Happy holidays, if you’re celebrating them.
You’re probably going to a lot of social gatherings and eating foods that are high in sugar and fat and some boozy drinks alongside with that.
I’m not here to give you a lecture on what you should and shouldn’t do over the holidays but I do want you to realize the holiday season for a lot of us began in November with Thanksgiving, continues through December and January due to Christmas and New Year’s and in most cases, extending to February, March with Chinese New Year and maybe even some vacation travel. That’s potentially 5 months of ‘holiday season’ – over a third of the year or almost half the year!
The sad fact is that our aging bodies are getting weaker at handling so much insult, and the liver is the first organ to buckle. It begins with a fatty liver because all that sugar and alcohol you consume has to be dealt by the liver. And when it becomes overwhelmed, it creates fat as a coping mechanism. When that fat accumulates in the liver, it starts the process of insulin resistance which I’ve written about in my previous blogs. That’s when your health really takes a tumble and becomes much harder to recover.
So, what is my suggestion?
Well, like all good answers – it begins with: “it depends”.
It depends what level you are at – metabolically speaking that is.
If you’re level 1, a lean-mean, everyday exercising machine with an upside-down triangular body shape, then you probably don’t need any advice – just keep doing what you’re doing. Enjoy your holidays, but keep up with your routines. You may not be making any gains, but you won’t suffer much loss that you can’t get back after the holidays.
If you’re exercising every now and then, with bouts of motivation mixed with periods of low motivation and can’t quite reach your fitness & body shape goals but not bad like some others you may know then I would be cautious during the holiday season.
You probably don’t have the daily healthy routines set in stone yet so it probably requires a lot of willpower to get you to the gym or not eat that deliciously unhealthy food choice which means the holiday season will provide enough social pressure to tip you over to the dark side. And because you’re not as metabolically robust as the level 1s, you will put on fat a little more readily and become more insulin resistant earlier.
If you’re level 2, try your best to pace yourself through out the holiday season. Pick and choose the parties to attend to that have the most impact (ie. closest friends and families), limit the amount of sugary foods you eat and limit the amount of alcohol you drink or don’t drink any at all. Seriously, all the desserts you eat PLUS booze really compounds the negative effects on the liver.
And get your ass to the gym as much as possible to give your body a chance to burn off all that excess sugar consumption.
If you’re level 3, you are probably already insulin resistant and don’t know it. You may or may not have a waistline-to-height ratio above 0.5 but your liver is already showing signs of fat in the health checks. You have no exercise routine and you eat whatever you like; and you probably drink too much too.
The holiday season for you is like the flat walking escalators in an airport that get you from point A to point B faster. And if you didn’t get my analogy, Point B is diabetes.
My advice for level 3ers is to stop drinking alcohol completely, don’t eat anything that is sweet and carbohydrate-heavy, and start moving progressively more and more. There are red flags popping up everywhere for you except you just can’t see them or choose to ignore them. This is a really slippery slope for you because there is a point-of-no-return where once you get diabetes, you will forever have it as it is a lifestyle disease that can’t be cured.
Not the most scientific approach to the holiday season but hope it helps some of you in making better decisions for the next few weeks! And as always, please feel free to reach out to me if you have any questions or concerns – happy to help others; especially during this season!