As the new year approaches and 2012 comes to an end, we always seem to typically end the year off not as well as we start! Its weird. Oh wait, no its not! I can speak as a CrossFit Owner and Coach, our awesome members gave me so many sweets from peanut butter M&M’s, cookies, candy and all things that will decay the crap out of your teeth. It becomes habitual and its a pretty common across the board. I know that I am not too happy with the way I ended the year. I feel like shit after devouring morsel after morsel of sweets at those holiday parties. Yeah they’re delicious, duh… but your tend to not feel too good after eating it. Here is my first piece of advice when it comes to eating:
1.) Listen to your body. If you eat some awesome fruit and veggies, chances are you are going to feel pretty good after eating it (pending allergies and sensitivities) vs. eating the same in weight of high refined snacks and sugary foods. You might feel like how I feel; shitty.
2.) Label Up. READ WHAT IS IN YOUR FOOD. If you are going to eat something, the more ingredients in the food doesn’t make it better for you. It can actually be the opposite. For example, low fat peanut butter. Now, I love peanut butter, its amazing. Go all natural. All they do with “Low Fat” anything is take out some of the fat content and add in refined sugars. Yeah there might be a few less calories because Fat as a macro nutrient has a higher density of calories per gram (9 Kcal/g vs. 4 kcal/g in protein and carbs) but it doesn’t mean it won’t make you fat. If you didn’t know this, fats don’t make you fat. Sugar does.
3.) STOP EATING ALL THAT SUGAR. This really should be number 1, but I had to preface this. I’m going to give you the quick run down on sugar. Sugar goes into your body in the form of glucose (fructose and sucrose in some foods) and is converted in your body to glycogen. Pretty much, what you don’t use for energy (this is what calories are, a form of energy) will get stored in you liver and fat cells. Your liver can only hold so much Glycogen so it gets converted to fatty acids which is stored in your fat cells as fat. Now your fat cells whether you are skinny or fat are similar (just bear with me). Think of your fat cells as water balloons. Fatty acids, triglycerides etc fill up the cells, increasing the mass, making you look fat. Just like filling a water balloon up with water.
With elevated blood sugar, you body releases the infamous hormone insulin (the stuff type 1 diabetics inject themselves to manage blood sugar). What insulin does is transports sugar to your muscles to use for immediate energy. Energy is good! Wait, not in this case because what happens is the energy not used for the muscles is converted into fat and stored for later use.
Ready for the vicious cycle? OK here we go. After the sugar is stored, there is a feedback mechanism that tells your body “yo,  stop producing insulin”  is slightly delayed, so blood sugar levels fall even lower, below normal measurements. What does this do? An immediate increase in appetite, so you eat more (probably sugary stuff : ) )and the production of a stress hormone called cortisol. Cortisol triggers the release of stored sugar from the liver to bring blood sugar levels back up, which, combined with the meal you eat from your appetite increase, begins the entire “get fat” process over again.
Now, don’t get scared about this. Your body needs sugars to produce energy for the high intense exercise we do at CrossFit or for whatever life brings. The thing is, these highly refined, sugary foods can really influence this process in a negative way and cause your body to store more fat, not just superficially but the dangerous fat around your internal organs. So we have to make better choices come 2013 and from there on. Now, doesn’t it make sense why you gain some weight around the holidays? SCIENCE.
By : Michael Collette B.S C-PT CES
Owner/Head Coach CrossFit Prototpye