Holding Steady This Holiday Season

Energy Crashes During The Holidays?

When you think about the stretch of time between Halloween and New Year, do you get a little anxious about that upcoming feeling you get at the beginning of January? The new year hits and negative feelings over the past month’s indulgences pop up. Here’s how to navigate the extra available ultra-rich foods, without eliminating them. A guide to holding steady throughout this holiday season. 

What I didn’t realize about sugar crashes, is that they are responsible for a whole host of negative side effects. Not just the typical headaches, fatigue, and dehydration. It turns out, a quick or significant spike in your insulin leading to a drop in your blood sugar can be responsible for many negative side effects. For example, anxiety, brain fog, depression, cravings, skin irritation, inflammation, and weight gain. 

Have Your Cake and Eat It Too.

I used to blame bread, dairy, sugar, and alcohol for my crashes and hangovers. These are the exact foods you find readily available throughout the holiday season.  

Through monitoring my blood sugar I have learned that just consuming a specific food group does not equate to a crash, not to mention a hard-to-break cycle of food/crash/food/crash… Also, with monitoring I found I do not have to cut these foods out to keep steady in my energy and health goals. 

Strategies to Maintain Energy Levels

These are the strategies I use to help maintain my energy when I need it most. Think, less anxiety around those holiday gatherings, more energy to host family, and a general all-around steady mood and energy.

  1. Create a fiber barrier in your stomach. Leading up to a meal, eat some veggies. You can do this up to 2 hours ahead of an insulin spiking meal (for me, a carb heavy meal). I envision making a little nest in the stomach to capture and meter out a high glucose load getting absorbed through your stomach lining. 
  1. Start your meal with healthy fat and/or lean protein. Your stomach lining is already primed with the fiber barrier, now help deliver the foods that can spike your blood sugar with some fat or protein enforcements. This further slows down the absorption of glucose. 
  1. If you’ve got your eye on something sweet try to time it after you have had your meal. If that is not possible, before the treat, a tablespoon of vinegar will also help flatten any glucose spiking curve and drop. The vinegar helps to activate your muscles acting as a sponge pulling in the extra glucose. Vinegars to use include apple cider, white, vinaigrette, any vinegar without added sugar.
  1. Move after your meal! Walk, do the stairs, get some squats or burpees in. Again, you are aiming to activate your muscles which will help set off the glucose load in your bloodstream by pulling it into the activated muscles for energy. Once the muscles pull on the glucose available in the system, there is less extra glucose that will be stored as fat.  

I’ll Just Wait For the New Year

A lot of conversations this time of year with my nutrition clients start out with, I will just wait for the holidays to pass and then get on it! Typically they are referring to losing a few extra pounds. I will say these steps above may not lead to immediate fat loss, especially if you are using them because more food is in your days. These strategies will help you feel really good. Feel good about the conscious choices around food, maintain a higher energy level, aid in a stabilized mood, create better quality sleep with fewer crashes (avoiding night sweats, dehydration, and elevated resting heart rate). That alone is a very solid base to whatever goals may come after things settle from the holidays. 

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