If you spent most of December indulging in sweets, alcohol, lots of carbs, and heavy foods in general, you’re not alone. In fact, most people did. And that’s OK — spending a few weeks of the year eating foods you normally wouldn’t can be a blast.
But if we had to guess, we’d say you’re probably not feeling your best now. If words like “sluggish,” “gross,” and “jittery” ring a bell, your body is most likely reeling from all the not-so-nutritious food you filled it with. But getting back on track is a lot simpler than a green juice detox or logging hours a day in the gym.
But what should you eat, exactly, and what else can you do to start feeling like the best version of your happy self again? Here’s everything you need to know.
Make healthy, easy swaps.
About all those carbs you’ve been eating: as delicious as they may have been, they’re far from good for you. And you can make simple, tasty swaps that won’t leave you missing much. Instead of a bagel or cereal, have yogurt with nuts and fruits.
“Instead of a ham sandwich, have a salad of vegetables sautéed in olive oil, with walnuts and feta cheese,” suggests Dr. Roshini Raj, Lose It! advisory board member and board-certified gastroenterologist and internist. “And instead of a hamburger on a processed white bun, have salmon and tomatoes on an herby, bulgur wheat base.”
Cady suggests opting for real, whole foods whenever possible — and bonus points if those foods are anti-inflammatory, considering how much inflammation the holiday season may have brought on. And if it’s not too difficult, try cutting out sugar and alcohol for just one week.
“Go for fiber-rich and anti-inflammatory vegetables, fruits, healthy fats, and proteins,” she says. “Cut out sugar, alcohol, and refined carbs for a week and you’ll feel like a rockstar.”
And don’t forget about the detoxifying effects of plain old fashioned water. “More water will help flush out your system, relieve constipation, and give you that extra energy to hit your next cardio workout,” says Cady.
Move more — but be intentional about it.
No, you don’t have to log three hours a day on the treadmill just to make up for how much you indulged and how little you moved over the holidays. In fact, too much exercise too fast can spike your cortisol and make your body more inflamed than it already was.
Instead, try slower, gentler forms of exercise that will ease your body back in. If you don’t live somewhere too cold, a long walk or hike can be a great option. According to a 2011 study, people who walk in nature have significantly lower stress levels and lower blood pressure than people who walk in a city.
If nature’s not accessible to you, that’s OK too. There’s a reason so many people are obsessed with yoga: numerous studies show that yoga is an excellent antidote for anxiety and depression.
Great news: getting your body back on track doesn’t have to mean depriving yourself. Practicing self-care — whether that’s meditating more, getting more sleep, or both (we vote both!) — is an excellent way to get your body feeling better than ever.
Cady’s recommendation? Epsom salt baths. “I recommend soaks in an epsom salt bath to cut back on bloating, relax your muscles, and soothe your system,” she says. “Fun fact: epsom salts are actually magnesium, which has a great chill-out and anti-inflammatory effect.”
If you don’t have a bath tub, no problem. “Hit up a sensory deprivation float tank for 1,000 pounds worth of epsom salt detox bliss,” says Cady.
Load up on supplements.
Last but not least, supplements are most definitely your friend when you’re in detox mode. “A probiotic and digestive enzyme will help your gut and immune system get back on track and rebalance the good bacteria after any period of overindulgence,” says Cady. Need recommendations? Try Be Well’s probiotic caplets and probiotic powder.
Got all that? Good. You’ll be feeling like yourself again in no time.