Each year in November, families gather to enjoy a time of giving thanks as they enjoy a number of traditional foods. Many times, this meal can evolve into a feast of delicious dishes and treats that leave guests feeling almost as stuffed as the turkey they just consumed.
A Promise of Overconsumption
Traditionally, the Thanksgiving meal is accompanied by an expectation that the abundant meal will result in overconsumption. Because of this, the meal is often followed byinactivity such as sitting in front of a football game or escaping for a nap in an effort to “sleep off” the feeling of fullness. While many of us approach the holiday with the goal of eating reasonable portions, those thoughts can quickly go out the window in relation the sheer number of food choices at the table.
Causing a Ripple Effect
In the moment, it’s easy to justify overeating with the thought that it’s only one meal, but overeating has the potential to cause short- and long-term effects in the body. The short-term effects are something most of us are familiar with including bloating and gas. These symptoms can intensify further forthose suffering with GERD, triggering the production of excess acidic stomach acid, causing heartburn and regret long after the meal is finished.
In the long-term, overeating creates a ripple effect throughout the body, even into the nervous system. The first sign is tiredness, often blamed on the tryptophan in the turkey. But don’t single out the bird. The fatigue is more about the body’s need for increased blood flow to the digestive track to handle the mass of food consumed. In addition, the pancreas must work harder to remove excess sugar from the blood, the liver works to balance fats and cholesterol levels to detoxify the meal, and the heart must keep blood pumping to reflect the amount of work taking place in the body.
Prime for the Meal
For many of us, Thanksgiving will always be a day of overconsumption, but there are ways to prepare for the event that can lessen the chances of overeating.
- Participate in a Thanksgiving 5K run or walk prior to the meal
- Eat slowly and only eat the foods you really like
- Limit excess sugar and fat from the meal
- Take a walk after the meal to kick-start the
- Remember there will probably be leftovers and more opportunity to enjoy the meal again
The gastroenterology team at Aspen Mountain Medical Center offers a range of services from preventative testing such as colonoscopy to procedures targeted to correct injury and illness of the digestive tract. For more information about gastroenterology services at Aspen Mountain Medical Center, please call 307-352-8900.
At Aspen Mountain Medical Center, our simple mission is to serve the residents of southwest Wyoming, providing the best access to multiple specialties from a home base of Rock Springs. Our 13 unique specialty offerings include anesthesiology, family medicine, gastroenterology, general surgery, and gynecology, internal medicine, interventional radiology, orthopaedic, otolaryngology (ENT), pain management, pediatrics, podiatry and spine. Talk to your healthcare provider about scheduling a procedure at Aspen Mountain Medical Center, providing affordable and high-quality healthcare close to home.