't have all year long and ate slow. I have cleared my house already of items that are temping to me. I have continued to exercise not as much as before the holiday but I am still keeping it in my schedule. I am hoping for increased results for the New Year. Each year I learn more and contiue to achieve. - 12/28/2008   7:45:40 AM
  • 57
    I did very well - no dessert other than a sugar-free ice cream bar. The only thing I have to remember to watch better is my salt intake - ham for dinner, bean and ham soup the next day.
    I have been using the small plates for a while now, so its second nature to just grab one. It works! - 12/27/2008   9:17:57 AM
    I made it thru Thanksgiving. I was very proud of how well I did with portion control despite all the wonderful food. But I haven't done so good in the past week. I've caught myself making the usual excuses - "I will walk it off", "It is just for this day", etc. What I have found, is when I blow everything out for one meal, it is hard to watch what I eat for the next several meals - until I kick myself in the head. I am trying right now to get refocused.

    However, despite all this, this is the first Holiday Season, that I haven't gained weight, instead I have lost. I haven't lost much, but I HAVE LOST!

    Can't wait for the new year! I am going into it with a plan. - 12/27/2008   9:09:52 AM
  • 55
    I watched my calories BEFORE the big day so that I could have a nice meal. I probably over did it a bit BUT I passed on desert and didn't go back for seconds. I didn't deprive myself thought, I had everything I wanted. We just have to deligent in restarting your spark after these occassions. - 12/27/2008   5:50:58 AM
  • 54
    I find that the times I overeat most is when I am cooking. This year I discovered that if I cut up a fruit that I like and/or veggies, I can eat those instead and drink two to three cups of water (via bottled water) to hold me over. I also stay constantly moving by getting my own things I need or taking a couple of trips up and down the stairs while cooking! It's still hard not to taste test but I make it work! - 12/27/2008   12:31:54 AM
  • 53
    I do not overeat during the holidays I try my best to eat in moderations every day. If I do overeat its mostly on veggetables. - 12/26/2008   4:22:22 PM
  • 52
    I overindulged yesterday - my BIL's guacamole is a work of art and then there were the cannolis his wife made and some wonderful fudge and on and on and on. Today's a good day to get back on track. - 12/26/2008   1:23:27 PM
  • 51
    I ate too much on Xmas Eve and woke up with a bad, cranky food hangover. Rode my bike for 2 hours Xmas Day and did pretty well until it came to dessert after dinner; then I ate way too many Xmas cookies. I had been able to resist all the fatty foods up to that point, so I guess it shows what my priorities are (i.e., I'd rather have cookies than brie).

    Today I woke up feeling puffy, but I am not going to castigate myself for the last two days because they are behind me. I am focusing on looking forward, not back, and I am confident that returning to my normal habits will bring the swelling down without too much suffering on my part! In the meantime, I baked "Low Fat Carrot Cake Muffins (That Don't Taste Low-Fat!)" from, so I don't feel like I am being deprived. - 12/26/2008   1:11:08 PM
  • 50
    Oh my didn't do so good this Christmas Eve, goodies, cookies, Angelo's pizza was hard to resist. Don't have it often, but limited myself to 1 1/2 piece. For Christmas day cooked cornish hens with brown rice, green beans and stuffing. I served myself a little of each and mostly feasted on the cornish hen. My first time making this. Next time I will do a practice run before springing a new recipe or dish on Christmas.
    Hope you all enjoyed your Christmas day. - 12/26/2008   12:17:58 PM
  • 49
    I confess, I splurged yesterday, Christmas Day. But what I noticed was that I did not do as bad as in previous years. In fact, I took breaks from eating and did NOT go back for seconds. I was full enough and never had any pie.Today I immediately started tracking my food intake and did an hour of Wii fit, including a 20 minute jog. I want to enjoy a slice of pumpkin pie later today, so I will work it into my nutritional plan today, cutting back on starches and fat elsewhere. - 12/26/2008   11:38:13 AM
  • 48
    I have been devoted to my diet sense Oct first. I have only cheated once and it ruined my whole day. I have made it though Halloween candy, Thanksgiving pies, and Christmas Cookies and dinner. The new year will be here soon and I will be happy for I have gotten through the worst of the seasons and have lost 35 pounds through that time. It is such a great feeling to know I do have will power and the rewards are sooooo great.
    I am looking forward to loosing 40-45 pounds in the new year. Right now I need to get away from this icy and snow and get back exercising.
    Wish me luck! I AM ON A MISSION AND I WILL DO THIS~~~~
    All together I have lost 63 3/4 pounds. I used to roll out of bed. Now I just pop out and I feel great. Now tell me that isn't worth it......... - 12/26/2008   10:45:17 AM
  • 47
    Thanksgiving is my overeating holiday. It's not overeating at one meal its just eating for 3 days straight. Christmas is just a nice dinner and I usually can control myself there. - 12/26/2008   10:39:29 AM
  • 46
    thank good i had some self control for the holidays, i did not over eat yeah - 12/26/2008   9:43:25 AM
  • 45
    Nope, didn't overeat on Thanksgiving OR at the Christmas dinner I cooked yesterday (Thanksgiving was easy, I didn't cook and we didn't bring anything home). Our meal time was "off" in that we ate our big meal in the mid afternoon and I tracked that.....I didn't track my evening meal til this morning though and expected my numbers to be way off but surprisingly, they weren't even if I did indulge in a small piece of my homemade sweet potato pie my son asks for every year. I'm not going to sweat a once or twice a year indulgence no matter what that or any other article says. - 12/26/2008   9:07:47 AM
  • HWWME09
    Proud to say I did not overeat this year. I did enjoy our favorite holiday foods, but controlled the portion sizes and have had very few sweets. This has always been my biggest problem, but they just don't taste as good to me as my health does now! Thank you, sparkpeople. I couldn't have done it without you :) - 12/26/2008   5:31:32 AM
  • 43
    I have eaten more sweets than I would normally, so I am not to happy about that. - 12/26/2008   4:37:45 AM
    This year I have overeatten to the extent that I felt physically sick the other night.
    I think it will take me the rest of the year to work the effects off. - 12/26/2008   3:57:53 AM
  • 41
    Didn't overeat this Christmas or last year, since I was a SPARKER. Makes me happy. - 12/26/2008   2:02:57 AM
    I have a few favorites like pumpkin Roll that i make and only made one this year for me because I over eat on it.
    BJ - 12/25/2008   11:26:29 PM
  • 39
    I eat more unhealthy foods during the holidays, but try to keep it to small amounts. - 12/25/2008   11:13:12 PM
  • 38
    I ate more than normal, but I know I'm better this Christmas than I was last year and each day I expect to do even Better from here on out. - 12/25/2008   11:06:03 PM
  • 37
    I'll admit I overate, but then I overate veggies, not desserts or other high calorie items. - 12/25/2008   10:53:23 PM
  • 36
    This year a really blew it. In the past, I've been able to control myself during the holidays, I'm not sure what happened this year. - 12/25/2008   10:29:38 PM
    Surprisingly enough, I didn't eat much today. Just wasn't very hungry for some reason. - 12/25/2008   9:15:32 PM
  • 34
    I did really well on Thanksgiving. I know I went over my calories, but I used portion control and felt I still enjoyed the day. Today I know I overdid it, but I have been so good since I started I felt I deserved it. I also know tomorrow I'll be right back to staying within my calories. - 12/25/2008   8:37:44 PM
  • 33
    I tend to eat more "luxury" food like candy and stuffing/dressing. But this year I've held my weight pretty much by sticking within my calorie allowance. I fear it was at the price of not eating enough protein, fruits and veggies though :(
    - 12/25/2008   7:29:13 PM
  • 32
    I try to use a smaller plate and take a little bit of the things I like. - 12/25/2008   7:11:09 PM
    No I don't overeat, but I do enjoy a bit of dessert which I don't usually have. - 12/25/2008   3:47:44 PM
    I recently went to the company party, ate too much and got a massive sugar headache. I think I'll be more moderate today. - 12/25/2008   1:15:04 PM
  • 29
    Eating slower, chewing each mouthful thoroughly and enjoying what I eat has all given me the ability to fill up faster. No more "wolfing" the food down and thus I have less chance of over-stuffing myself.

    When at a restaurant, I can determine what I will be able to eat & what will be taken home for later. We should not feel guilt ridden when leaving food on our plate. After all my "clean plate club card" has been revoked! - 12/25/2008   12:01:48 PM
  • 28
    Oh, yeah, I'll eat too much today. But I've been planning for it. Extra exercise, and I can't remember the last time I had a french fry.

    How often do I get real homemade pie? - 12/25/2008   11:59:16 AM
  • 27
    I don't overeat like I used to as the reward is not feeling miserable. It's not that I don't want to, I guess I am learning more, but it is not easier. Food is always there and has been my "drug of choice" all my life, so I have to remind myself how little I miss the 60 extra pounds. Today is Prime Rib day for us, and the pumpkin pie I made, I made with splenda again. I will replace my white potatoe with a sweet one and have a healthy salad too. - 12/25/2008   9:58:58 AM
  • 26
    Well last night was Christmas Eve and I made sure that I moderated food during the day and then I didn't overindulge for our Christmas Eve meal. I also made sure that I exercised yesterday also. It's still been a big challenge for me this holiday season. - 12/25/2008   9:41:26 AM
  • 25
    Since eating less my stomach has shrunk, I guess. All I k now is that if I over eat I feel absolutely horrible, so I just don't do it anymore. - 12/25/2008   8:55:55 AM
  • 24
    I will try to be good ; - ), my family keeps reminding me, "we are not on a diet" some of the reminder's should be dieting themselves but any way. I have done way better than last Christmas season and haven't eaten nearly as much and I like seeing the numbers on the scale declining so I will keep that in mind and limit myself and drink at least 9 cups of water today, that really helps ya keep from over doing, you feel too full to.
    - 12/25/2008   8:26:08 AM
  • 23
    NOT this year. I actually did wonderful at the Thanksgiving table(better than some "regular" days) and I plan on doing well now as well!
    It's actually more of an issue for me BEFORE the holiday, when my work hours are LONG (12+ hours a day) and there are no breaks for sitting down to a meal of any kind.
    - 12/25/2008   8:00:54 AM
  • 22
    I eat a little more than usual at holiday meals because I try a spoonful of every dish. However, unlike years gone by, they are small spoon fulls and I don't go back for seconds. I really dislike feeling stuffed now that my body has learned where it's comfortably full level is. Another reason is sodium - the other cooks at our holiday get-togethers use it excessively and we know how bad it makes us feel, so we stick to small portions to minimize the salt. - 12/25/2008   7:57:29 AM
  • 21
    Calories will be a little high, just because we generally don't have bacon but it is a traditon to have a big breakfast on Christmas morn---my dh loves to cook bacon on the griddle---and I will have a few of my cookies---but hope to get out and walk some as we have warm weather and sunshine here today. Merry Christmas. - 12/25/2008   7:49:41 AM
  • 20
    I used to overeat A LOT during the holidays - - even made up a few of my own just to have an excuse to overeat. :)
    Nope - not gonna overeat for this one.
    I just keep reminding myself that no matter how yummy the food is . . . it's not gonna leave the planet !! and I can have a little more tomorrow if I want.
    I don't need to inhale all of it today.

    - 12/25/2008   5:11:30 AM

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