Hold onto your belt buckles because the holidays are here: gift giving, shared cheer, holiday parties, & FOOD!
Consider yourselves WARNED!
The holiday season is in full swing and I am sure that I’m not the only one who makes pacts with herself to exercise a little bit more JUST to let loose on Thanksgiving day and put a beating on some Mac & Cheese!
However, it’s usually not the actual day of Thanksgiving that does the most damage; it’s the days that follow. In the vein of “waste not, want not,” many of us continue to eat leftovers of those decadent, calorie-rich foods; and that, my friends, is where the chaos begins.
Don’t Stretch Out Your Stomach
Our bodies contain a vast network of complex systems, for example, our digestive system. And although it is very resilient, it’s also quickly thrown off balance by our carelessness, especially during the holiday season.
How many of us say to ourselves, “Oh, I’ll start my diet tomorrow … next week … in January,” and then continue to eat, drink, and be merry with reckless abandon? And how many of us have eaten past the point of fullness that our pants button pops, shooting through the room like a champagne cork; so subsequently, we pledge to “never eat again,” only to wake up the next day feeling as hungry as a hostage?
Here’s the deal: extended periods of over-eating lead to your stomach’s inability to signal to your brain that it’s satisfied. Your stomach has something called “stretch receptors,” and once they become as insensitive as our boyfriends can sometimes be, we lose sight as to just how much food we’ve consumed. And in the case of the holiday season, when the food we eat tends to be rich and high calorie, simply choosing to eat less of them isn’t a fail-safe method.
Your body will signal to your brain that it’s starving (those damn stretch receptors again!) and demand more food like you have a gun to your head.
The idea is to enjoy those foods on the actual day of the holiday, but during the in-between days and weeks, eat meals and snacks that combine a use of high fiber complex carbs (oatmeal, whole grains, yams, brown rice), lean protein (skinless chicken breast, fish, egg whites) and natural fats (olive oil, nuts, avocado).
Tis’ the Season … For Beer Bellies?
When it came to cocktails and drinking, there have been more than a few times when I’ve wondered if my next drink was going to lead me straight to an AA meeting. Forget the fact that hangovers stopped being funny at age 25; the WEIGHT that alcohol puts on is just disrespectful. AND, it does so in such a sneaky, gradual manner — just like a ‘frenemie’ waiting for an opportunity to stab you in the back!
We’ve all heard that moderate drinking is fine. It can even be good for you, as in the case of red wine. But not if you drink a case!
Here is why alcohol is so wicked: not only is does it contain sugar and 7 calories per gram, our propensity for mixed drinks simply adds double and triple digits to that already scary equation. Not only that, our bodies don’t “read” liquid calories the same way they do solid food. A margarita and a cheeseburger may have the same calorie count but they sure don’t fill you up the same way! Additionally, since liquor is a toxin, it takes 3 times longer to digest. So if you are eating and drinking at the same time, guess which gets metabolized first, and what ends up on the side of your thighs, giving you that totally awesome Buddha belly?
My advice: stick with the red wine or perhaps a vodka with diet/club soda. If you feel like consuming more than two drinks at a holiday shindig, you might want to go see “the people.”
Get a Little Help With Those Sugar Cravings …
Now, most of you are under the impression that fighting off cravings, once they set in, is simply a feat and failure of will power. Rest assured, it is not. Sugar is, and can become, as addictive as hardcore heroin. When sugar has been introduced to candida, a naturally occurring yeast in our bodies, it acts the same way that yeast does when it’s baking. When candida gets a hold of sugar or carbs, it produces gas and then multiplies. So with the absence of sugar in the bloodstream, candida forces the body to give it more sugar by chemically initiating cravings for carb heavy foods like pasta, sweets, alcohol, and even fruit.
If your body has even a slight candida imbalance, sugar cravings will become chemical, possibly causing you to bloat. During this holiday season, if you are someone who regularly takes vitamins and supplements as part of your health and fitness regimen, look into a supplement called Caprylic Acid. The caprylic acid will kill the additional candida while staying hydrated will help to flush it out. Obviously, this advice is anecdotal, so make sure you receive the thumbs up from your regular physician or trusted health professional, but caprylic acid has a pretty straightforward function and shouldn’t interfere with you in any other way.
Happy Holidays Everyone! See you in the gym!