Part of our weekly Fitness Friday series.
I don’t know about you, but I stuffed my face this Thanksgiving. Turkey, gravy, potatoes, Yuengling, sweet potatos, pork, gravy, stuffing, pie, coffee… another round… food coma set in after that.
I’m guessing, all-in-all, it was at least 3,000 calories (probably more like 4,000). And is was so good. Gluttony really is underrated. So said my brain, anyway…
My body, on the other hand, wasn’t a big fan of this treatment. I’ve been training a lot, eating much smaller portions (have probably halved my average daily calorie intake over the last 6 months), and my system simply isn’t accustomed to this kind of binging anymore.
That got me to thinking, what are the effects of stuffing one’s face? As great an experience as it can be, it can’t be that good for us, right? Nope, it’s not.
So for those of us who enjoyed Thanksgiving a little too much and still have the rest of the Holiday season’s eating ahead of us, here’s some food for thought. Keep it in the back of your mind as you proceed into the next 4 weeks of gluttony.
THE WAY WE FEEL: That headache that set in about 4 hours after stuffing my face? Yeah, that’s one of the symptoms of overeating – especially when your body isn’t used to it. Nausea, feelings of heaviness, bloating, etc. are all immediate symptoms as well; but you probably already knew that round about the 4th Quarter of the New England game, eh? Do you enjoy feeling like that? Yeah, me neither. Remind yourself of that feeling before your next feast. Eat accordingly.
THE HABITS WE CREATE: Eating is an emotional and chemical habit. In other words, food is a drug. Sounds weird, doesn’t it? Since food is a drug, it’s one of the hardest parts of life for us to exhibit self-control over. That’s why when we eat too much, our bodies crave increasing amounts of food. And when we enjoy eating increasing amounts of food our bodies literally become chemically addicted to increasing amounts of food. Pretty much like any other kind of drug. On the flip side, when we reign in our appetites it becomes increasingly easier to watch what we eat. Habits begets habits. True, you’re not going to pack on 10 pounds from one meal, but you can easily pack on 10+ pounds from all the meals over the holiday season and, come January, your body is still going to be craving what its been getting. By that point it’s going to be an awfully hard habit to break.
THE EXAMPLES WE SET: Question: who else was at Thanksgiving Dinner with you this year? Your kids? Your spouse? Nieces, nephews, cousins? How many times have you had that second or third piece of pie because, “what the heck, if everyone else is eating that much I might as well too!”? We take our cues from each other, which means that friends and family take cues from you. Be a good example. Limiting yourself to one celery stick might be a bit over-the-top, but eating good food in moderation is probably a good example to be setting for those around you. Especially for your immediate family.
Ben Murphy, founder of The Father Life, is an Adventure Athlete, Writer, and Wellness Advocate who used to be obese. You can ask him your questions at www.BenMurphyOnline.com. He lives in upstate New York with his wife and three daughters.