Holiday Overeating Solved: Eat to Your Heart’s Content

Svetlana Kogan, M.D.

Yes, it is that time of the year –Thanksgiving is right around the corner. And every time the holidays come  around, most people who are not happy with their weight start counting calories, restricting certain food groups, fasting, or what’s even worse, avoiding the holiday parties altogether.

To avoid these extreme approaches, consider an eating paradigm shift: What if you abandoned the holiday food vigilance? In other words, what if you focused on your living before and after the holidays? Looking into the evolutionary purpose of eating is a good place to start understanding the purpose of ingesting food. We are made up of over 75 trillion cells.

We depend on them for everything, but they also depend on us for feeding them properly. You see, cells don’t require very much food, but they need the best quality of nourishment on a regular basis, to make energy and keep our metabolic machine working properly.

This complicated journey, which your meal makes on its way to the cells, is in and of itself a miracle. Remember all the belching or bloating you had last week after eating food X? Whatever the cause, every unpleasant sensation was actually a lifeboat sent to you by your cells, who were screaming, “Hey! Pay attention! I don’t like the stuff you fed me! It’s breaking me and you down.”

Your cells are infinitely smarter than all the scientists of the world. They have inborn self-preservation mechanisms built into them, which won’t let you hurt them for too long. Moreover, it is precisely why eating wrong things will make you belch, pass gas, develop rashes/itching, heartburn or bloating. It’s no wonder diets eventually fail, being based on restrictions and someone else’s idea of what is good for your body.

At the end of the day, the truth is that when you simply treat your cells with love and care, you will create  a much needed homeostasis and feel great along the way. In my book “Diet Slave No More!” I recommend switching to smaller, more physiologic portions of quality foods, when trying to avoid overstretching  your stomach.

In order to rewire your body’s neural networks responsible for automatic eating habits, you can harness
the most benefit by committing to at least 40 days of healthy nutritious eating patterns. Over the course of this time period, you will develop a comfortable routine which becomes your everyday lifestyle.

Now, back to the daunting holidays: Thanksgiving or Christmas, for example. Holidays are a time to rejoice and celebrate with friends and family. Granted, the holiday feasts are typically not what you are used to in your healthy daily routine, but that’s OK! Your body, in its infinite wisdom, knows that you are on a holiday regime today or even for a few days in a row. And it’s fine with that, as long as you are happy and your mind and body are balanced and in agreement.

The cells will bounce back to their routine as soon as the holiday is over, effortlessly and automatically.
Holiday eating is like a pair of very expensive stilettos: you wear them on special occasions, but the toes recognize and welcome comfortable shoes the day after. So, just be mindful of your healthy eating on a daily basis, and stop worrying about the holiday celebrations. Eat, dance, and be grateful.

Dr.Kogan is a Concierge Holistic Internal Medicine doctor in Naples.

 Her website is

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