We all like to indulge at times, including when we relax and share Christmas and New Year Celebrations with Family and Friends. Overindulging in Grandma’s Pavlova, your Aunties Fruit cake and your Mum’s Christmas pudding with Ice Cream are just a few of the delicious temptations that will test your commitment to not overeating. However, while a little bit of what you fancy is unlikely to do much harm in the long run, consistent or extreme overeating of unhealthy foods poses huge risks to your health and wellbeing.
The festive season can be very tough for those of us who can be guilty of overindulging or overeating at Christmas while enjoying such a special time of the year. Indeed, according to a study of British eating habits, the average Christmas dinner is a whopping 5,200 calories. To put this into perspective, if a person ate this way every day, they would be an astonishing 140KG heavier within a year. It’s no surprise, therefore, that the overeating at Christmas binge is often followed up by a hardcore gym regime and a rather miserable January.
Overeating at Christmas. Is the binge-diet cycle a good idea?
We probably don’t need to tell you that overeating can lead to weight gain, obesity and a whole raft of associated illnesses such as gastro, diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. The main question, then, is whether your health is affected when weight put on through overeating is subsequently lost.
Ultimately, the answer is yes. Even a single episode of overeating can have consequences that go beyond embarrassing gas and bloating. According to research from the Harvard School of Public Health, overeating can have a huge impact on your metabolism and ability to produce insulin. This means that, even if they start eating better after a period of binging, you will find it more difficult to lose weight than in the past.
On top of these unfortunate effects on metabolism, the simple fact is that overeating causes increased blood flow to the intestines, meaning that other bodily functions are impacted. Ever wondered why you feel slow, sluggish and tired after a big meal? This effect can be put down to decreased blood flow to the brain. In this way, one of the best ways to stay feeling fresh, alert and lively during festive events is to avoid eating too much and to be kind to your body.
So how should the festive period be approached?
Many of us feel pressure to overindulge during the holidays, particularly if our friends and family are doing so. However, it is possible to enjoy Christmas and New Year without having to pay for it afterwards. To make sure your festive days are healthy and guilt-free, be sure to eat a healthy breakfast and drink plenty of water. This will help you regulate your appetite and ensure you know when you are full during main meals.
It may also be a good idea to ensure there are plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables available at every meal. Indeed, fibre is important for digestion and appetite regulation, and the nutrients in fruit and vegetables will help you feel fresh and rejuvenated every day!
If you do find yourself in need of some help and guidance after the Festive Season, you may like to consider getting back on track with our Naturopaths, Clinical Nutritionist or Dietitian. You can make the New Year a “Really New Year.”