There’s no denying it: Thanksgiving and other holiday meals and treats are almost too good to avoid.
So … you might have indulged a bit. And with that, maybe you feel a little bloated or sluggish.
The good news? It’s all normal.
Rich foods can disrupt our normal digestion, and even leave us feeling like we’ve gained tons of weight (when we most likely haven’t). These tips will help you reduce some of that bloat, water weight, and inflammation to get you back on track.
Tips To Get Back On Track Post-Holiday Feasts
1. Up Your Water and Potassium Intake
One of the reasons we feel a little “puffy” during the holidays typically has less to do with gaining tons of fat (you’d have to be eating above your normal calorie requirements consistently) and more to do with water weight.
If you’re used to eating pretty clean, with a lot of fresh, whole foods like veggies, avocados, wild meats, etc … your body is likely accustomed to eating a normal to below average amount of salt.
Typical holiday meals, especially if ingredients are coming from canned and boxed foods, traditionally contain much, much more sodium than fresh foods. And, sodium is the master at helping your body retain water!
This is why drinking extra water can help “flush” water weight: you’re essentially helping to flush excess salt.
Eating more potassium-rich foods can also help restore some balance to your sodium intake, so focus on consuming more leafy greens, fresh fruits, and veggies alongside your water intake.
2. Hit Up The Sauna
As many of you know, I’m a huge fan of infrared sauna for recovery (check the benefits here). The good news is that infrared sauna sessions are also good for another type of recovery: diet recovery!
For similar reasons that drinking extra water can help flush out excess sodium, saunas can help flush excess water and salt out through your sweat. Now, this doesn’t mean you can eat crappy foods and simply sweat it out afterward, but it does give your post-indulge “detox” an extra boost.
Infrared saunas also boost circulation and elevate your heart rate so that you get a little extra burn in.
3. Limit Sugar
Cookies and pies, ohhh my. They taste great and they give us a surge of holiday nostalgia … but they’re also laden with sugar.
A once-in-a-while indulgence? Sure. Too much sugar over the long run, however, can result in inflammation (which can give the appearance of weight gain) as well as fermentation in your gut (hello, bloating). This is because sugar has pretty toxic effects on your body, including feeding various bad bacteria that live in our gut but are normally kept under control. Not to mention, it can also do a number on your immune system.
Try eliminating added sugar for a bit while you’re getting back on track. Stevia is an awesome natural sweetener to add to coffee and whatnot, while raw honey in small amounts is also fine.
4. Work Up A Sweat
Getting back in the gym (or just getting moving) is going to help tremendously with getting back into your routine. It might sound obvious, but typically, it’s difficult to start working out intensely again after the holidays, especially if we’re feeling sluggish!
My advice? Get back in the ring!
5. Add In Some Yoga Movements And Mobility Work
If you’re feeling a little “backed up” (you know what I mean), adding in some yoga movements and mobility work can help loosen up your body and “get things moving.” Specifically, yoga movements with twists and inversions can help massage your digestive organs, encouraging movement. Check out various poses here.
Mobility work can also provide similar benefits, while also loosening areas of tension, possibly allowing fluids to flow more freely, which can also have a “flushing” effect.
7. Add In Ginger, Peppermint, and Magnesium
Ginger and peppermint are awesome for digestion, helping to soothe irritation, reduce inflammation, and encourage digestive enzyme production (which helps break down food to reduce bloating). You can have them as a tea, or even add them to smoothies.
In addition, magnesium is a mineral the general population is deficient in due to depleted soils. It helps relieve stress, as well as encourage smooth bowel movements, and can even help improve performance by improving muscle contractions.
The Bottom Line
Sometimes we indulge: so is life! The important thing is to get back on track with a healthy lifestyle after the holidays.