Don't worry, we've all been there. It's hard to resist those cravings especially during the holidays when you're surrounded by comfort food. But research shows giving in often leads to a vicious cycle of cravings, junk food, followed by more intense cravings and more junk food. Resetting your food cravings and food choices is the best way to get back on track. Follow these easy tips from Integrative Medicine Doctor Amy Shah for one week if you're coming off the holiday with a food hangover.
1. PRIORITIZE SLEEP
Nothing's better for a stomach reset than a good night's rest. Aim for at least 7-8 hours of sleep per night. You may think you have to move around after a day of overeating, but in reality, sleeping begins your reset! Adequate sleep balances our leptin and ghrelin (hormones that tell us we're full and hungry) and keeps our junk food cravings in check. I prioritize sleeping and often supplement my sleep with 20 minute naps whenever possible. A restful 20 minutes can really make up for a lost hour of sleep. Do this for at least 3 days and watch your body rise from the dead!
2. HYDRATE, HYDRATE, HYDRATE
The easiest way to begin your reset is to drink a cup of water upon waking. Research shows people who increased their water intake by just one glass actually eat up to 205 fewer calories and 200 fewer milligrams of sodium daily. Your body can prepare for a sweaty exercise session, plus you'll get a quick energy boost and help flush out the salt and leftovers lingering in your colon. Aim to get at least 8 oz of water in the morning. Throw some HALO Sport into the mix too because plain water can get boring.
3. EXERCISE, PLEASE
Did you know exercise will calm down those stress hormones that cause our cravings for junk food? Exercise will reduce the production of adrenaline and cortisol and stimulate endorphin production which can actually elevate your mood and curb hunger! As I always say, exercise in the morning sets the stage for a day of healthy choices. After all, why offset all the effort you made getting up and moving?!
4. CUT BACK ON SUGAR
Giving into those sugar cravings will most certainly lead to more food cravings. Food is broken down into glucose which then circulates into your bloodstream. Eating too many processed foods such as white bread or pasta will cause your blood sugar to skyrocket and drop dramatically, making you hungry all over again. Instead of loading up on sugar, salt, and fat, make healthy choices and include whole food sources of protein and fiber with every meal. Whole foods will improve digestion, balance your hormones, and stabilize insulin levels.
5. DON'T DO ANYTHING DRASTIC
Don't jump into a day of fasting or even attempt a fasting period after a day of overeating. Your stress hormones will rise and your body will fall into an inflammatory state which will disrupt your normal metabolic processes. Just make good eating choices and attempt a fast after a few days of healthy eating, sleeping, and exercising!
Also, avoid any type of cleanse. Your digestive tract will work against you and go into a state of shock. Instead, ease back into your healthy lifestyle and remember: We all make mistakes and a good reset is as effective as the choices you make!