3 Tips to Cut Back on the Sugar this Holiday Season

It’s that time of year again. ‘Tis the season to be merry & jolly. 🎄☃️🎅🏽🍷🍰🍾

Maybe not as merry this year as we usually get to be but I’m sure we’ll all make the most of it wherever we are.

Merry & Jolly normally = overindulgence.

Are you planning on a little overindulgence this Holiday Season or are you trying to cut back?         

Maybe we all need to after this unbelievable crazy & crap year. 😷

Instead of drinking 1-2 days a week, normally it’s Xmas party after Xmas party.  Maybe this year for those that are even lucky enough to be able to have them, I’m guessing it’s more Xmas gathering after Xmas gathering.

Then there’s those lunches and dinners and family get-togethers which generally involve a lot of desserts, pies, chocolates, puddings and Holiday sugar faves.  I remember my house growing up at Xmas had chocolate bowls, nuts and sweet bowls everywhere as well as the plates of desserts my mum spent weeks making would come out after dinner for weeks!

It’s hard to avoid it.  Everywhere you go, it seems everyone is trying to offer you drinks & sugary treats in the lead up to Xmas.  It’s a time for celebration after-all and unfortunately most celebrations involve sugar.

Believe me, I know – it gets hard to say no!  And with all the ‘Festive Vibes’ you often feel like leaving all the rules at the door to worry about making up for in the New Year.

Why do we go through the same old story every. single. year.?

Why do we allow ourselves to go completely crazy over stuffing our faces, drinking glass after glass, day after day, and loading up on sugar, just because it’s the Holidays?

It’s like we never get to eat these things or drink wine the rest of the year. And we feel because we behaved pretty good most of the year, we deserve Santa’s treats in excess. 🎅🏽 🍷🍪

Why does everything change just because we have this idea that we can make up for it a few weeks later in the New Year?  Or is just because it’s tradition and we don’t know how to do any different?  Curious creature we are!

Does your body like it when you go completely crazy for a couple of weeks then do a total 180 and deny it everything plus more than it was inhaling a couple of weeks before?

Does it like going through this yo-yo circus every year?

Nope – it doesn’t!

Your body likes balance and moderation 😉

3 Tips to Keep More Balance and Cut Back on the Sweet Treats this Festive Season:

1)  NOURISH YOUR BODY FIRST.

Your body craves sugar and other unhealthy foods when it’s hungry.  So don’t let it be hungry when you know you’ll be somewhere full of sugary treats and processed foods.  Eat 2-3 big meals full of nourishing wholefoods, and a variety of vegetables everyday and before you go to a Xmas shindig.

Make sure your body is nourished before you start OD-ing on chocolates.  If you eat proper meals, then you’re less likely to indulge as much as you’ll feel fuller and more satisfied.  You may just not want that dessert after dinner once you’ve filled up on the good stuff.   Or maybe only 1 small piece instead of seconds. 😉

If you have a proper meal before you go out to any Holiday parties or gatherings, you’ll be less tempted to eat the snacks and sweet stuff on offer. Or maybe just a little nibble will be enough.

 

2)  SLEEP

Lack of sleep and fatigue is one of the biggest reasons we crave sugar and give in to those cravings.  We just want some energy!

Along with those festive gatherings, it often means staying out later than normal, especially on ‘school nights’. (That’s if you don’t have a curfew like some countries!)

When you’re feeling tired, you need energy which makes the body crave carbohydrates.  Often this comes in the form of simple sugars as it goes into the blood the fastest and it’s the quickest, easiest way to get sugar into the body.  These are patterns that we’ve built up and default to.

Research has shown that even one night of poor sleep can decrease the upper brain function of the cerebrum – the part of the brain responsible for complex judgments and decisions.  This often results in next-day junk food cravings (and binges).

 

 

When you’re not getting enough sleep, the hormone ghrelin – which stimulates appetite increases and leptin – the appetite suppressing hormone decreases.  You do the math. 😬

Also when you’re not getting 7-8 hours of quality sleep per night, your body is also stressed and cortisol levels increase.  This then keeps your glucose and insulin levels high.

This is the time of year many of us get a few days off to relax. Make the most of those days without work and catch up on some well-deserved zzz’s.

 

3)  MAKE or CHOOSE HEALTHIER ALTERNATIVES

Just because it’s Xmas, it doesn’t mean we have to eat the same sugar-laden desserts and xmas goodies year after year. I’m not saying to completely go without either – that wouldn’t be any fun!  Although, this Holiday Season, I will be tee-total, gluten-free, sugar-free, yeast-free until end January. Wish me luck!

Traditions are meant to be broken. Why not create new healthier traditions?

There’s plenty of delicious healthy dessert alternatives out there that don’t use refined sugars or white flour.  For most desserts, Google offers you a healthy alternative.  Keep in mind, if it says ‘Vegan’ dessert – it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s healthy.  Vegans can eat white flour and refined sugar.  Check the ingredients and make sure they have natural sugars at least (which are still sugar but with nutrients) such as raw or local honey, pure maple syrup, dates, coconut sugar, stevia, monk fruit sweetener.

You can also reduce the amount of sugar/ sweetener the recipes ask for if you don’t need it to feel like your teeth will fall out once you’ve taken a bite.

I find spices like cardamom and cinnamon help to make it taste sweeter.

Then you have them on hand when you do get a craving and to take over to family and friends to celebrate.

The more sugar we eat, the more we want and need.

It’s a drug and incredibly addictive.

It satisfies our emotional needs, our energy pick-me ups and it’s who we turn to in times of stress, anger, sadness or joy.  That satisfaction usually lasts less time than a Tik-Tok video though.

There’s so many foods, snacks, desserts and meals out there that aren’t full of refined sugar and white flour.  Why don’t we make those the new tradition and spread the love by sharing them?!

 

Wouldn’t it be nice for once to start the New Year already with balance, feeling energised, and having a kick-ass healthy routine around nutritious food and exercise?

Then we wouldn’t have to waste our resolutions on the same old things like losing weight, getting fit and eating healthier, but instead on something more exciting that could bring us closer to our big dreams and goals. Yay!

What are your big desires, dreams and goals for 2021?

One thing I know… it’s gotta be better than 2020!

 

 

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