How To Recover From A Holiday Binge

When the holiday season has officially kicked off it seems that all of the focus on fitness and healthy eating goes right out the window and the holiday cookies come marching in. Between Thanksgiving dinners, office parties, Christmas festivities, and New Year’s Eve blowouts it’s easy to slump into a month of holiday binge eating. 

So if you want to avoid the annual holiday binge or try to avoid the temptation all together read on for our best tips to stay on track this season!

Curb The Impact Of A Holiday Binge

The main things you want to focus on when preparing for a holiday feast is to keep your glucose levels in check, hydrate, and eat with your digestive system in mind. With all of those things working together you can surely make it through this holiday season without the extra pounds and the extra guilt.

Skip The Boozy NightCap

It’s a bit of a tradition during holiday meals that after the feast is over the indulging continues with nightcaps of cocktails or coffee. Although alcohol may be one of the ways (or the only way) to get through family gatherings, drinking alcohol after a large meal is the last thing your body needs. 

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In fact, alcohol can pump the breaks on your body’s digestive process. Zurich researchers have found that having a drink with dinner, and especially after dinner, increases the amount of time your body takes to break down food. The biggest consequence of this is that the feeling of discomfort from a holiday binge will last longer.

Plus, holiday cocktails are known for their enormous amounts of added sugar, creating a recipe for waking up with both a sugar hangover and a hangover hangover. That’s a kind of torture that not even in-laws can inflict.

Water, Water, Water

One of the biggest helpers when it comes to recovering from a holiday binge is good ole’ H20. Your body is going to need all the water it can get because holiday meals are known for their high-salt and high-sugar profile, a great recipe for dehydration.

Not only can drinking water throughout the day curb overindulging at dinner time, but staying hydrated can also make the next day much more comfortable as it reduces bloating and the chance of constipation. 

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Also, if you really want to beat the holiday binging blues, you can drink sparkling water throughout the day which is proven to help relieve indigestion. Plus, herbal teas with ginger, peppermint, and fennel have been shown to ease that ‘I’m-so-stuffed’ feeling. In short, keep these liquids coming.

Fiber & Protein Make A Dream Team

In the days leading up to a big holiday binge and also the days after, it’s important to stick to a healthy diet consisting of lean protein and plenty of fiber. Having a hearty amount of fiber not only keeps your glucose levels steady but it also keeps your digestive system regular. These two things are important when you know you are going to overindulge. Simply because normal glucose levels mean you’re less likely to go on a binging spree and fiber keeps everything running smoothly. 

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Making sure you are eating enough lean protein is also important because protein is a great way to keep you satiated for a long period of time. Lean protein is great to incorporate because it takes a while for your body to break down helping you to feel fuller longer and preventing an extra serving of pumpkin pie. Starting your holiday mornings off with oatmeal topped with greek yogurt and a banana is a great way to get a one-two punch of fiber and protein before all of the festivities begin.

Stretch Your Legs

The mistake that many of us make after coming down from a weekend of holiday indulgence is to overdo it at the gym. However, doing that intense workout after taking a break from your regular fitness routine isn’t always the best idea and can actually hold you back from making real progress.

Burn out, injury, and discouragement can be very common if you hit the gym hard after a holiday binge. The most effective thing you can do however, is to slow slip back into your gym routine and give your body time to readjust. 

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You also don’t have to wait until you’re back to a regular schedule to get a start on exercise routine either. Light exercise like a long walk still burns calories, and most importantly, aids digestion and levels out your blood sugar.

Catch Some Sleep

We all know that a big meal looks a million times more appetizing if you are running on little sleep. Research studies show that lack of sleep can increase your appetite because it alters your hormone levels and throws off normal feelings of hunger.

You’re also more likely to crave unhealthy, high-carbohydrate and high-fat foods when you’re tired. This is why getting a solid night of sleep the night before the big holiday dinner is a great way to make better food choices and avoid a binge you might regret later.

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If your family festivities require you to travel or the stress of the holidays keeps you up a night, consider taking sleep supplements such as sublingual melatonin. A great little tool to keep in your back pocket to be well-rested for everything the holidays have in store.

Say Bye To Holiday Binge Guilt

With all of these tips combined, you are sure to tackle this holidays avoiding the post-binge guilt that usually comes with the indulgent season. Just remember to stay hydrated, rested, and keep eating nutritious foods that keep you feeling satisfied.

What has been your experience with indulging in holiday feasts? Do you have any tips to help recover from a binge that we didn’t mention? Sound off in the comments and let us know!

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Lesley George

Lesley is a content writer and community manager at Shape.
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Use our free guide to design your very own personalized nutrition plan.
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