Congratulations! You survived the holiday weekend; it may have been a blast, but like many Americans you probably have put on some unwanted pounds and may be feeling fatigued and sluggish. While you can’t take back the calories from all the hot dogs and beer you consumed, you can take steps to get yourself back on track with your fitness and nutrition goals as fast as possible. The holiday weekend brings about a variety of bad habits which expose you to over-processed and refined foods, chemical additives, dehydration, and alcohol; all which can wreak havoc on your endocrine system and GI tract. By utilizing the tips below, you can quickly detox the body so that you can get rid of the bloat, start feeling better and get back to the gym as soon as possible.
Sun and alcohol are a recipe for dehydration. Alcohol decreases the body’s production of anti-diuretic hormone, which is used by the body to reabsorb water. With less anti-diuretic hormone available, your body loses more fluid than normal through increased urination. Additionally, being outdoors in the heat will cause you to perspire more which only increases the rate of dehydration. Following a day of fun and sun, make sure to rapidly rehydrate to help with a hangover, balance electrolyte levels, and bring plasma volume in the blood back to normal.
2. Low FODMAP Fiber Load
The acronym FODMAP stands for Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides and Polyols. These short-chain carbohydrates are incompletely absorbed in the gastrointestinal tract and can be easily fermented by gut bacteria. This fermentation by gut bacterial causes increased gas and fluid retention in the bowels which creates bloating. The foods you probably consumed over the holiday weekend were low in fiber and high FODMAP foods such as beer, sugar, processed meat, wheat or flour products, and dairy. These foods can not only promote gas and bloating but can also back up the GI tract with excess waste, causing constipation and further worsening the bloating effect. Focus on fiber loading with low FODMAP foods to detox the excess toxic waste in the colon while also promoting good gut bacteria to counteract the effects of food fermentation by the bad gut bacteria. Focus on eating vegetables and fruits such as: alfalfa, bean sprouts, green beans, bok choy, capsicum (bell pepper), carrot, chives, fresh herbs, cucumber, lettuce, tomato, zucchini, banana, orange, mandarin, grapes, melon.
3. Get Moving
You may feel terrible but a quick 20-30-minute session of low intensity cardiovascular exercise can knock your stress level down a few notches, increase circulation, and flood your body with feel-good endorphins. Additionally, the cardio session can help stimulate brain activity in the frontal cortex, the region associated with planning and long-term memory storage, as well as the parietal cortex. A quick session of cardio the morning after your holiday binge can get you back to a functional level so that you go to work feeling your best.
4. Cold Shower
Taking a cold shower in the morning may seem more horrifying than soothing, however, the deep breathing and shivering in response to your body’s shock helps keep you warm, as it increases your overall oxygen intake. Thus, your heart rate will also increase, releasing a rush of blood through your entire body.
Furthermore, you will probably be feeling slightly depressed after recalling all the terrible food you ate for the day, and an icy shower can help. Cold showers have been shown to relieve depression symptoms due to the intense impact of cold receptors in the skin, which send an overwhelming amount of electrical impulses from the peripheral nerve endings to the brain. This effect can boost immediately provide and antidepressant response by increasing energy and mood.
So while you may not be able to take back the poor nutritional decisions you made over the holiday weekend, you can do your best to feel better and get back to your health and fitness goals as fast as possible. Ultimately the success of any fitness and nutritional program is moderation and long-term adherence, so get back on the horse and move forward: the weekend is over and your health goals await.