Post Food Coma
Holidays are about being thankful and celebrating but most of us wind up feeling sluggish, puffy, and ultimately guilty due to to the over indulgence. It happened. It will happen again. Hopefully not often. Not until the next holiday or meaningful celebration, but it will happen.
The best thing to do in the days following a serious food coma is shake it off. It isn't easy. Fit, healthy individuals know that it is much easier to consume calories than it is to lose them. For most athletes, the holidays hit extra hard due to going way outside the typical structured, healthy, active routine. Besides the simple caloric load, over-indulging leaves the gut feeling wrecked; bloated, full, grumpy. It leaves the mind feeling sluggish & negative; filled with woe-as-me thoughts about the damage done. When our schedules are thrown off and food intake changes so dramatically, it isn't easy to rebound. But that's exactly what you must do.
Let me be clear, being a pro at staying healthy during the holiday season (or any big vacation/ celebration) is not about abstaining from the fun. It is about returning to normal as soon as possible. Easier said than done. That post indulgence bloated, sluggish feeling can stick around for days, making it difficult to jump back into action.
Here are my tips for moving on & feeling positive post uber indulging.
- Savor it mentally. I get it, you feel gross, but take a moment to reflect on what you actually enjoyed eating and drinking. This will help restore some positive mental attitude. Doing this will also help you decide what bites were your favorite and actually worth the splurge.
- Skip a meal. This doesn't necessarily mean to starve yourself, but if you wake up still full from the night before, just let it be. Instead of a full meal, sip on a nice beverage like hot tea or kombucha. A small snack like a hardboiled egg can replace a full meal as well.
- Focus on gut health. You can't see it, but likely you're feeling the damage done to your stomach lining. It's inflamed, bloated, aching, and stripped of the healthy flora you've created for it. Fermented coconut water, kombucha, kefir, sauerkraut, cultured yogurts... all these foods provide probiotics and can work to restore your healthy gut. A healthy gut is more efficient at digestion, preventing illness and creating a positive mind-body connection.
- Keep it light. There's no need to go on a full on juice cleanse or trendy detox, but do keep things light, clean and lean for a few days. Focus on protein (remember that hardboiled egg I mentioned...), small portions, and loads of vegetables (especially raw).
- Hydrate! Your body needs water and electrolytes to recover. Even if you weren't a total lush, this will help ease digestion and restoring normal hunger cues. Boost your boring water by sipping bone broth, teas, kombuchas, kefirs, electrolyte enhanced beverages, and coconut waters.
- Be active. Tug on those super stretchy leggings and put their real function to use; running, yoga, pilates, weights, cycling... whatever your method of athleticism is, do it. You probably won't feel energized enough to get right back into a full on training session and that's okay, just do what you can. Give your sluggish body extra time to warm up and cool down.