Without a doubt, this is the season of delicious food.
If you’re familiar with my style, you’ll know I take an ‘all foods fit’ approach to nutrition. I want you to balance great nutrition with satisfaction—which means you may be in recovery mode from a few too many holiday indulgences right about now.
If you’re feeling bloated after the holidays and you’re searching for the best way to detox… don’t! Read on to learn why you don’t need to detox after the holidays and 5 simple strategies to de-bloat without extremes.
Why you don’t need a detox after the holidays
Detoxes and cleanses come in many different forms:
- Tea detoxes
- Juice cleanses
- Supplement regimens
- Extreme dietary changes
- Colon cleansing (please don’t do this!)
After the holidays, you’re probably feeling bloated, sluggish and desperate for some relief. But the evidence to support these tactics is pretty much non-existent.
Your body comes with a built-in detoxification system! If you have a functioning liver, a healthy digestive tract, kidneys, and lungs, your body can filter toxins and recover from the occasional overindulgence just fine. And if you don’t, you’re going to need a doctor ASAP.
These extreme regimens have risks. Cutting out a thousand different foods may trap you in a never-ending cycle of bingeing and restricting. Reducing your intake to only liquids may put you at risk for nutrient deficiencies. And taking random supplements can put extra strain on your body. These tactics aren’t just expensive and ineffective—they can be dangerous too!
5 Safe Ways to De-Bloat After the Holidays
I want to help you feel better and find relief from your bloating and discomfort. But I promise you, a detox is not the answer! Here are 5 safe and effective ways to help you debloat fast.
1) Eat when you're hungry
Return to your normal eating routine as soon as you can. If you’re hungry for breakfast, don’t skip it! If you’re craving snacks between meals, don’t resist! And if you want to incorporate leftovers, that is more than okay. Skipping meals and slashing calories is extra tempting right now. But ignoring hunger is not sustainable and will only worsen your food cravings and increase your desire to binge.
2) Make balanced meals
Focus on building balanced plates as often as you can. Include high quality protein, vegetables, high fibre carbs and satisfying flavour at most meals (check out my free guide here). If you’re struggling with constipation, aim for 25 or more grams of fibre per day and drink plenty of water. And resist the urge to cut carbs—fruits, legumes and whole grains offer important fibre that’s especially important right now!
3) Eat fun foods in moderation
I highly encourage you to continue eating in moderation, just as you would before the holidays. Combatting overindulgence with deprivation may leave you polishing off a box of cookies by the week’s end. The key is to continue to balance nutrition with satisfaction every day so you don’t feel tempted to binge later.
4) Try low intensity exercise
Low intensity exercise, and especially walking, can help alleviate constipation, release trapped gas, and reduce bloat! If you aren’t currently active, add a 20 or 30-minute walk each day. If you’re already exercising regularly, consider swapping a day or two of high intensity exercise for something more gentle.
5) Drink lots of water
It’s always important to stay hydrated… but it’s especially important after an overindulgence! Drinking enough water will prevent constipation, help you recover from one too many cocktails, and reduce bloat from any excess sodium you’ve enjoyed. Each person’s fluid needs are different, so aim for 2-3 L per day to start. Your pee should be pale yellow!
The Bottom Line
The occasional overindulgence is normal, especially during the holidays! But debloating and getting back to feeling your best doesn’t have to feel like torture. Ditch the detoxes and try these 5 simple strategies instead. Your body, bowels and relationship with food will thank you!