Why it’s a bad idea to binge at a holiday party
I love the last 2 months of the year! Here spans an 8 week period where we celebrate Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and the New Year in all it’s glorious ways, namely by gathering around meals and treats with family, friends, and co-workers. For many, a strategy to avoid eating breakfast or lunch, or eating very little during the day seems like a good idea in order to maximize the joy of celebrating later in the day. It’s not! Let me explain why.
When our body is witheld any calorie sources for a lengthy period of time, it begins to utilize glycogen (a form of glucose found stored in the liver) for energy. When this reserve is depleted, your body begins to inefficiently burn fat for fueling your nervous system and your vital organ functions. This is one of the main reasons people become irritable when hungry, and the body is desperate to stabilize the blood-glucose levels necessary for our brain and muscles to function. The brain perceives this hunger experience as an assault to the body, and will consequently conserve any calories received in subsequent meals so that it can be converted into body fat to prepare for another episode of potential starvation. Skipping meals, whether we choose it or not, manipulates our physiological function into a conservation mode that increases our body’s fat generating machine! This description is admittedly over-simplified, but explains why you can skip meals and still gain weight!
Here’s a strategy for the holidays if you are faced with the temptation of binging at a gathering…
Don’t come hungry. Eat a sensible, balanced meal before any festivities begin, and you won’t feel so desperate to snack and binge. This helps to avoid a fat conservation mode in your body.
Drink water first. Make a commitment to have several glasses of water before you chose ANY beverages.
Choose vegetables and fruits as appetizers before the snack items. Makes sense doesn't it?
Eat a sensible portion. This is a discipline that is much easier to carry out if you do steps 1-3.
Finally, get rid of your plate ASAP! It’s hard to walk around with more foods and snacks if you don’t have a plate to carry the goodies on.
This message is by no means a way to rain on your parade. It’s a way to enjoy the holidays sensibly and without regret in the following weeks. Have a safe and happy holiday season everyone!
Dr. Pujayana is a private practice Strength Coach and Chiropractor in South Pasadena, and has served the community since 2000. You may find him at www.southpaschiro.com