Avoiding a ‘Food Coma’ Over the Holidays

A funny story…

The people this happened to shall remain nameless to protect the innocent (and so that I don’t get flogged for telling this story).

I am not a baker, I am not a great cook and folks in my care don’t get much in the way of baked goodies at my house. You could actually call this a form of child abuse because in lieu of no home baked goods, I also don’t buy any.

Hey, it’s not like there aren’t any treats at my house. There are plenty of blueberries and brussel sprouts…ha! So my idea of a treat, (I do make a killer fruit cobbler) maybe different from most ‘mom’s’.

It was Thanksgiving and other family members went to town baking pumpkin pies. There was pretty much a pie per person at this particular Thanksgiving.

By the way, remind me to tell you how I (unwittingly and forever) got out of making anything more complicated than a Caesar salad for any family gathering…a story for another post.

Back to the pies…after an amazing meal of all the staples of the holiday: turkey, stuffing, sweet potato, ambrosia salad (really? A marshmallow ‘salad’?) etc. The pie went down, piece after piece. And I have to say that I was among the guilty as much as anyone.

over eating

We called it a ‘food coma’. Everyone, me included, was flaked out on the floor in an insulin induced nap.

The usual game of Balderdash was forgone, no card games, no chit chat. Mostly snoring…

In fact, one person had their pie revisit them, several times, and to this day can’t stomach pumpkin pie.

My point is, too much of a good thing turns out NOT to be so good after all.


I’ve been talking about the potential to gain 7-9 lbs over the holiday. Ug! Who wants to start the New Year off with that extra baggage?

Since there is an overwhelming number of food choices and opportunities to apply these pounds of fat to your body’s trouble spots…I thought I’d offer a few tips to avoid this and if anything, you can break even over the holidays. Come January 1st you’ll be right back on track.

Stay active – This is your best defense against weight gain. You can easily offset a few extra calories with some high intensity interval and resistance training.
Start your day right – Pencil in a workout in the morning so that holiday festivities don’t interrupt it.

Sweat! – Studies show that even 10 minutes/day of intense exercise can stave off holiday weight gain. And don’t be fooled into thinking a walk in the mall is ‘exercise’. You need to get a sweat going.

Did I mention exercise?? – Adding early morning exercise sets the tone for the day, but if the morning doesn’t work, fit it in anywhere you can.
Plan your splurges – Take a look at your calendar between now and January and decide when and where you’ll ‘fall off the wagon’. Seriously, what are the holidays without enjoying your favourite treats a little bit?

Focus on loved ones – Events should focus on the people attending them, not the buffet.
Eat before you go anywhere – An empty stomach is recipe for disaster when temptation is high so have a fibre filled protein rich snack 30 minutes before you head out.

love you

Get organized – Plan your days, including where, when and what you’ll eat so that hunger doesn’t sneak up on you. Always carry healthy snacks with you like nuts, a protein bar, an apple.

Sample everything – If everything is too tempting, have a SMALL bite or sample of the things you’ll enjoy, but not an entire serving.

Don’t beat yourself up – Forgive yourself if you really go wild and start each day with a workout and clean slate.

Eat all the time – Well, at regular intervals (every 2-3 hours): keep healthy meals and snacks ready so you aren’t overcome with temptation.

Get your rest – Sleep deprivation can cause you to crave carbohydrates and it will lower your will power.
kitty in hammock
Take your vitamins, fish oils and vitamin D – Even when food is aplenty, you may be undernourished with the essentials, so don’t forget them!

Try to establish a bit of a routine – Part of the beauty of the holidays is that there IS no routine, but as far as meals go, don’t throw all caution to the wind.

Be realistic – Don’t set yourself up for failure by setting goals that are unattainable. Cut yourself some slack while still keeping your long term goals in mind.

success failure street sign

I’m sure we’ve all experienced the ‘food coma’ and it’s not a pretty sight. I hope these tips will help you make wiser choices than I did that Thanksgiving.

If you’ve experienced too many food comas and need to be held accountable to your fitness and fat loss goals, you need to check out my Shawna 24/7 six week transformation. I’ll be available around the clock with workout and nutrition support to help you get the body you deserve.


And oh, you need to know the best way to ensure never being responsible for the most important dish of the holiday, that is, if you can swallow your pride.

10 comments and I’ll tell that embarrassing story.