At this time of the year, it can be especially difficult to lose weight and adhere to a diet! Research suggests that the typical attempts that might normally work, such as tracking food and being accountable to others, can backfire. So, if you find yourself waking up the morning after indulging with a sugar hangover, or feeling like you have a food-baby in your belly—don’t beat yourself up. Remember, you are human—and we all overdo it from time to time.
Here are three simple ways to clean out your gut and hit the reset button after indulging.
How to Get back on track after overindulging:
1. Don’t starve yourself. You can’t subtract what you ate yesterday by going cold turkey today. Plus, you might put your body on calorie-save mode if you try to ignore all signals of hunger. Anything drastic “tells” your body to go on freeze mode, and then when you do finally give in and start eating the chances are good that you’ll find yourself overdoing it at the next buffet or party. Ditto on thinking you can head out to the gym or for a run and burn off everything you ate yesterday. We’re biologically set up to stop any attempts at starvation. Don’t do anything that feels like a punishment. It won’t help. Instead, look at today as an opportunity to self-nurture and get back on track by taking a pleasant walk and doing the detox (in the next step)! Then, go back to eating moderately.
2. Do Detox with a Smoothie. While I don’t recommend any sort of severe fasting, the day after overindulging is a great time to use smoothies to hit the reset button on your gut. Smoothies are easy on your digestion, they ease the bloating and discomfort leftover from an overzealous night of imbibing and partaking in adult beverages and heavy, rich sugary and salty foods. This smoothie is designed just for de-bloating. It contains celery, which is full of minerals that aid digestion and high in water to hydrate; green apple (including the skin) contains fiber that will help you clean out your system; lemon, which is a natural detoxifier and acts as a cleansing agent on your gut; and cucumber because they contain quercetin, an antioxidant that helps reduce inflammation. You can have this smoothie for breakfast and lunch the day after, and then eat a light dinner of steamed veggies and fish (hold the carbs, grains and heavy protein).
3. Don’t Diet, but Do Plan Ahead. A better strategy during the holidays may be to maintain weight and healthy eating, rather than put yourself on a strict and unrealistic diet that is self-sabotaging. However, when the next engagement shows up on your calendar, spend a little time playing the tape all the way through. This is a common adage popular in the 12-step recovery community that you can use to help you stay on track with healthier eating in the future. It’s also a way to use your last fall “off the wagon” as a helpful reminder. If you are getting ready to head out to yet another event, pause and reflect on how you felt the day after you overdid it. Not in a “beat-yourself-up kind of way,” but as a gentle reminder that you have choices, and food is ultimately information for your body. Plus, what you eat will tell your body—and you—how to feel the following day!