Does your coffee break look like this?

Coffee-and-DonutsIf so, this reminder is for you.  As we are in the midst of holiday baking and parties with lots of sugary options, it is good to remember some important things about what all that sugar is doing to your body.

Every time you eat sugar, your immune system is supressed for hours afterwards.  That is especially important to know with all the crud going around right now.  It’s hard to get enough sleep during some of the busiest weeks of the year and to remember to wash your hands more frequently and keep up with your stock of hand sanitizer without making it even easier for those nasty germs to take hold.

Eating lots of sugar messes with your metabolism.  It sends a signal to your body to store fat, so those fat free candies find their way to your fat cells no matter what the package says.  Even things that aren’t normally fattening can become so when your body is primed to store everything.

Here’s a typical scenario.  You’re at an evening party and you’ve made healthy food choices thus far, even avoiding the special cookies brought in by a co-worker by hiding out in your office or decided not to eat until the party.  Your brain by this point is having a hard time continuing to make good choices because it is tired.  Exerting will power uses up energy in your brain.  By the end of the day, there’s not much energy left.  You cave… you know you do.  Then you sample one of everything and go back for seconds and thirds of the things you really loved.

There is a better way.  Here’s the same day but with a game plan.  If you know you’ll be having a big meal for dinner, eat 10 to 15 grams of protein every 2 hours throughout the day focusing on lean meats and veggies.  Have a salad with chicken for lunch.  Drink lots of water throughout the day.  Then when it comes time for your dinner, you’ve kept your blood sugar level and won’t store all that food you eat for dinner as fat.

If you are heading out for a party where the focus will be on dessert, have some fruit with breakfast and lunch, eat lean protein for snacks and drink plenty of water throughout the day. Have some good quality fats with your dinner.  You will go to your party with your body feeling happy with your food choices, not desperate to hold on to everything you put into your mouth.  You’ve made your food choices ahead of time so didn’t need to exert brain power to decide whether or not to eat something.  Plus, since you didn’t starve yourself all day, you’ll be more likely eat just what you really enjoy.

Just as importantly, when you do get to your party or dinner, enjoy it.  This will be a lot easier to do if you’ve followed your game plan.  And be aware that guilt can add those unwanted pounds just like pound cake.