Party time - how bad is party food?
With a shift towards "fresh is best", it is not unusual to see amongst the platters of party pies and snag rolls a scattering of fresh fruit and veggie platters. This is great...not only for the kids but, most importantly, for the adults who, on many occasions, may be doing back to back parties, especially if there is more than one child in the family.
With more of our processed food containing Trans Fatty Acids and 'hormonal disruptors', also known as endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs), it is little wonder that after a weekend of playing taxi and event manager, with a nibble here and a nibble there, one can be left feeling like their wardrobe favorites are getting a little on the snug side.
The problem is that party foods are 'trigger foods' and they get the better of us by setting off what appears to be an irrational chain reaction that causes us to over-eat and binge. We see it in our kids with a 'sugar buzz', but what actually is happening to us?
These foods entice us in and once you start its hard to stop. They are almost addictive in nature due to the refined sugars and additives in many of them. We end up scoffing down one piece of cake, beating ourselves around the head with guilt momentarily and then lining up for another slice later. The dreaded 'leftovers' in the fridge can call like a bright beacon, and all the healthy stuff just won't scratch the itch...it's the cake once again and there it is waiting for you. The unfortunate result is weight gain and broken goals, dreams and seams!
SO HOW IS THE HARM DONE?
Zip Ripper #1
Trans Fats are such a main stream component of our food chain. They are found in margarines, biscuits, cakes, fried foods and processed foods, and it is easy to get a 'good hardy dose' of these without even trying. The problem is over the long term they interfere with your body's ability to ingest and utilise the good fats and they promote fatty body tissue to synthesize small amounts of testosterone and related hormones. Trans fats play a role in fuelling hormonal imbalances such as Polycystic Ovarian Disorder, Fibroids, Endometriosis, PMT, Menopausal symptoms, low libido and weight gain. They do this because they are 'hormone disruptors'.
Trans Fatty Acids contribute to an excess of insulin in the bloodstream.
Result? Ravenous hunger, low energy, light-headedness and mood swings. You then have to eat, and you crave carbohydrates to satisfy the hunger.
The long-term effect is lots of over-eating, and a total inability to generate growth hormone (which is only released in the absence of insulin). Without growth hormone, less muscle is created, so there is less of an opportunity to burn the fat! In this situation your body gears up for weight gain rather than balance and weight loss!
Zip Ripper #2
I don't want this to come across in the wrong way - but it is not uncommon for the odd glass of wine to be offered amongst the snag rolls.
But if you've decided to overhaul your life and become healthy, alcohol plays a significant part in sabotaging your waistline and any weight loss efforts. It's not just in the amount of calories in alcohol but the temptation to eat bad foods when you've had a few drinks.
Zip Ripper #3
I was chatting to a well loved patient of mine recently and we broached the topic of 'storm eating'. It's unconscious eating when you're strung out and stressed - it happens to all of us, especially when organising a kid's party. There is nothing like the night before and the morning of preparations...I think I'm still recovering from my daughter's last party! Storm eating is something we need to become conscious of. Why? Because it sabotages a weeks worth of effort within a matter of minutes!
Storm eating may be brought on by intense emotions that feel out of control. The most important thing to remember is not to judge yourself. Every 'storm eat' or binge is caused by a good reason. You need to be kind to yourself to find out what is going on. Try to observe yourself and understand why you are doing this.
PARTY TIME HEALTH TIPS
Making sure you have eaten before you arrive is also important - turning up to a kid's party ravenous is setting yourself up for failure!
You can always bring your own bowl of nibbles in a disposable bowl - just pop it on the table amongst the other stuff.
Finally, embrace the opportunity to be part of the party - party food is a tradition that should be embraced but moderated...what's a party without a little fairy bread!