Holiday Hangover Cure: 5 Steps to Getting Back on Track

Posted on 29. Nov, 2011 by in Get Motivated, Lifestyle, What to Eat

 If your last few days were anything like mine, then you woke up this morning feeling tired, sluggish, and for lack of a better term, a little gross.  Normally, I like to keep my cheats restricted to one day or less, but this Thanksgiving weekend got the best of me.  It started with homemade pumpkin and apple pie on Thanksgiving Day, and ended with spoonfuls of Nutella, cartons of ice cream, and plenty of beer throughout the weekend.  

I read recently that the average person consumes over 4500 calories over the course of the entire Thanksgiving Day.  While I wasn’t exactly counting calories myself, I think it would be pretty safe to assume that I surpassed my personal 4500 calorie quota (probably before dessert) not only on Thanksgiving Day, but likely came pretty close on the 3 subsequent days after.

I don’t tell you this to brag, but merely to show you that everyone gets off track every once in a while.  Perfection is never the goal and the quicker you realize that, the quicker you can forget about it and move forward.   When it comes to cheats, IT’S NEVER ABOUT HOW FAR YOU GO OFF TRACK.  IT’S ABOUT HOW QUICKLY CAN YOU GET BACK TO EATING GREAT AGAIN.

While I wouldn’t exactly call the past 4 days a quick recovery, I already feel better now that I’ve made that first step in the right direction again.  Whether you’ve been eating and drinking crap for the past 4 days like me, or you’re wondering how to even get started with a new diet in the first place, the first step is always the hardest one.   Once you commit to that initial decision to change, it won’t be long before your cravings for chocolate and beer turn into cravings for steak, sweet potatoes, and stir fried veggies.

There are even a few ways you can make this first step a little easier.  If you’re having trouble figuring out where to start, here are some quick tips that should get you back on track in no time.

 

1) Try Intermittent Fasting

There’s a good chance that your body is still processing all the crap you’ve been eating lately so there’s no reason to add more food on top, even if it’s healthy food you’re going for.  If you allow yourself to fast long enough until you are REALLY hungry, you will give your body proper time to recover, and you will be more likely to look for real food instead of mindlessly grabbing for more of the same.

 

2) Clear your house of any remaining junk

Want to know the biggest reason why it took me 4 days to get back to eating healthy?  Because I had all the unhealthy leftovers staring me in the face day after day.  Sometimes, it’s less about the foods you want to eat, and more about the foods that are most convenient to eat.  Get rid of the leftover pie and stuffing, and cook a few healthy meals in bulk so you will have no choice but to eat the good stuff.

 

3) Sleep

Sleep is the ultimate recovery tool.  Get to bed early and shoot for 9 or more hours per night until your body feels back to normal.  If a late night was your problem, feel free to take a nap or stay in bed until you’re feeling better.  There is no substitute for quality sleep.

 

4) Hydrate

If there is anything that sugar and booze are good at, it’s dehydrating your body.  Don’t bother with juice or coffee the next day, your body needs water.  Chug a glass or two first thing in the morning and you will feel better and hopefully make better food choices later in the day.

 

5) Move

There’s no reason to sentence yourself to an extra long workout as punishment for going off track.  What’s done is done, so you just have to do what’s best for your body moving forward.  Since its unlikely you’re feeling up for an intense workout, start small and just do something that requires you to move your body.   Go for a 20 minute walk, shoot some hoops in the driveway, or do some yoga on your bedroom floor.  We’re not looking to burn off your holiday calories in one workout, were simply looking to boost your energy and your mood so it’s easier to make better decisions moving forward.

The first step doesn’t have to be as hard as we try to make it, but a certain level of discipline is required to set ourselves up for success.  Next time you find yourself on the wrong side of a holiday binge, don’t be afraid to sleep in, drink a tall glass of water, go for a walk, skip breakfast, and cook a nice piece of steak as you throw your leftover pie in the trash.

I guarantee you will feel better by the end of the day.

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