Thursday, December 16, 2010

Why we gain weight over the holiday's...

A real fat-burning Christmas Party!
With Christmas only 9 days away, many people are right in the middle of Christmas Party Madness. That time when everybody and their brother has a family, work or just for fun Christmas party. 

But many people are almost afraid of this time of year. Why? Because it's that time of year when everything seems to go downhill with their nutrition program. 

But why is it that we do indeed gain so much weight at this particular time of year? Is it because we eat too much? 

Well, partially, yes. But that isn't the whole story.
As a country we are actually MAKING THE PROBLEM WORSE!! 

How can this possibly get worse you ask?
Well how many people are chasing the "low fat" options at these holiday parties? For that matter, how many foods actually even have ANY fat on them?

When we as a country realize that too much fat in food isn't what is making us fat, but instead it is too much sugar is what is causing us to gain weight!! 

Remember a few weeks ago when I talked about hormones and how they dictate how our body functions? Based on our exercise and food intake, our body responds by releasing hormones. When we eat high sugar or high carbohydrate meals our body releases INSULIN to get that sugar out of our blood stream and into our muscle cells and fat cells.

You see there is an optimal zone of functioning for our blood sugar levels. If our blood sugar is too high, then a massive insulin release occurs and we end up storing all this food as fat. If we don't have a high enough blood sugar, then our body goes into a type of "starvation mode" and our body will hold onto fat and instead use muscle and other proteins as fuel.

We want to be right in the middle. Like Goldilocks. Not too high, not too low, but juuuuust right!

So how can you find that "just right" blood sugar level at a Christmas Party??

Here are 4 simple guidelines:
MMMM...Can you taste the insulin yet?
  1. Look for meats at the party. Meat inherently has little to no sugar. As a result, you have a minimal insulin release while still getting plenty of energy and protein that INCREASES your metabolism.
  2. Avoid sweets. These are by definition loaded with sugar and going to send your blood sugar levels into "fat creation" mode.
  3. ABstain from alcohol consumption. Alcohol really isn't a great idea for anybody trying to change the way they look. But also, alcohol is broken down into carbohydrates and actually is a very simple sugar that increases insulin release. So you can imagine the carnage that ensues when you put booze and cupcakes together.
  4. Find the deviled eggs and veggie platter. For some reason everybody is afraid of deviled eggs. Perhaps its because they are creamy and taste like they are bad for you. But remember that they are almost entirely protein and good fats. So load up on those bad boys!! Also remember that veggies have a MUCH lower insulin response than grains that are found in cookies and other treats. So make it your goal to demolish the veggie platter!! 
So there are 4 simple guidelines to burning fat at Christmas parties! Enjoy the season, enjoy the time with friends and family, and remember the REASON we celebrate the day that is Christmas!

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