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It would be ideal to stick to your healthy routines through the holidays. But let’s be honest: who wants to give up on all the holiday goodies? Not most of us! So, go ahead, enjoy food, family, and friends, and then check out these tips on how to get back on track after the holidays.
Even when we’ve successfully skipped out on the butter rolls, there’s still the pumpkin pie to deal with. The holidays are a time of celebration, after all, so don’t beat yourself up too much if you overindulge a bit.
The key is to get back on track immediately, instead of letting your holiday eating habits drag over into the new year. Here are some ways to recover from those big holiday meals.
How To Get Back On Track After The Holidays
1. Stay Hydrated
After eating a lot (and maybe even drinking something alcoholic), we can get really dehydrated. That turkey is saltier than you think!
The best way to get your digestive system back on track and reset your normal hunger levels is to make sure that you’re drinking plenty of water. When we’re thirsty, we can confuse that feeling for hunger. And when leftovers are right there staring you in the face, it can be hard to turn away.
Carry a water bottle around with you and sip throughout the day to flush out your system. If you feel hungry between meals, try drinking a glass of water and waiting twenty minutes or so to see if the feeling subsides.
2. Get Moving
There’s possibly never a less interesting time to jump off the couch and hit the gym than the morning after a giant meal when it’s cold outside and there’s family around to hang out with. You should do it anyway because it’s seriously going to make you feel better at the moment as well as in the coming days.
Getting your body moving will not only burn calories and keep your metabolism stoked, but it will move fluid from the body if you’re holding any salt swelling. It will also keep your digestive system moving things along.
If you’re lacking in motivation, try challenging your most competitive sibling to a race. Even a 15-minute run or a yoga session in your living room is going to be better than nothing.
Taking a walk immediately after eating a large meal might help even more. Some studies have shown that getting up and moving while your food is digesting can decrease the triglyceride concentration in the body. The triglycerides are the type of fat that your body stores for energy, so a simple walk might be able to cut the amount of fat your body holds onto. That’s a pretty easy way to combat a growing waistline and encourage healthy digestion.
3. Eat Clean
Just because there are enough leftover cookies in your house to last until February doesn’t mean you need to be living off of them.
Better yet, give some away if possible! Indulging for the holidays should really only be on and around the immediate days that are actually holidays. All of January doesn’t count. Skip the high sugar and high carb dishes and move onto the lean proteins and fiber-filled fruits and vegetables to keep you feeling full. It’s not that cravings don’t hit when you’ve already had a healthy meal, but they are a lot less likely to.
Skip anything that’s hard to digest which can slow down your gastric emptying.
Avoid the booze if possible, go light on caffeine, and skip the dairy products, and anything too acidic. To handle your leftovers, pack food into single serving sizes to make it easy to grab (and limit how much you eat)
Freeze anything that you’re not going to eat right away to make them last longer, but also to get them out of your face. You don’t want to feel pressured to finish that dish just because it’s going to go bad if you don’t.
4. Get Enough Sleep
There can be a lot going on during the holiday season, but fitting in some time to catch up on sleep is crucial.
When we’re sleep-deprived the body actually puts out the hormone ghrelin to encourage you to eat and give it some more fuel to turn into energy. As it increases the ghrelin it decreases the leptin which usually helps to curb your appetite. Over time your blood sugar levels can be harder to stabilize.
If you’ve ever felt that insatiable depth of hunger after a night of little sleep, then you know the feeling too well. The only way to combat this change to your body chemistry is to give the body what it really needs: shut-eye.
There’s no use beating yourself up over eating more than normal or skipping the gym for a few days: what’s done is done.
Keeping calm and focused on getting back on a regular schedule is the most efficient thing you can do anyway. In fact, feeling guilty can actually reinforce the behaviors that we consider “bad” and actually make it harder to turn down the brownie. Just decide its time to get back on track, be grateful for the food and good times that you had, and just keep it moving.
Do you find yourself bouncing back easily from the holidays or are the winter months always a little off track? Let us know what you do to stay feeling good and like yourself throughout the bust holiday season!
I usually indulge but in a moderate manner so I don’t have a big post-holiday weight gain to deal with. I think this is a good happy medium rather than depriving myself or totally pigging out.