Monthly Archives: January 2012

What is a food coma and how do I prevent it?

After a big meal, all you want to do is lay on one of these.

 

We’ve all been there before. You have a huge meal; after, you are sitting there thinking “annnnd I don’t want to do anything.” You feel zapped of energy, you have no motivation to do anything. You pretty much become worthless, haha. A good example would be how you feel after a big thanksgiving meal. You probably ate enough calories for two days, in one sitting, and now you would like to sit or lay down for the rest of the year. After all, the new year would come up in a few weeks. You wouldn’t miss much, right?

 

Well, my friends, I will explain what happens when one gets a “food coma.” I’ll give you some tips on how to avoid it. If anything, at least you’ll understand why all you want to do is unbutton your pants and lay on your La-Z-Boy for the rest of your life.

 

This situation been happening to people for a long time. That’s why there is a scientific name for it. A food coma, or postprandial somnolence comes from eating big meals full of carbohydrates(sugars) and fats. When we eat, we stimulate our parasympathetic nervous system, which tells our body “yo, slow down, we gotta’ digest this here food, man!” When you eat a lot at once, your parasympathetic nervous system revs up even more because your body needs to focus more of its energy on digestion. Or, think of it this way. We only have so much energy. When we eat a lot, more of it goes to helping digest, therefore, less energy for life.

 

The reason why eating desserts and bread/pasta/starchy foods contributes greatly to this problem  is that these foods are quickly broken down into glucose (the body’s simple form of sugar) you experience a big attack of blood sugar in the bloodstream. When this happens, your body goes “HEY, WHOA, HEYYYY” and releases the hormone, insulin. Insulin helps clean up all the extra sugar in your bloodstream. When insulin increases, your brain releases serotonin and melatonin (chemicals in the brain that can leave you feeling sleepy). When you eat high fat foods, that also takes a lot of effort to digest.

 

Now you can see why having a huge meal, or one with high sugar/fat content is not a good idea before physical activity. Your body sends energy and blood to aid with digestion and that leaves you with little energy and high probability for cramps.

 

So what can you do to avoid food comas?

 

The most obvious prevention/solution is to not eat such huge meals at one time. Slow down, champ! Eating a lot of food at once, will always make this feeling more likely. Breaking up the same amount of food/calories/sugar but spread over different smaller meals, will produce less of a food coma. So, if you ate the same amount of food you ate at one big thanksgiving meal, in three different meals, you wouldn’t feel nearly as food coma-ish, as if you ate that all at once.

 

Also, slow down on the sweets and fast digesting carbohydrate foods (breads,pasta etc). The description above of what they do to your blood sugar is what is often referred to as a sugar crash.

 

Drink lots of water throughout the day, and during your meals. Water helps digestion. If you body takes energy and puts it towards digestion, then helping the digestion process will hopefully make it require a bit less energy to take away form the rest of you.

 

There you have it. A hopefully understandable description of the famous “food coma.” However, if you are tired all the time, or if you seem to feel this way no matter what, get checked out by a doctor. This is in no way meant to be a scientific article or medical post. Just info to help understand what so many of us have experienced.

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What would you like to see written about on FitMentality?

 

 

Helllloooo FM readers. I decided to open up the floor and see what you would like to see addressed on FitMentality. Topics like, “what supplements to actually take” “how to get rid of a headache” and the topic of flat abs/six pack were all inspired by situations that any wonder about.

 

This is the viewer’s opportunity to suggest topics. Depending on the topic suggestions, I will do the best I can to cover them and dedicate a post to the subject.

 

What should FitMentality cover next? Leave a comment here or on the FitMentality facebook page.

FitMentality facebook page!!! Doooo itttt!!!

 

 

Was that too much hype for one title? Ok, ok, my fault, my fault.

 

I’m just excited about the facebook page. Click on the FM logo below and head on over to the FM facebook page and click “like.” Updates, extra cool stuff, contests in the future and more!  Ahhhh, exclamation marks everywhere!! So excite!!!

 

 

 

Did you do it? Got distracted huh? That’s ok. Focus. Focusssss. Click on the link above and then on the subsequent webpage, click “like.” It’s so simple!

When you know it’s going to be a busy couple days

Let’s face it. When we know we have some busy days ahead of us, we rarely plan accordingly in regards to food. Just like you prepare for a long day of work or presentation, also think about preparing what you’re going to eat!

If anything, having long, hectic days, means you should especially control your nutrition! This way you will have energy and stay focused. Long, busy days can so easily turn in to not so great food decisions, if not prepared.

Here is an example of a time when I knew I was going to have a busy couple days, so I prepared food ahead of time. I ate other things in addition to this, but it was a good base. Yes, it takes time to prepare your food ahead of time. But, your body is worth it.

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This is just my example. Yours may look different. What does it look like when you prepare food ahead of time? Share with us! Post a picture of your example. Doesn’t have to be perfect. We learn from each other!

Quick and easy snack/part of a meal

 

 

Simple ingredients and simple preparation. That’s just how we like it.

 

When you feel like you are the only one trying to eat right

 

 

It takes a lot of hard work to get yourself to a place where you are consistently making smarter choices about the foods you choose to eat. Breaking not so great habits and making better ones, takes a great deal of commitment. It takes effort to turn down foods you know taste good, but aren’t good for you. This is why buying and making your own food is the best way to meet your nutrition/fitness goal. This gives you the most control over everything. You do what works for you and you don’t have to answer to anybody but yourself.

 

So it’s all good when we are home. We have total control. However, we have lives outside of our homes! Or, at least I hope so. If you haven’t left your house in years, ummmm, you might want to get some help. For most of us, we go out and live life all over the place. We spend time with family and friends. We travel, hang out, hang out while traveling. All throughout these great times we still have to eat! Whether at home or out in the world, we still want to keep up with our nutrition and fitness goals. That is where the difficulty can lie.

 

Sometimes friends and family don’t quite understand what our goals are, or why we have them. Sometimes people look at you like “why don’t you want to eat this?” When everyone is ordering up fried foods drenched in who knows what kind of sauce, you can feel like the weird one because you chose something on the menu that was of better nutritional choices. It can feel like an uphill battle, trying to eat right when no one else in the group seems to have similar goals.

 

I am here to support you! Fight the good fight. Even if you went out to eat with 100 people and you were the only one asking for a meal that was good for your body, that’s ooookay. It can be difficult being the only one going against the grain, but we need to remember, we are the ones in control of our own fitness. That meal will be over in an hour, and then everyone goes back to their regular lives. It feels really good to know you were able to stay on course, even if you had to overcome a bit of adversity. By adversity I mean, it can be tough to stay on track when you feel like the only one going through the trouble of understanding the menu enough to make a nutritionally informed decision.

Don’t be embarrassed to explain and maybe even educate others who don’t fully understand the choices you are making. You can explain about you goals and how that meal you decided skip would spike your insulin, therefore signaling your body to store fat. You can explain that you are looking to be lighter on your feet to perform better at your favorite sport or activity. When someone asks why you are the only one at the table who ordered water and everyone ordered soda, tell em! Chances are, you were inspired by someone to live a  fit life. Chances are also that in one of these previously described situations, you might be the one inspiring others to stay dedicated to their goals even when it’s not the most convenient thing.

I have been very lucky to have supportive family and friends. They have always been open to why I have made the commitments I have made. Even if at first my choices don’t make sense, they have been willing to hear me out, and that is all I can ask for. I encourage you, reader, to do the same. Support your friends who are doing the best they can do stay on course. Feel strong enough to follow your own path, even if you feel like you are the only one doing so.

 

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