Why is it you feel so sleepy after Thanksgiving dinner? Is the turkey really the guilty party? Who is the true culprit of the lethargic feeling experienced after a heavy Thanksgiving dinner? Is it just an act to get out of dish duty?
Let’ so start with the facts: We know Turkey contains L-tryptophan, an essential amino acid with a documented sleep inducing effect- a natural sedative. The body cannot produce L-Tryptophan; we have to get it and other amino acids from food. L-Tryptophan helps the body produce niacin, which assists in the production of serotonin, a chemical that acts as a calming agent in the brain. So it sounds like the turkey is the guilty party after all, however, it is not. L-Tryptophan only has those effects if it is taken on an empty stomach, without other amino acids or protein.
So why is it we desperately want to conk out after a heavy thanksgiving dinner if it’s not the turkey? I suppose the word “heavy” may be the key here. Thanksgiving dinner is heavy and high in carbohydrates, as well as fats. Carbohydrates fuel the pancreas to emit insulin, which causes amino acids to battle L-Tryptophan and causes it to leave the bloodstream and enter muscle cells, which in turn amplifies the concentration of L-Tryptophan in the bloodstream. Serotonin is synthesized and you begin to feel sleepy. Fats take a significant amount of energy to digest, which also results in fatigue. If you throw alcohol into the mix you are going to intensify the feeling even more.
Ever notice it’s hard to keep our eyes open once we haven’t been able to keep our mouths shut? Oh, for the sofa…just a little nap. We really should have exercised some restraint, but the only thing we give our bodies Thanksgiving Day is a digestive workout. And instead of stimulating us, we poop out. Even conversation seems an effort. All the food may explain the “food coma” many people experience after a big meal (and beyond.) Although popular wisdom holds that Thanksgiving drowsiness is caused by L-Tryptophan, it has been shown that the amount isn’t significant enough to affect most people. The culprit is food fatigue.
Whether you’re a breast man (or woman), leg man (or woman), heck, even a wingman (or woman), there’s something you all have in common. People are eating earlier not to digest their turkey parts and hordes of trimmings, but to ingest more football, a tried and true part of the Thanksgiving tradition. But this is merely a sitting sport for the overly indulged. Hour after hour of not moving except to stand up and scream at appropriate moments in the game. Something is wrong here. The players are out there running across the middle and pushing their bodies to the limit. No way around it, though, binge watching is a derelict distraction from getting the exercise you should be getting. And binge watching doesn’t burn calories. Sorry.
NO PAIN, NO PIE
The only thing that is going to help you get back on track, is getting back to exercising. How to start? Don’t go anywhere near a scale or mirror. Ever seen a python after it’s swallowed an animal? Sheer terror. Next, don’t fast. Fasting after binging raises the risk of triggering a binging-fasting cycle. Fasting can make you hungrier so that you subsequently overeat. Also, fasting could alter your metabolism so that you do not burn as many calories as you normally would, since fasting may make the body think that it should conserve energy. And don’t binge exercise. Enough with the excess.
Start by just moving. Then ease into resuming your regular exercise program.
This is the smart way to go. But we live in a frantic world of the exercise-obsessed.
At Crunch gyms across the country Thursday morning, dozens of eager exercisers will turn up for the Turkey Burn N’ Firm Ride, a 75-minute workout combining spinning and Pilates-based abdominal work. For others, it’s an early bout of tortuous kick-boxing. Pre-Thanksgiving workout feasts are filling up faster than anyone could fork in the food. And morning-after classes are as brutal as the previous days’ merciless and voracious sprees. It’s as much a mental thing as a physical thing. It takes an hour on the elliptical to burn 365 calories, but only five minutes to eat a piece of pumpkin pie with the same calories. Manic Thanksgiving exercisers are doing too much math.
ONE THING MOST PEOPLE NEVER EXERCISE AT THANKSGIVING IS RESTRAINT. THEY EAT. GO FOR SECONDS. SCARF DOWN WHATEVER THEY WANT WITHOUT RESERVE OR THOUGHT. AND THEN THEY PAY FOR IT. THEY FEEL LIKE A TRUCKLOAD OF FROZEN TURKEYS HAS RUN THEM OVER AND THEY CAN BARELY MOVE. THEIR GUTS ARE IN TURMOIL. THAT’S THE POINT WHEN THEY SHOULD MAKE AN APPOINTMENT TO SEE DR. STEPHEN A. GOLDSTEIN, M.D, F.A.C.S. AT DENVER HORMONE HEALTH. THE CULPRIT TO YOUR INTENSE DISCOMFORT MIGHT NOT JUST BE MILE HIGH PLATES OF FAT AND CARBS YOU’VE CONSUMED. IT COULD BE THAT YOUR HORMONES HAVE GONE ROGUE. DR. GOLDSTEIN IS THE BEST WAY TO FIND OUT. HE HAS YEARS OF EXPERIENCE AND EXPERTISE IN BIOIDENTICAL HORMONE REPLACEMENT THERAPY, A NATURAL WAY TO MAKE SURE THE HORMONES IN YOUR BODY ARE SENDING THE RIGHT MESSAGES TO YOUR CELLS TO DO THE WORK THAT KEEPS EVERYTHING IN YOUR BODY WORKING RIGHT. WHEN YOU MEET WITH DR. GOLDSTEIN, HE DOES A COMPREHENSIVE EVALUATION. THEN WITH SIMPLE TESTS, HE CREATES A TOTALLY UNIQUE TREATMENT PLAN TO GET YOUR HORMONES BACK ON TRACK. PART OF THAT PLAN ALSO INCLUDES GETTING BACK ON A HEALTHY EATING PLAN AND EXERCISING MORE. EXERCISING IS EQUIVALENT TO PRESSING A BUTTON TO LAUNCH THE HORMONES THAT HELP YOU FEEL GOOD. AND FEELING GOOD IS HIS GOAL FOR EACH AND EVERY CLIENT.
SO MAKE AN APPOINTMENT TODAY.
AND DON’T JUST THINK OF IT AS FOOD FOR THOUGHT!