Written by Beth Funari Sims Cert. PT
The holiday season is here! This means quality time with family and friends, party-hopping, holiday movies… and of course festive food.
With the biggest food holiday around the corner it can be more challenging than ever to maintain a healthful lifestyle. I’d never tell anyone to abstain from enjoying, and indulging in some of their favorites on Turkey day. Deprivation often leads to overeating later, and can actually take us farther away from our health and weight-loss goals.
That said, NOBODY likes a food hangover. The icky, bloated, nausea feeling you have after you’ve indulged in too many carbs and sweets. I’d argue it doesn’t have to be part of your holiday.
So what is it about the turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, pumpkin pie combo that leaves us feeling exhausted?
Simple carbohydrates such as white potatoes are high glycemic foods. These types of foods spike and lower our blood sugar quickly. This results in a crash that leaves the body feeling sluggish.
The star of the show – turkey – is usually blamed for the post meal couch-naps. Turkey is laden with the often referenced L-tryptophan – an essential amino acid.
Nutrition experts now say this is actually a misconception. In fact, chicken has slightly more tryptophan than turkey. So, simple carbs and high sugar foods are more likely the culprit of our holiday sleepiness.
How to Beat the Carb Coma?
- Be Proactive with your workout. Make a plan to get sweaty workout in Thanksgiving morning, or the day prior. You’ll go into the holiday feeling better, and when we feel good we’re less likely to sabotage that. Also schedule a post-Thanksgiving morning workout to get your circulation going, and sweat out some salt.
- Pick two or three indulgences, not four or five. Portion control is important – yes even on Thanksgiving! If you love pie and buttery mashed potatoes, but you can do without stuffing – then stick with your favorites. There’s no reason you have to load up on everything. If you’d rather indulge in beer and wine then dessert – then remind yourself to keep your dessert portion in check.
- With so much delicious food around it can be easy to forget about water. H20 will not only help keep you full, it will also flush out some of the sodium-laden foods, and you’ll feel less bloated.
- Lastly, focus on what’s important. This time of year is so special, and goes by quickly. Remembering that it’s not about the food or the gifts. The holidays are really about family, and friends. Enjoy each other!
Happy Thanksgiving, all!