How to Undo the Turkey Day Damage
If you’re anything like me, Thanksgiving is a food marathon. It’s basically tradition to eat ALL of the food, all day long, and then pass out in a food coma afterwards. Did you know that the average American consumes 3,000 calories on Thanksgiving… for dinner alone. Add in appetizers, drinks, and dessert, and that total mounts to about 4,500, according to Calorie Control Council.
If all of your healthy dietary habits were lost somewhere inside a beautiful 20 pound turkey yesterday, have no fear. We’ve got some totally doable adjustments that don’t require starvation or living the rest of your life in your biggest, comfiest sweats. Not that we’re judging you if that’s your preference (yoga leggings ARE pants!)
Think back to past turkey days and you’re probably able to remember how you felt the day after. Sluggish, heavy, still full, and as if your veins have been injected with sodium. One of the reasons you feel this way is because your body has the ability to stockpile carbs, in a form called glycogen, within your muscle tissue. The GI tract is also carrying more mass than usual, and it can take as many as three days for waste to work its way through your system. For both of these reasons, one of the best things you can do to feel better quickly is to get moving. You may not feel like it, but you’ll thank yourself after that workout. Physical activity can help you burn off the glycogen and stimulate your digestive system so your body can bounce back to its pre-Turkey Day state.
Up the Water Intake
There are so many reasons to drink water, especially after a big, gluttonous meal. Increasing your water intake will help to expedite the detoxification process, flushing toxins and waste from the body. Water also has the amazing ability to transport nutrients to where they are needed. In addition, water supports optimal metabolism, and some research suggests it may naturally curb your appetite.
Get Back on an Eating Schedule, STAT!
I get it, it’s tempting to swear off food forever and try to go as long as possible after Thanksgiving dinner without eating, but you’re doing yourself a disservice taking that approach. It’s in your best interest to eat breakfast, even if you’re not hungry, within an hour of waking up. Eating every three to five hours will rev up your metabolism so you can maximize your daily calorie burn. Skipping meals forces the body into conservation mode, which means you’re more likely to hang onto any weight gain.
Eat Clean, Repeat Often
Your body loves consistency, so after a big ole’ Thanksgiving meal, it’s begging for some balance. Choose healthy meals and repeat them throughout the weekend. This can help restore balance and have you feeling like your normal self in no time.
Trim Down the Carbs
Keyword: trim… do not completely cut out carbs, as this can force your body to burn protein for fuel instead of using it to support and maintain your calorie-burning muscle. Instead, include a small serving of healthy carbs at each meal paired with a lean protein, healthy fat, and loads of produce. This will leave you feeling full, will help to regulate your blood sugar, and will keep those pesky hunger hormones under control.