If there is ever a time for a “cheat meal” (or weekend in some cases), it is Thanksgiving dinner. All good things come at a price, and for most of us the indulgent meal results in feeling bloated and sluggish, irritable, and perhaps even in pain if you couldn’t resist the stuffing – despite your aunt’s warning that it wasn’t gluten-free. Of course, there are ways to fight the turkey binge, like filling up on water beforehand, wearing form-fitting clothing or scheduling a post-fam jam date. Even if you try, however, sometimes the comforting allure of a home-cooked Thanksgiving meal is difficult to approach with restraint. Odds are you aren’t going to feel your sexiest after the sugar, starch and alcohol-filled meal. Here are some ways to combat the effects of the holiday binge so that you can make the most of this shortened workweek.
Set your mind
The moment you wake up the day after Thanksgiving, mentally decide that you are going to treat your body well and set fitness goals for the week. For some, once the “diet seal” is broken with something like a big holiday meal, it is simple to fall off the wagon and to carry on with the trend, especially when you wake up the morning after a massive feast somehow feeling hungrier than ever. Don’t.
Although your family dinners are likely filled with more wine than water, in the day(s) following the big indulgence, be sure to drink as much water as you can. Much of the weight gained after a period of overeating is due to water retention, so it is imperative to flush this out of the system. Furthermore, water aids in digestion and helps the body metabolize stored fat. In addition to water consumption, monitor your salt intake in the foods you consume since they will have a direct effect on your current sodium levels and water retention. A sprinkle of cayenne in lemon water will stimulate liver detoxification, helpful after all that sugar and alcohol intake.
Go easy on the carbs
Warm butter-drenched buns, mashed potatoes, stuffing, gravy and pie are beloved parts of the good old-fashioned Canadian Thanksgiving and the bane of your existence in the hours following the big meal. We have plenty of carbs in our system the next little while, so try to lay off the starch for a few days after to avoid that lethargic feeling from continuing into the workweek. Instead, fuel up with meals that are low in sugar, high in fibre and protein (macronutrient that will boost the metabolism the greatest) and filled with vegetables. Eat simply and lightly, say a salad topped with leftover turkey, some steamed veggies and brown rice.
Hit the gym
Get to the gym ASAP….no, we are not talking hours after your meal if you are blessed with a 24-hour fitness facility, but definitely the next day, preferably in the morning. Weight training aids in the overeating recovery because it relies strictly on stored muscle glycogen, helping to use up the overload of carbs. Don’t forget to sweat; make sure to include cardio or opt for a detoxifying hot yoga class. Sweating will reduce that bloated feeling from excess water weight. Always cleansing and rejuvenating, it will your help body rid itself of toxins, increase cardiovascular activity and burn calories by increasing your metabolism.
We’re going to bet you’re pretty wined out by the time the weekend is over, but it may be wise to take the week off of alcohol altogether. It is only filled with empty calories but, let’s be honest, also impairs our ability to exercise judgment and restraint in the food department.
Think of healthy ways to use up the leftovers from your Thanksgiving meal other than a repeat six-dish meal, enjoying your leftovers in moderation. Better yet, bring leftovers into the office for co-workers or package them up for the less fortunate.