A Feasting Reset
The holiday season is upon us. Let the celebrations begin!
The festivities, for many people, kick off with Thanksgiving and run through New Year’s Day. And for some — for those who view football as a religion — it’ll stretch all the way through Super Bowl Sunday.
And with the all the seasonal festivities comes food. Lots and lots of food. So much food.
During the holidays it’s almost a tradition to eat and graze from the moment we wake up to the moment we go to sleep. That’s about 16 hours of feed time for most people.
And if we wake up in the middle of the night, mmmmm, there’s leftover pie in the fridge. Like a siren it calls to us. Time for a midnight snack.
Thank God for stretchy waistbands.
So how might a person navigate all this celebratory food and drink without having to live in a weeks long, overstuffed, sluggish, food hangover state?
How can a person stay in the holiday spirit, enjoying all the goodness, and also stay reasonably healthy?
A simple solution might be to eat, drink and enjoy — but just narrow the window of your eating and drinking time.
What does that look like?
Just narrow your feeding time window down from 16 hours to 12 hours or 10. Less feeding time means you’ll probably eat a bit less. And your body will have a chance to keep up with and digest the food you do eat.
You might even try a feed window of 8 hours, but who are we kidding, during the holidays that’s probably not gonna happen.
Some people call this approach Time Restricted Eating or Intermittent Fasting. But to be honest, I’m not really a fan either of those terms.
Instead I like the idea of Intermittent FEASTING. I like to focus on my feeding time. So when I use the abbreviation of IF please know I’m all about the feasting versus fasting.
And there are health bonuses that come with practicing IF.
Research studies have shown that IF can help with weight loss and preventing weight gain. IF has also been shown to benefit heart health, blood pressure, cognitive function, and lower inflammation levels. Studies have also shown promising results with this eating approach in reducing the risk of Type 2 diabetes. Other studies have shown this approach helpful in managing the disease.
Interested in what this feasting approach might look like for you?
Your first meal might be between 10am and 12pm and your last meal might be at 8pm. Maybe 10pm if you’re at a holiday gathering. And please know that if you’re sipping on a glass of egg nog or bourbon or wine or munching on a cookie or chips or pie — you’re still feasting.
On days you don’t have a holiday gathering maybe you clock out on your feasting after you’ve feasted for 8 to 10 hours.
And if you’re a morning person and love breakfast then your feasting window will open earlier than 10am and close before 8pm.
It’s more than ok to adjust your feasting window with your holiday social demands. Life happens. Enjoy it!
Once the holidays are over your might want to try for a more regular 8 or 10 hour feasting window.
And of course, all the potential health benefits of IF are more likely to be realized if your feasting time includes a balanced food selection (ex: eating a Mediterranean diet ).
And yes, I know, balance can be so very elusive during the demands of the holidays. Just try to breathe, eat some vegetables, and stay hydrated.
Also how you eat is important. Here are some simple tips on how to eat for nourishment.
And one more thing, getting some movement in during the day definitely helps. A nice walk after a meal can aid digestion.
So maybe consider narrowing your FEASTING window as you move through the holidays.
Eat and enjoy!
*If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, have Type 1 diabetes, have a history of eating disorders, or any other current health conditions please talk with your physician before engaging in Time Restricted Eating or Intermittent Fasting.
For more on IF please check out the following links: