I don’t know about you, but this holiday season became a little indulgent for me. Between traveling, family, holiday parties and the surplus of cookie drop offs I ate and drank far more than my share. Now that we’re all feeling puffy, lethargic and a few pounds up, it’s time for a jump start to get our bodies and our minds back on track. Cleanses and detoxes are super common this time of the year, but a simple jump-start is really all we need. Follow along with these steps for the next two weeks to get back into your healthy habits and feel a whole lot better.
It’s time to cut out the junk. This means candy, cookies, processed food and both artificial and natural sweeteners. Your pancreas has been working double time secreting insulin every time you ate some sugar-laden treat. This spike and then drop in blood sugar that the insulin response causes will make your energy levels yo-yo and your body hold on to unwanted body fat. Give your body a break and focus on complex carbohydrates, which will give you sustained energy instead (think sweet potatoes, rice and whole grains.) Ridding your body of simple sugars may make you feel extra tired at first, but after about a week your body will thank you with more energy, clearer skin and a drop in the scale.
Holiday parties were reasons to throw back a few cocktails, but now they are over. Make a commitment to drink less (or not at all) for the next two weeks. Alcohol decreases our body’s ability to burn fat and also messes with the quality of our sleep each night. Cutting booze will also give your body a chance to naturally detoxify itself, letting your liver have a rest.
Now that you’ve got rid of the bad stuff, it’sa time to put in the good stuff. Focusing on getting as many leafy greens (and as many veggies as possible) is the best way to cleanse your system. Make sure you’ve got at least two big salads in your diet each day and you could even go as far as incorporating one to two green juices or smoothies to pack in extra. The nutrient dense punch without the caloric surplus will leave you feeling leaner and much more energized.
After eating badly, not sleeping and dehydrating ourselves with alcohol our bodies crave water like no other. This is a lot of the reason our skin gets so lackluster and may break out after the holidays. Give yourself a challenge to drink a gallon per day for the next two weeks. Start each morning with warm lemon water for a little daily detox and continue to chug fresh water all day long. Your skin and the rest of your body will thank you.
The holidays usually leave us sleep deprived and sleep deprivation leads to sugar cravings, grumpy attitudes and weight gain. Basically the more tired you are, the less willpower you have to make healthy decisions. Schedule your bed time each night so you can make sure to get a solid 7-8 hours of sleep.
To me this is the most important part of any detox or jump-start plan. Exercising in some fashion everyday will rid your body of the excess water its holding, get blood moving and make you feel better overall. Start slow if you’ve taken a decent amount of time off, but make sure you find a way to sweat 6-7 days a week for 2-3 weeks to get your body back to pre-holiday shape.
Make sure you are eating a good balance of protein, healthy fats and complex carbohydrates. The worst thing you can do is go on a deprivation diet and skimp on calories after the holiday. This is the time when your body needs nutrients more than ever to heal all the damage you’ve done over the last month.
Getting over the holiday slump isn’t always easy but taking at least one of these steps if not all of them will help you feel better. On a final note, don’t guilt yourself for what happened during the season. The time spent with friends and family is always worth it.