Holidays, weddings, reunions, birthdays, family gatherings and weekend getaways are all times where splurging on tasty treats and tossing a few back sounds absolutely perfect. There’s nothing wrong with letting loose and having fun. Sometimes though, we can take it a little too far and wind up sick or hungover. Fortunately, there are a few things that can help you get back on track!
1. Shake it off. If you’re feeling guilty about the weekends festivities, don’t. They’re in the past and you can’t change them. Beating yourself up won’t help anything! In fact, stress can increase the hormone cortisol. This hormone is sometimes referred to as “the stress hormone.” Although it is an important and helpful part of our body’s response to stress, it’s important that it not remain elevated very long, as this can cause a variety of ailments. Some of these issues include decreased bone density, higher blood pressure, lowered immunity, suppressed thyroid function and increased abdominal fat.
2. Tone it down. If partying hard has become such a habit you find yourself feeling unwell more than just occasionally, consider doing less of it. Your body will thank you.
3. Don’t panic. That extra five pounds you’re seeing if you step on your scale is likely just water retention. It’s unlikely that you put on five solid pounds of fat. Take a deep breathe and focus on the present.
4. Hydrate to flush out toxins. When people drink alcohol, they tend to crave high-fat and/or high-carbohydrate foods. These foods are also typically high in sugar and salt, which tends to cause water retention. In order to get rid of the extra water weight, you actually need to drink MORE water. That probably sounds counterintuitive… but look at it this way, our bodies are built to survive. When we aren’t drinking water regularly, our body clings to what little it has in order to keep our organs functioning and alive. Aim for around 8 or more glasses of H20 a day to help get rid of the water retention and flush out toxins.
5. Consume nutrient dense foods. More often then not, junk food is consumed when alcohol is involved. (Taco Bell anyone?) Eating fare that is high in vitamins and minerals will help replenish your body with the nutrients it needs to thrive. You may want to keep your carbohydrates relatively low for the first day or two, especially if you consumed a lot of them over the weekend. Fill your plate with lean protein, healthy fats, fibrous vegetables and a piece of fruit at one or two of your meals. The decreased carbohydrates will aid in reducing water retention. Start adding back in starchy/complex carbs like sweet potatoes and oats around the third day.
6. Supplement with probiotics, a multivitamin and an omega-3 supplement. The probiotics aid in intestinal health, the multivitamin helps fill in the micronutrient gaps in your meals, and omega-3’s help reduce inflammation throughout the body. Always check with your doctor first, before adding new supplements to your diet.
7. Last, but certainly not least. Work out! If you are reading this, you’re probably feeling crummy.. especially if you raged all weekend.. but even a brisk walk is better than nothing. Don’t let one weekend of fun set you back. It’s easy to allow a few wild days or nights be an excuse to quit altogether…. But by quitting, you’re only cheating yourself out of a healthy, fit, happy body. Don’t give up!
The take away? There is no need to go to extremes. Don’t starve, don’t go on some expensive or crazy detox, and don’t spend hours upon hours in the gym. Replenish your body with nutrient dense fare, drink plenty of water, exercise and don’t beat yourself up!