If you’re like most people, you ate (and drank!) your way through the holiday season. A little eggnog and wine here; a few pastries there. And that prime rib dinner at the company Christmas party? Delicious.
But now, after all that indulging, your pants are a bit tighter, and you can’t seem to make it through the day without taking a 30-minute nap. All signs point to a holiday hangover.
The new year is the perfect time for a post-holiday detox. Follow a few simple steps — what to do, what to drink and what to eat — and you’ll be feeling like yourself (and fit back into your favorite pants!) in no time.
What to Do
Sweat It Out
Kick off your post-holiday detox with a little sweat. It doesn’t matter what you do: walk, run, lift weights or take an exercise class. The most important thing is to get moving.
Exercise helps improve digestion and burn off those excess calories you consumed from the carb-heavy meals and treats. A 2008 study found that even just a leisurely walk helps move food and excess gas through the stomach and small intestine.
The best part? You only need 30 minutes a day to reap the benefits of exercise.
Get Your Zzzs
You probably skimped on sleep as you dashed from celebration to celebration or stayed up late to watch those movie marathons. That’s fine for a short period of time, but get back to your regular schedule of seven to nine hours a night as soon as possible.
There’s a good reason: it’s believed that a lack of sleep stimulates the hunger-stimulating hormone known as ghrelin, leading you to feel hungry more often. Sleep also boosts your immunity and cognitive function, two things you need to be alert and active during the day.
You don’t have to overcompensate and sleep more than the recommended number of hours, though. Just get back to your regular bedtime as soon as the holidays are over.
What to Eat and Drink
You most likely didn’t gain 10 pounds of fat during the holidays — most of that bloat is probably fluid retention from all the extra sodium and carbohydrates you consumed.
Help your body flush out the excess by drinking a lot of water or sugar-free drinks. A common recommendation is to drink 64 ounces of water a day, but there’s no scientific evidence to back that up. Instead, just drink water or another healthy beverage as your primary drink throughout the day.
Bonus: Drinking plenty of water can prevent constipation (another post-holiday annoyance) and curb your appetite, so you won’t be tempted to scarf down all those leftovers.
Get Plenty of Greens
There’s a reason why we’re told to eat at least three cups of vegetables a day: They’re chock full of vitamins, minerals and fiber — all things that help with water retention. Cucumbers and asparagus are great choices, but don’t eat too much broccoli or kale as they can actually cause bloating, not help it.
Other foods rich in potassium (like bananas, kiwis, oranges and avocados) can help regulate sodium levels in your body, helping you de-bloat.
Grab Some Protein
Add plenty of protein into your post-holiday diet, whether it’s chicken, fish, eggs, tofu or lean red meat. Protein helps you feel fuller for longer and regulates certain hormones in the body. It also helps repair tissue and build muscle —and the more muscle you have, the easier it is to burn fat over the long term.
Reset Your Gut
You’ve probably heard a ton about probiotics lately. There’s good reason for that: Probiotics are made of healthy microorganisms that help balance out the health in our guts and improve digestion by replacing bacteria lost to factors like a poor diet and stress (hello, holiday season!).
You can get probiotics in several different ways, including yogurt, kefir, tempeh and kimchi. These foods might taste good, but they’re not always the most convenient. One easy way to get probiotics on the go is via fermented drinks like kombucha — more specifically the búcha line of sparkling kombucha drinks. Búcha’s kombucha drinks contain two billion live probiotics each and come in a variety of fruity flavors, like Blood Orange and Guava Mango.
You can also get probiotics in water via Aspen Pure Probiotic Water. This artesian water is infused with 12 different strains of probiotics shown to help detoxify the body and improve overall health.
What to Think
A big part of your post-holiday detox journey is to think positive, not negatively. Don’t think you have to follow some crazy cleanse diet pitched by your favorite reality star on Instagram, as severely restricting what you allow yourself to eat won’t do anything but make you miserable.
So you overindulged during the holidays — now isn’t the time to criticize yourself and your “lack” of willpower. Instead, look forward and make the commitment to creating healthier habits in the new year.