One simple step to help avoid overeating during the holidays

October 28, 2018 GMT

The holidays are so close, I can literally smell them! No, really — I can smell turkey cooking, stuffing, yams, pumpkin pies, etc. That may be due to the fact that I’ve been doing some home medical visits and people are already cooking, but you get the idea.

It always begs the question, though, in what ways can people avoid overeating during the holidays? Overeating usually occurs when we are confronted with all sorts of flavors, smells, and presentations that would make Rachael Ray salivate! This typically occurs at parties, holiday events, and family gatherings.

One of the most simple and effective ways to prevent overeating happens before said festivities. Eat a little bit of lean protein 30 to 40 minutes before a holiday event. Protein counteracts your hunger/overeating hormone.

Eating a small amount of protein, in the form of jerky (fish, chicken, beef, turkey, etc.) or some cheese and nuts before you get to your food fest, really quells the hunger.


It will allow you to enjoy the pleasures without overindulging. People also ask me all the time why they are so tempted to overeat during the holidays? Where does that craving come from?

There are several obvious answers to this question, including getting to dive into food you don’t get the rest of the year, but that — in our modern society — is not the reason we overeat during the holiday season. What’s the real reason? The holidays are stressful.

Eating to your heart’s content (and your stomach’s discontent) combats stress by lowering the stress hormone cortisol and increasing the happy brain hormones, including serotonin! So, enjoy the great food this year, just plan ahead so you don’t eat so much!

Dr. Warren Willey is a Pocatello physician. Visit his website at