Feeling sluggish after the holidays? Here's what you need to know: Written by Trisha Miller
For many of us, the holidays mean getting together with loved ones and enjoying a holiday feast of sweets, breads, meats and much, much more. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with appreciating a delicious holiday meal with friends and family. However, indulging a little too much is a habit many of us wish we could break.
Partaking in too many foods that we know aren’t great for our bodies can lead to feeling guilty in the new year. Not to mention, often times we forget about portion sizing during the holidays and simply eat more than our bodies know what to do with. Overall, many of us are left feeling anxious about our self-control and feel the need to work extra hard to get back to normal after the holidays. I’m here to offer you some tips that will help you make it through the holidays and get back to normal after the season is over.
Why Do You Feel Guilty?
Before we get into anything about diet change or detoxing, I think it’s important to understand that I am not encouraging weight loss when I say “detox”. However, I do want to acknowledge that some people do feel pressure to lose weight in the new year. Statistically speaking, it’s the highest enrollment period for gym memberships throughout the entire year.
With that being said, I believe that all of us are beautiful in our bodies and should feel as such. I know that that is easier said than done, so have patience with yourself. I also think it’s important to talk about exactly why we feel guilty about indulging in holiday foods. If it’s simply because you’ve gained a pound or two, you really have nothing to worry about. If you wish to work off that weight, be confident in yourself that you can achieve this if you set your mind to it. What’s more, from a medical standpoint, your body will likely not suddenly become unhealthy by eating some holiday foods that you love or by gaining a small amount of weight.
Sadly, I do think that many articles appear around this time of year that feature topics like “ways to quickly lose weight after the holidays” and that is not what I’m here to promote. I’m moreso talking about feeling out of tune with your body after the holidays and how to reconnect yourself. If you’re feeling sluggish, tired, and simply out of whack, I want to try and help you get rid of those feelings after the holidays.
How Do You Know That You Need a Detox?
Personally, I do not think there’s anything wrong with enjoying your favorite foods around the holidays. However, most of us (including myself) can relate to feeling a little bit off after we’ve let go of our inhibitions over Thanksgiving and Christmas. Sometimes a small indulgence turns into a larger one and before you know it, you’ve spent two or three months eating in a way that you wouldn’t consider normal for you during the rest of the year.
You’re feeling worn down and your body doesn’t seem to be running on all cylinders. You feel like you need to make a change in order to get back to your normal state. The first step toward getting things back to normal is to acknowledge the ways in which you treat yourself. By that I mean, when you’re going to give yourself a treat or allow yourself an indulgence, what do you normally reach for?
Identifying Treats You’re Reaching For & How to Counteract Them
Some of us find that sugary drinks and caffeinated drinks are the first things that we grab for when we allow ourselves a treat. Maybe you drink more soda than you normally would or a few extra cups of coffee per day. Doing so can make you feel dependent on the sugar and caffeine to get through the day, which is not the best feeling. You might feel irritated and sluggish when you don’t have it. Not to mention, consuming a larger amount of caffeine than your body is used to can take a toll on your teeth and mouth. You could feel that your taste buds feel a bit dull and perhaps you notice a difference in the shininess of your teeth overall.
This habit is a tough one, and it’s not the easiest to quit. Caffeine can be quite addictive, but my best suggestion is to arm your body with other drinks and fuel that make you feel good. This isn’t to say that you should never consume caffeine, but if you’re looking to cut back after an increase during the holidays, try reaching for a smoothie or juice in the morning instead. There are a plethora of great foods that can be blended or juiced to give you that focused and energized feeling each morning (like pomegranate, blueberries, acai, kale, spinach, and carrots). In addition, there are many natural ways to remove stains from your teeth, including coconut oil and baking soda.
This is a big one. Commonly, holidays are completely centered around a turkey or ham, so it’s easy to eat a bit more meat than you normally would. What’s more, these types of meats are often prepared in a way that we wouldn’t normally treat meats. You’ll find more fats and much more salt in holiday roasts, which can be doubly hard on your system. After eating too much meat you might feel tired no matter what you do. You could also feel bloated and like your body is working harder than usual to digest your meals. Don’t fret! You can get right back on track with just a small change to your diet.
The best way to counteract excess meat in your diet is to bring in some fiber. Eating leafy green vegetables, oats, beans and legumes, whole grain breads, and maybe even some chia seeds or flax seeds, can really help to bring you out of your funk. Just add some of these things back into your normal diet and you’ll start to notice a decrease in tiredness and bloating and an increase in the effectiveness of your digestion.
Oils, Fats, & Sugars
During the holidays, it seems that everything is prepared with extra fat, oil, and sugar. As such, it seems impossible to avoid foods that are packed with things we would normally eat in moderation. Consistently things that are overly greasy, extra buttery, or much sweeter than you would normally eat can take a toll on your body (we’re looking at you mashed potatoes, buttery rolls, and marshmallows on sweet potatoes). You might start to feel unusually full, tired, and possibly even experience some pressure in your stomach or digestive tract.
That is because an excess of any of these things makes your body work overtime. Breaking down a lot of sugars, oils, and fats is hard for your body. Your body will use all of its energy breaking up these ingredients, which can slow down your natural bodily processes in general. Your system can become clogged up, which can cause uncomfortable pressure in your intestines. However, the solution is often a very simple one — drink lots of water.
Your digestive tract uses its natural acids to break down foods, but it also uses quite a lot of water in the process as well. Breaking down an unusual amount of sugars, oils, and fats uses up a lot of the water that your digestive tract has stored. If it becomes depleted of water, it can’t do its job properly. So make sure that you drink water with every meal (and even in between if you can).
Well, there you have it! Those are some very simple solutions to feeling less than your best after the holidays. Switching your mindset back to eating foods that fill your body with positive nutrients as well as keeping adequately hydrated can get you right back to where you need to be in a hurry. Enjoy the holidays and remember that it’s okay to eat your favorite foods. We all do our best to not overdo it, but things happen and luckily our bodies are quite forgiving. With a little bit of TLC you can feel just like you did before the season (and maybe even better!).
About the Author
Trisha is a freelance writer from Boise, ID. She is a dedicated vegan who promotes an all-around healthy lifestyle. You can find her on twitter @thatdangvegan and check out her blog thatdangvegan.com
For me, the after holiday feeling is usually on the low. I always feel like I'm out of my body and anything I do or eat feels strange. These are great tips I can try. Especially the drink lots of water and using smoothies to replace coffee and other sugary drinks.