or most of us, the holidays are a special time of year that brings a unique kind of joy and of course lots of cheer. Food is abundant and the sentimental favorites like pumpkin pie, mashed potatoes, gravy and other rich foods can make you reach for the expandable sweat pants.
On top of all the scrumptious meals, stress is one of the most common reasons we turn to overindulging. Between crowded stores, traveling, and party planning it’s no wonder why we reach for the yummy holiday goodies.
It can be difficult to avoid holiday eating and “it does only come once a year”… right? While overindulgence is certainly more common during this time of year, overeating in general is a serious problem in America and associated with excess weight gain and increased health issues like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and type 2 diabetes.
So, how do we reduce stress and cancel out the effects of all the overindulging?
You may not want to hear this, but exercise is the magic solution! We’ve all heard that staying active is good for our cardiovascular system, lowering stress and elevating mood, but scientists have also discovered that exercise can counteract the above metabolic risks specifically occurring from overeating.
Research shows that people who consume an unhealthy diet but regularly exercise can increase their chances of preventing disease such as heart disease and diabetes. On the other hand, those who lack activity have an increased risk of developing these metabolic diseases. While researchers don’t completely understand why exercise has a protective role in the metabolic response, they do know that exercise regulates glucose levels, and decreases inflammation in fatty tissue.
Researchers also found that just one week of eating too much can cause people to enter a prediabetic state. That’s right, even an occasional binge session can have an effect, so it’s important that we stay active, especially during times of excess.
Here are some extra tips for recovering from holiday indulgence:
~ Be Mindful – Eat the things you really enjoy, but in smaller portions and ditch the high calorie foods that you could take or leave. Basically, if you don’t love it, then don’t eat it.
While it’s certainly understandable that many of us will enjoy and indulge this season, follow our tips and don’t be surprised when you’re able to fit back into your skinny jeans on January 1st!