Did you spend more than usual in the last few weeks?

Parties, extra large meals and lots of fun sounds like Christmas and New Year. But the holiday season can be expensive if you’re not careful and aware of how much shopping you do, and after Christmas you may well see you bank balance has decreased!

I know you want to buy nice gifts for your family, friends and hopefully also for yourself. And with discounts and clever advertising it’s often hard to say no.

But there may be another reason for your increased holiday spending. And it’s all about your mood.

Did you hear before how our food choices can affect our mood, in a positive or negative way? If you’re not eating nutrient-dense foods then most likely you will feel mood swings.

Don’t forget, the food that fuels your body also fuels your brain. The nutrient building-blocks for your brain chemicals are called neurotransmitters. These affect how we feel, our thoughts, and our behavior. So when you eat food that’s delicious but lacking in nutrients — for example, sugary deserts, drinks and non-healthy fatty foods — you are going to affect your neurotransmitters.

And when you are feeling low or moody, what’s likely to pick you up? That’s right — food or shopping!

Research has found out people who go shopping feeling moody or hungry will spend 64 percent more than those that are not. Another study in the American Medical Association’s journal of internal medicine showed that your mood can also make you 45 percent more likely to buy especially high calorie foods.

So how can you improve your mood and nourish your body? Really, it all comes down to what you eat!

First, don’t let food control you. I know this may sound hard, but actually it might not be.

Here’s a few tips to manage your mood and hunger levels, and avoid overspending:

w Don’t go too long without eating (unless you are doing a voluntary fast).

w Always carry some healthy snacks with you, such as almonds, macadamia nuts, apple and cheese, or a natural protein bar.

w Make a list to what you really need to buy, and be sure to stick to it.

w Set yourself a clear shopping budget — statistics show that sales increase over 80 percent during the holiday season, so make sure you are within your shopping budget!

Hopefully I am not too late with these tips, and you can use some of them next time you go shopping!

Happy holidays and Happy New Year!

•••

Ayda Ersoy is a nutrition and fitness director at The Diet Doc Hawaii. She can be reached at www.dietdochawaii.com, (808) 276-6892. Email Ayda@DietDocHawaii.com

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