‘Tis the season! The season when we do more socializing than at any other time of year. While it might be odd that we run ourselves ragged in December from one seasonal event to another, and come January, we wonder why we have nothing to do every weekend, at least the holiday season gets us out of the house and reconnecting with family friends and colleagues at least once a year.
But, as good as it is to do most of our socializing during the holidays, it’s not without its pitfalls. Not only are you meeting, greeting and dancing more than usual, but you’re enjoying all the food and drinks that go with it.
The good news is if you’re a relatively healthy person who usually eats a well-balanced diet and lives an active lifestyle, the effects of indulging during the holidays should be relatively easy to counteract. But that doesn’t mean you should go out their and gorge on food and drink at every opportunity.
For the rest of us, the extra partying, eating and drinking we do during the holidays can have a number of effects that we don’t consider before we indulge.
1. Weight Gain
First, one massive turkey dinner will not likely result in any permanent weight gain for anyone. And the ‘rule of thumb’ that 3500 calories equal one pound of added weight is simply not true.
But when you put together all the holiday eating and combine it with the fact that you may be less active as you interrupt your normal routine to a party, the extra eating and drinking can add some weight.
The extra consumption can put your body chemistry into overdrive as it scrambles to manage a huge load of food and energy. The easiest thing for your body to do is to store all the extra energy as fat.
The added pounds can affect your body beyond adding to your weight. Even just a couple pounds can add significantly the strain on your joints. Considering they handle 3.4 times your body weight in pressure as you walk, two pounds can be like 7 pounds, and that pressure increases as you dance or get more active.
2. Sleep Problems
Extra eating, late nights and, perhaps worst of all, alcohol consumption can interfere with your sleep. Not only does the lack of sleep make you groggy and listless the next day, it can further weaken your willpower to eat and drink in moderation. And that leads to more eating, more drinking, and even more sleep interruptions.
3. Increased Digestive Problems & Inflammation
How would you feel if suddenly you had to do three times your normal work, and you were being fed alcohol at the same time? That’s just about the scenario your digestive system goes through when you overeat and overindulge at holiday get-togethers. And sometimes it doesn’t react well.
Even if you don’t necessarily feel sick, it is still under strain. Research also suggests that overeating can trigger an immune response which can cause the body to generate inflammation.
4. More Work for Your Internal Organs
Not just your digestive system gets overworked when you overeat. Think about your poor liver and kidneys. Your liver must filter and metabolize all the extra nutrients and energy and your kidneys need to handle a lot more of the waste that’s left over.
“Everything in moderation, especially moderation”
As long as you’re safe, there’s no reason why you can’t enjoy every holiday festivity without worrying about any long-term effects. But just by knowing what those effects might be, it’ll help you keep your celebrating from bringing them on.