Happy holidays! The next few weeks can be the most amazing time, or the worst time, for your health. Watch out for the phrase “It’s the Holidays!”-which I consider to be the most dangerous phrase this season as its often the excuse used for falling off diet, your wellness program or your detoxification plan.
The holidays are meant to be the happiest of times for people but that’s not always the case for everyone. For some, feelings of intense stress, loneliness, isolation or even depression can takeover those spending the holidays alone, far from family and friends. In addition, the past two years have been “unprecedented” to say the least-creating even more distance between family and friend.
Holiday emotional eating as a coping mechanism for the stress of this time (or any time) can quickly take hold. Have you ever found comfort in reaching for food to calm or soothe feelings of sadness, anxiety, depression, guilt, shame and other negative emotions are engaging in emotional eating – which is then often exacerbated by feelings of guilt or shame for eating that way.
Holiday Blood Sugar Crisis
Holiday/Emotional eating typically involves consuming anything processed, crunchy, salty or perhaps you find yourself self-medicating with something sugary. There are also those who are eating in celebration, during office parties, Christmas gatherings or simply because “it’s the holidays”. This type of sugar over-consumption adds up quickly as it’s everywhere you go over the holidays. Whether it’s the multiple office Christmas parties, church gatherings, Christmas Cookies with the kids or the “spiked” Egg Nog nightcap. There’s one thing for sure-the sugar comes out in full force during the holidays.
Why do carbohydrates call our name, during good times and bad, when most people are aware that sugar can do a lot of damage to the body.
Sugar’s unique effect on mental health might offer you an explanation. Sugar stimulates a very strong dopamine release. Dopamine, your feel-good neurotransmitter is partly responsible for providing pleasure, motivation, and even learning (which is where the dangers lies as your brain “learns” the pleasure of sugar-and is often seen as playing a role in addiction. In fact, sugar has been found to be equally or even more addictive than the most addictive drugs including cocaine and heroine.
A 2017 study reported an increased probability of various mental disorders ( anxiety and depression) in men, and some evidence of periodic depression in both male and females who had a high intake of sugary foods and beverages. The challenge is managing blood sugars regardless of the holidays is complicated for most and it can be especially complicated but during the holidays BUT-that’s not an excuse-rather a call to action to take your health efforts to the max this season.
Strategies That Can Help You Avoid Holiday Blood Sugar Crisis
Don’t fall trap to a “it’s the holidays” excuse. I know everyone around you is partaking in the Christmas sugar rush-but that doesn’t give you an excuse to toss in the towel-if anything your commit may be the very thing they need to be inspired to take control of their health. Remember, you are not just doing this for yourself-you are improving you health to be a witness to those close to you! Now is the time to recommit to your detox diet in the weeks leading to the end of the year! Then, you can afford to indulge a little in our healthy deserts and be less likely to go crazy.
- Water….drink lots of water when you wake up and between meals. It’s quite common to confuse thirst with hunger. Symptoms of dehydration such as headache, fatigue, etc. are often mistaken for hunger. Plus, water will help you to feel full, sooner, which will keep you from over indulging.
- Eat fiber rich foods (green salads, stalk vegetables, etc.) first. The fullness fiber provides will help you to eat less, plus it can help move food through your GI tract efficiently which helps to stabilize/lower blood sugar and provide a food source for beneficial bacteria in your intestine.
- It’s not the tryptophan in the Christmas turkey making you feel tired, it’s all the carbohydrates! After your Christmas meal or holiday party leave the dishes, grab your shoes, and take to the streets with a walk or light run. The fresh air and movement will burn some of the sugar circulating in your blood, and you’ll feel more energized when you return home to tackle the cleanup.
- Wow your holiday guests with the approved desert recipes on www.AskDrErnst.com. These are curated to be grain less, ultra low carb and extremely tasty. Many clients/patients even report zero change in their sugar/ketone readings when indulging in these healthy sweets.
- Consider using Gluco-ENRG, a unique product in Dr. Ernst’s Eterna line of products. It contains a unique combination of nutrients known to support glucose and insulin levels by up-regulating the citric acid cycle and sugar metabolism in the liver. 1 tear packet daily can help your avoid blood sugar flux that is often seen during the holidays.