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Summary: Our staff offers helpful tips to control holiday stress, weight gain, and GI concerns. Find out how to minimize stress eating and enhance gut health.

The holiday season is about gathering with family and friends, family traditions, and establishing deep-rooted memories. But what do you do when stressful situations get between you and a good time? From working with your loved ones’ commitments to cooking and baking, this time can become too much to handle.

If you think you're experiencing additional stress, rest assured in knowing you aren’t the only one. A study executed by the American Psychological Association (APA) revealed that 38% of men and women have higher-than-normal stress levels during the holiday season. Below are some tips from the skilled gastrointestinal specialists at GI Associates & Endoscopy Center on ways to avoid excessive eating and help you dominate holiday stress this year. Please contact our GI office in Jackson, MS for additional details.

Tip 1: Set a limit on processed foods to aid in gut health

That rumbling in your stomach might not be because of going back for seconds. The bacteria in your gut can change after you ingest these foods. Eating processed foods encourages molecules to escape your digestive system and enter into your cytosolic pathway. This can increase inflammation in the stomach.

Limit these foods and opt for cooking your meals with fresh options. Prep the green bean casserole with locally grown green beans. Make a dessert with local fruit. Swapping canned and processed items for freshness can make all the difference.

In the event your GI concerns require further care, the gastroenterologists at GI Associates & Endoscopy Center in Jackson, MS can help you get back to feeling like yourself once again.

Tip 2: Eat a snack before you leave your house

Overeating is all too natural during the holidays and can lead to gut issues. Between scrumptious pie, casseroles, and tins of cookies, avoiding holiday weight gain is challenging.

Mix carbs with protein to keep yourself full in the interim before dinner. This can be as easy as wheat toast with a nut butter. A few other great protein and carb snacks include:

  • Cheese and grapes
  • Hard-boiled eggs and fruit
  • Hummus and peppers
  • A low-sugar granola bar

Tip 3: Eat smaller portion sizes to prevent overconsumption

There is little doubt that with the extent of the delectable food available, you will likely be tempted to try it all. Make sure to pace your consumption and place a smaller amount of food on your plate. Going with smaller portion sizes can let your GI tract easily digest the foods you consume. Plus, you will likely be less bloated and uncomfortable when you stick with smaller portions.

Listening to your gut is ideal when attempting to keep yourself from eating too much. If you feel full before finishing your plate, go ahead and stop eating. Your stomach is signaling that it is ready to take a break, leaving you extra time to socialize with your friends and family.

Tip 4: Create a list to minimize stress

Following lists can enable you to stay organized and focused. Creating a list allows for organized shopping while keeping trips to the grocery store from getting out of control. Furthermore, it assists with balancing everyone’s different schedules and provides a feeling of satisfaction.

Writing down a list brings organization to the chaos of the holiday season. It helps decrease feelings of anxiousness and relieve the holiday stress you are facing.

Tip 5: React to holiday stress with goodwill

The expression “Treat others how you want to be treated” rings true year-round. However, this motto is particularly meaningful throughout the holidays when tensions are elevated.

When seeking out ways to reduce stress, respond to each situation with a kind approach. Dispersing any feelings of frustration and offering goodwill helps alleviate anxiety. It also makes everybody feel cherished and assured.

Take a stress-free approach this holiday season

Regardless of what your holiday plans entail, our Jackson, MS practice is happy to offer tips to help you enjoy this time of year with your family and friends. Knowing you have these options to control stress will help make the days more carefree. If you have GI health concerns or require further ideas, contact our caring digestive health specialists at GI Associates & Endoscopy Center today.

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