Dr. Uche Odiatu is back and has 21 strategies to help us all survive the holidays. Office parties, family feasts, and holiday baking create a minefield for the most well-intentioned dental professional. It’s that time of year to eat, drink and be merry but with New Year’s is right around the corner…. Our frequent contributor wanted to help with some pre-emptive damage control
Dr. Odiatu is a practicing dentist, certified trainer, author, speaker, and repeat AToTH guest. He always brings us content that we can use to make us and our patients happy and healthy. Be sure to check out the many episodes with Dr. Uche and head over to our YouTube channel and watch the videos Dr. Uche and Michelle did to help you stretch and take care of your body!
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This TIPisode has been transcribed for your viewing pleasure:
Uche Odiatu: Uche Odiatu for a TIPisode, This is the holiday survival guide for holiday eating. Office parties. Family functions. Holiday baking. The next month with Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years, all kinds of seasonal parties, it’ll be full of fun. However, with all that mingling and clanking of glasses comes tasty temptations and food flirtation. I’m trying to give you a preemptive guide to help you stickhandle and make your way around all these minefields so you can actually enjoy more fun, more glam, more glitz, more treats without the usual holiday weight gain.
I have, I think, about 21 different tips. One might help you. They all might work. But let’s run through them fairly quickly. Again, you can take some notes if you want. But this is a lot of fun. I’ve been surviving holidays for years. And, if you want to, you know, weigh what your college weight, if you want to weigh what you weighed in high school, which makes it so much easier to stickhandle life and all the chronic inflammatory diseases, which can definitely be in the background if you’re not taking charge of your eating.
So let’s start off. I love it when you start off the day with — I call it “front loading” your day when people have a heavy-duty breakfast. So we’re talking you have protein, good quality fat, high-fiber things like oatmeal, any time you actually have a larger breakfast. And this slams right in the face of the intermittent fasters, but for years, you say “breakfast like a king, lunch like a lord, and dinner like a pauper.” However, a whole concept of that is that whenever you front load your day, basically you give your body what it wants. And the minute you give your body what it wants, it’s less likely to seek and crave things all day long, especially if you have a night festive party.
Number two. Sleep. Getting good sleep means you’ll actually regulate and balance all your hormones and neurotransmitters. Poor sleepers, anyone sleeping less than six hours a night, will have — will be more leptin resistant, which means it’ll take them more food to be satisfied, and their bodies will also pump out more ghrelin. Ghrelin is a hunger neurotransmitter or hormone and is made in the intestines. And, any time you are sleep deprived, which the Center of Disease Control says is one in three people, you will become leptin resistant, which means you’ll never be — never feel full, and you’ll have more ghrelin.
Number three. Chew gum when you’re baking. I know so many people that actually bake. I’m not a baker. Even though I do a lot of posts with myself making food, I don’t bake. But, if you bake and you show love — many people show love by giving food and providing gorgeous, sumptuous dishes. But, if you don’t want to snack during the whole time and gain that extra weight — because most people don’t actually count the food they eat while they’re making the dish, so chewing gum the whole time, especially a fresh piece of gum like Spry or any xylitol based — sweetened gum like PUR will help you think “Eh. Why take the gum out?” And “I’m just going to prepare this meal for my loved ones.”
One thing that’s a little bit — is a little different is actually wear, like, really close-fitting clothes or tighter clothes because you wear that perfect outfit, it’ll just remind you why you need to step away from the buffet table. You do something like wear your Netflix pants, you’re in for a major landslide.
Number five. Fiber snacks. You know, never go to a party hungry. Never go to a party hungry or go out for dinner hungry during the holiday time. So having a high-fiber snack like an avocado, half one or a whole one. Eating an apple. You know, an avocado has about 10 grams of fiber, an apple 4 grams. And, any time you’re giving your microbiome or your gut flora exactly the food that it eats or that it wants and desires — and this is like a fundamental, foundational relationship, which immunologists and microbiologists [indiscernible]and Rob Knight have talked about. But, if you eat fiber first, what happens is your stomach gets what it wants. And guess what? You will crave less, you will eat less, and you’ll indulge less during the whole evening.
Intermittent fasting. This is another way to look at it, but intermittent fasting is to skip breakfast. So it slams right in the face of when I said, “Have a heavy-duty breakfast.” But sometimes healthy eating and healthy living has a lot of paradox. But, if I was up late last night, or if I was — had a big meal out or a staff party or a Thanksgiving dinner, why not skip breakfast? Research has shown that skipping breakfast, or intermittent fasting — and this can only be done if — you know, I wouldn’t do it if a pregnant person has to be careful with sugar management; also, diabetics, they shouldn’t be doing intermittent fasting. If anyone has been up late eating or out late having a few, I would say skip breakfast. And, by skipping breakfast, you can reset metabolism, reset your appestat, which is part of your hypothalamus, which regulates appetite. And, also, it’ll increase brain health. They said, actually, any time you miss a meal, it increases mental acuity.
Number seven. Don’t stand near the food table. So the stand-up get together, the last thing you want to do if you want to cut back on calories is to stand right near the smoked salmon and stand right near the desserts. So stay away from the dessert table, and that’ll help you because they’ve shown a thing — actually, it’s called “geographic eating.” And BrianWansink talked about this in his food — and he’s a Cornell University guru — said, “If you give yourself more than seven feet away from the buffet table, you’re less likely to snack on it.”
Number eight. Focus on the conversation, not the food. And it sounds so trite. However — but, if you are able to focus on the fact why you want to spend time with these people and what you want to enjoy, you will focus less on eating all the goodies and focus more on getting to know your aunt more or getting to know the people in your office better instead of just gobbling down the food.
Number nine. Drink water between beverages. A huge amount of adult beverages, so alcohol, have empty calories to them, huge glycemic index factor. So, instead of having drink after drink after drink, pace yourself. And this is number nine. Have a glass of water between your alcoholic beverages.
Number 10. If you are going to drink alcohol, stay away from the high-calorie ones like the Silver Cloud and the huge dessert-style cocktails. One way to do it is just have no juice in your alcoholic beverage because, again, juice is, like, basically pop without the bubbles. And, again, huge amount of sugar inside and will sabotage your efforts because any time you drink a little more, it’ll lower your inhibition, lower your discipline, and you’ll end up beside the buffet table.
Number 11. If you’re drinking white wine, throw in a carbonated beverage and make yourself a spritzer. It’ll actually decrease the calories of your white wine consumption in half.
After the meal, go for a walk. You know, going for a walk, actually, after your big dinner is one way you can actually increase your metabolism. But, also, I call it “earning dessert.” So, after you’ve had, you know, three-, four-course meal, you’ve had a huge Thanksgiving meal, take the time to ask all the people sleeping who wants to enjoy a walk. And you’ll get someone — maybe even the family dog [laughing] or the corporate dog — and go for a walk. Otherwise, you can enjoy a walk on your own even, and just clear your mind and come back, and then you’ve earned the right to have dessert.
Number 13. Don’t argue. Stress has been shown to make people more vulnerable. That’s the whole idea about comfort foods is that when people are stressed out, arguing, resentful, undergoing any misunderstandings, stressed out — they’ve actually shown physiologically that whenever you’re stressed out, having food or sugar — fat or sugar in your stomach, it actually lowers your cortisol levels. So comfort foods has a physiological advantage. However, by lowering cortisol with calories, and especially with fat and sugar, you’ve [sic] actually going to end up increasing the pounds.
So one way to nip that in the bud [sic] is to stay away from hot topics. Stay away from that uncle who owes you $10 since you were 22 years of age. Stay away from those topics that are going to ignite the fires and you’ll end up having spirited debates with your in-laws, and just enjoy peace and peaceful, serene conversations.
Number 14. Never arrive hungry. Never arrive hungry at a party or a get together. You will overeat.
Number 15. Healthy snacks. You know, when you look at what’s on the table, look at the hummus dressing, look at the guacamole. There’s always healthy snacks that you can choose from, and they’re always put out there for the athletes in the crowd. But focus on the healthy snacks instead of the high-fat, high-processed sugar, syrupy snacks, and that’ll also help you in your resolve.
Number 16. Think of actually what you want. Go there with your goal in mind. You know, if you’ve already been on a weight loss journey or a get lean journey or a fitness journey, keep that in mind. Don’t leave your fitness and health goals in the car. Take them in with you. Okay? Number 16.
Seventeen. Have the clear soup first. They’ve actually shown if you have soup before dinner, you’ll actually consume 25 percent less calories at a big corporate dinner.
Number 18. Chew your food slowly. They’ve actually shown the more times you chew your food, the more chance your brain gets the idea that you’ve eaten something; they’ve actually shown any time you drink calories, because they’re consumed so quickly, the appestat doesn’t actually register, and you end up actually consuming more overall. Actually, also, put your fork down between meals. Another option I’ve read before is actually have to have — eat with chopsticks. But then again I saw a man put a whole chicken into his mouth using chopsticks, so maybe forget that one [laughing].
Okay. Look at number 19. Number 19. Don’t feel guilty. If you’re actually out to have fun — you know, eat, drink, and be merry — thelast thing you want is to feel guilty when you’re having a good time because they’ve actually shown what stress does — guilt, stress, resentment, being upset with yourself, any time you’re stressed out, it slows down digestion. So stress slows down digestion. Any time you actually slow down digestion, what happens is your body has more chance to absorb calories from the meal. So, instead of the usual number of hours to digest a meal, it slows down by two, three hours. That means you actually will absorb more calories from the meal.
So don’t feel guilty about if you overindulge. Just enjoy it. You know, eat, drink, and be merry.
Twenty-one. Get to know two new people. Have a little goal or social goal of saying, “Tonight or this evening, I’m going to focus on getting to know two new people or getting to know two people better.” And, if you focus on the social side, what’ll happen is it’ll take your mind off every beautiful chocolate-drizzled fountain that comes out with any big celebratory fashion.
Hey, the dance floor. What’s the dance floor for? Get up and dance. Calories, we’re looking about 5, 600 calories an hour. That’s a great way to use up any extra calories that you might have indulged on. That’s obviously if there’s a dance floor. If there’s not a dance floor, be the guy that dances. Bring your own Spotify, and start the dance floor yourself.
Twenty-two. I added an extra one here. So 22. Exercise. So, if I’m going to be indulging over two, three, four, five weeks between all the different holiday festivities and corporate dinners and Thanksgiving, one of the best things to do is start a new fitness habit. So a lot of gyms and yoga centers and tai chi centers and pilates centers actually will have specials — end-of-the-year specials to get people to come in because they know about that January rush.
So try taking the yoga class. You know, get 10 yoga classes for a great deal. And one or two yoga classes a week will end up — especially hot yoga will actually help you increase metabolism and create mindfulness. One thing I’ve also tried to do is actually is to find a walking buddy. So, during the holidays, if you know it’s going to be two or three weeks of family affairs and corporate dinners and lots of after work meeting college buddies that are inout of town for drinks or beverages, start a daily walking habit. So get a buddy in the neighborhood, or get a best friend or your spouse or a family member, and do a 20-minute walk each night, which will ignite your metabolism and set you on fire.
So here you go. I’ve given you almost 22 tips. These are great ways to circumvent and help you survive the holidays with Thanksgiving just coming up. Just around the corner, Christmas, corporate events, get togethers, reunions, New Years, Christmas. You name it; it’s there. So let me know how you do.
Druche.com. I’m on Instagram, @fitspeakers. Good luck with that. Keep me in the loop. Take care.
Michelle Strange: We hope you enjoyed this week’s TIPisode. Be sure to reach out to our guest experts and let them know how helpful their tips were. Follow A Tale of Two Hygienists on Facebook, Instagram, and head over to ataleoftwohygienists.com and subscribe to our newsletter. You can also email us at email@example.com, and keep listening for more awesome content from your unofficial dental hygiene podcast.