Dr. Pierre-Pierre discussed strategies to prevent the harmful effects of holiday eating habits for the upcoming Thanksgiving and Christmas season in his Facebook live post on November 18, 2021. This is the season to gather with friends and family where snacking all day, cocktails, company parties, and of course grandma’s favorite lemon pies invite us to celebrate starting in mid-November and indulging all the way into the new year. Let’s be honest, there are so many good reasons for pigging out without hesitation.
On an average, Americans gain between one and ten pounds between Thanksgiving and Christmas. It may not seem like a big deal, but it really is. To date, 38 percent of people in the United States are obese, and 33 percent are considered overweight. Gaining these pounds every year, even adding one additional pound a year, can cause health issues and problems.
Harmful effects of overeating during the holidays:
Acid Reflux – The job of our stomach is to secrete hydrochloric acid which aids in the digestive process and kills bacteria as food moves through your system. The more you eat, the more acid is produced and some of it makes its way back into the esophagus causing heartburn, metallic tastes, cough, bloating and more.
Bloating, Sluggishness, Light-headedness – Eating an overly large meal slows your digestion and more time is spent processing the overload causing those gassy, bloated and uncomfortable feelings. This is due to your body system needing “all hands on-deck” to digest the food load that you just consumed, which sends more blood to your gastrointestinal tract, leaving less blood available for transporting oxygen and nutrients to the other parts of your body, mainly your brain, leaving you sluggish and light headed.
Weight Gain – Indulging causes your blood sugar to spike especially if you are consuming a lot of carbohydrates such as rice, bread, pasta. When blood sugar rises above normal levels, you release excess amounts of insulin, causing an energy spike that is usually followed by a crash. Your body does not need that amount of energy all at once as fuel and it starts to store it as fat, hence, the weight gain.
Food and Drink Hangover – Caloric over-indulgence by food and / or drink interrupts your sleep pattern, overworks and overloads your organs, causes headaches, difficulty concentrating, as well as brain fog and fatigue.
Tips to avoid those bad effects on your body:
Exercise – Keep up with your normal routine as much as possible. Incorporate more walking, stretching and keep moving.
Avoid Fasting – During a fast and the longer you fast, the body thinks it is going into starvation mode and holds on to as many calories as possible. A better option is to eat a low-fat protein rich breakfast, light lunch and a moderate holiday meal.
Moderation is key – Listen to your body, when you are full, stop eating. Start by taking smaller portions and mindfully enjoy what is on your plate, skip seconds and leave room for a reasonable size dessert.
Think before you drink – A glass of wine has 165 empty calories, beer 175 empty calories, and eggnog 223 calories. Remember that water has zero calories. Eating Well magazine offers recipes that slim down the holiday favorites and must-haves.
Rest your mind and body – Getting enough sleep is vital to your overall health, wellness and the ability to maintain a healthy weight.
If you have questions or would like to discuss further, Hobe Sound Primary Care can help. Please call us at 772-932-9310. Walk-ins are always welcome, and we look forward to being of service.