The holidays are a wonderful time for overindulgence in all of our sinfully favorite things. Over the Thanksgiving long weekend, you likely enjoyed meals with family and friends that included savory salty appetizers, sweet alcoholic drinks, rich decadent foods, sweet irresistible desserts, perhaps more than one late-night party, followed by not enough sleep … sound familiar?
While this all feels wonderfully enjoyable at the time, afterwards, it can leave you feeling bloated, tired and guilty. But don’t despair! Here are four ways in which you can detoxify from the guilty pleasures of the holidays while still enjoying all those favorites.
Drink more water: Drinking water is good for you in so many ways, least of all it helps to satiate hunger. Drinking water before you go out, before and while you eat, and after you have had a few drinks all helps to keep you from feeling overfull and prevents you from getting a headache the next day. Keep yourself hydrated at all times, most especially over the holiday season.
Be mindful of sleep: Socializing is not the only thing that keeps you up late during the holidays. All of that last-minute shopping, cooking and baking into the wee hours, gift-wrapping or on-line ordering after the rest of the household has gone to bed, and social engagements that run far past your bed time are all culprits. But the hidden and worst culprit of all is stress, worrying about all of the aforementioned tasks getting finished in time and making sure you haven’t forgetting anything, or anyone. The holidays are one of the most common times of year that you throw off your circadian rhythm. And interrupting sleep patterns more than once within a short period of time makes it even harder to get back on track. The most important thing you can do is to get back to your regular schedule as quickly as possible, which includes getting up at your regular time as well. Take a nap during the first few days while you catch up on sleep, if necessary, but remember that optimum naps should only be 20-30 minutes in length.
Have a mental plan for mealtimes: While many elements of the holidays can be sources of stress for some people, something the majority of us have no problem with at all is overeating! The key to avoid this is to have a plan in place before you leave the house, so that you are prepared and subsequently you can enjoy yourself more, knowing that the repercussions will not be as bad had you avoided planning altogether! For example, before you head out to any big family meals or holiday parties, have a small snack at home first. Ideally, eat something with protein to help stabilize your blood sugar levels. When you arrive at your destination, indulge either before or after dinner, in other words, enjoy appetizers or dessert but not both. And during dinner, fill half your plate with vegetables. If you cannot fit too many starch carbohydrates on your plate, you will have no choice but to have a smaller serving. Healthy eating does not have to feel like punishment when done properly during the holiday season. And again, remember your water. Peppermint tea is a great after-dinner drink to prevent feelings of bloat or nausea from over eating.
Don’t skip out on exercise: Despite the business that comes with the holidays, you always have time for exercise. There are many ways in which you can incorporate fitness into your day, without necessarily working out. Doing things like parking far from entrances (shopping malls, your office, appointments, etc.) so that you have to walk farther, or taking the stairs instead of escalators/elevators, or even walking the dog a few minutes extra each night are subtle ways in which you can incorporate more movement into everyday life without it feeling like a burden on your tight schedule.
Most importantly, enjoy the holiday season! It is a cherished time of year and of all the things you celebrate, don’t forget yourself!