YOUR POST-HOLIDAY RECOVERY GUIDE

Cookies on Christmas, champagne on New Year’s Eve, and a massive hangover New Year’s Day. Sound familiar? The holiday season is all about treats and indulging, but if you’ve gone a little nuts with the sugar and the cocktails, it’s time to wipe the slate clean and start 2013 on a health kick. The good news is it’s actually

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First, get rid of your hangover:

It’s hard to start a rigorous new workout routine if the room is spinning, so the first step is to get all that alcohol out of your system. Our recommendation: lots (and we mean lots) of water and a healthy breakfast with a good mix of protein and complex carbs. Try an egg white omelet and whole grain toast. Then, hop in a hot shower or bath to help sweat out some of those toxins. And if you’re still feeling less than stellar, there’s no shame in starting the New Year with a nice long nap.

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Second, take a look at your diet :

After weeks of grazing on every sugary treat that crossed your path, it can take a little time for your willpower to wake up from hibernation. For some of us, a total diet overhaul is the best way to jumpstart healthier habits (think of it like quitting smoking cold turkey). If this sounds like it could work for you, why not try a 3-day cleanse? It’ll force you to cut out all the sugar and processed food you’ve been indulging in and detox your system. For more details, check out one editor’s diary of her 3-day cleanse.

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Third, get your butt in gear:

Not only does a good sweat session help you detox even more, but it’s also a must if you want to get rid of any extra holiday pounds. But if you spent the better part of December on various relatives’ sofas, you’ll want to start slow so you don’t end up in too much pain.

Try some gentle stretching, a long walk around your neighborhood (or at the gym if it’s too cold), or a beginner’s yoga class. Then you can increase the intensity of your workouts as your fitness level improves.

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Fourth, prepare for setbacks:

Even those of us with the best intentions are going to have bad days. We’ll ruin our diets polishing off the leftover Christmas candy or skip yoga three days in a row. It happens, but the important thing is to move on.

Don’t beat yourself up over a bad food decision; just aim to make your next meal or snack healthier. And if you’re not feeling up to the gym, whether it’s due to sore muscles or a case of the winter lazies, take a few moments to stretch your muscles and walk around your house. Even a small move like putting on your running shoes may motivate you more than you think. Just remember that good habits don’t form overnight, they take time.

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Fifth, reward your progress :

Have you been sticking with a healthier eating plan and become a regular at the gym? It’s time to treat yourself for being so good. But don’t go the traditional route with a diet-busting dinner. Instead, indulge in some swanky new workout gear, a muscle-soothing massage, or even something as simple as a new lipstick. Whatever it is, make sure it works with your health and fitness goals, not against them

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