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Competitive Eaters Share Tips on How Best to Stuff Your Face at Christmas

Tis the season of stretchy pants and burps that end with a little bit of vomit in your mouth. Here's advice on how to eat as much turkey as humanly possible without losing it all over the table.
Photo courtesy of Michelle Lesco

People say that the holidays are a time for family and friends, but they're wrong. Christmas exists for one purpose, and one purpose alone: To eat until you feel physically sick, then eat some more.

As it was written in the Bible, "Go then, eat your bread in happiness and drink your wine with a cheerful heart; for God has already approved your works." Also in the Bible: "So Abraham hurried into the tent to Sarah, and said, "Quickly, prepare three measures of fine flour, knead it and make bread cakes."


Of course, we're not prescriptive here at Broadly. You don't have to go all Old Testament and literally knead bread cakes. Get together with some sexy kids at your favorite pizza joint, or have a nutritious rosé-based aperitif—it doesn't matter what you eat, only that you eat as much of it as humanly possible.

There may be some among you who say, "I don't know how to eat past the limits of the physical capacity for suffering," or even, "What if it happens again?" (It won't.) Like pre-wedding jitters, it's normal to feel a little fear or even doubt going into the fattening season.

To help you handle your nerves, we reached out to some of our favorite female competitive eaters. Though they may appear diminutive in stature, underestimate these proverbial Davids at your peril. They are to an unattended plate of chicken wings what Serena Williams is to a limp-wristed underarm serve: a vortex that will chew you up and spit you out (Joking! Competitive eaters always swallow.)

Read more: Inside the Strange World of 'Fruitarians,' Who Only Eat Raw Fruit

Here's the Broadly guide to Christmas comfort eating, from someone who once threw up in a KFC car park on Boxing Day after eating an entire bargain bucket. Clearly, I have a lot to learn. Merry Christmas!

Kate Ovens, once beat British reality TV star Scotty T in a sandwich-eating contest

Once you've gone past the 20-minute mark, the fullness is difficult to deal with. Take your time and go step by step. If there's still a lot left, and you're already super full, it's not worth having those few extra bites if all you're going to do is make yourself sick. Don't get me wrong—try your hardest—but I don't like throwing up from doing this and it's my own choice to stop. If you think you're going to be sick, stop eating and take a breather. Go outside and get some air so you're not looking at or smelling food.


Michelle Lesco, nickname "Cardboard Shell"

Try to zen out and focus on the food at hand. Remembering my goals and the techniques I want to employ helps the food go down most efficiently. Some foods require more technique, so I train exclusively with the of food I'm going to be eating. Wings and ribs are trained for with wings and ribs. Twinkies are trained for with Twinkies. Hot dogs are kind of a mix: I build capacity with loads of fruit, then do some hot dog practices to lock down an efficient technique.

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When you start to feel full, remember it's mind over matter. I compare it to running a cross-country race. You push as hard as you can, your body tells you to stop, it hurts, it's hard, and you just ignore it. It's just the old adage, "Pain is temporary; glory is forever." If you're not willing to go as hard as you can, then you probably shouldn't be at the table. But if you do feel the last possible stretch of your stomach, or start to get a bit of a gag reflex, focus on the small goals—one more hot dog, one more bowl of chilli, get down the bites one by one, and don't give in until time is up.

When it's over, just sink down behind the table and sit on the floor until you're not a ticking time bomb anymore.

Nela Zisser, model and professional eater

Try to relax. The more relaxed you are, the better you end up doing. You have to put yourself in a zone where all you're thinking about is finishing the food as fast as possible. Not everyone can do it but it's definitely a skill that can be learnt. I find that holding onto something when you're eating helps, like a table for example. It's time to stop when your body just refuses to swallow. Know your physical limits and don't push past them.

Afterwards, it's best to just lay down in a cool room and drink plenty of water.


Miki Sudo, three-time Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest women's champion

My stomach is naturally larger than most people's on the planet, so I don't have to do that much prep. Avoid the food you like in the lead up, so when you have that first bite, it's refreshing and new and exciting.

If you're eating debris foods—foods where you have to eat around the bone—try to consume the fatty parts, because they're easier to swallow. With hot dogs, everything is very predetermined. Eat two hot dogs at a time; grab a bun, dunk it in water, and pop that in your mouth.

Dress for the occasion. Remember, it's competitive eating, not competitive prettiness. Wear loose fitting pants and something with high elasticity. My midsection is always covered by something pretty baggy.

If you feel like you're about to lose it, then stop. You have to know your body and know your limits. Nobody wants you to lose it at the table.