I have a holiday hangover.
Not only do I miss the excitement of the holidays and the family members I don’t get to see often, but the
free-for-all significant deviation from my normal eating patterns has also left me feeling less than stellar.
If this rings true for you in any way, you’re not alone. The week(s) after the holidays are hard! We’re back to our normal routines and all the responsibilities and demands they come with. Plus, coming down from the sugar high of all the sweets we consumed makes us crave them even more.
So, how do you get through it?
I know that answer seems like a cop-out, but I can pretty much guarantee that after a few days (or weeks) of getting back into your routine, you’ll have a much different outlook.
But, in the meantime, here are a few things that can help get you over the hump:
Be honest with yourself
I’ve spent more time than I’d like to admit thinking about how unfair it is that a two-week holiday/deviation from my normal routine seems to have undone any progress I’ve made towards my goals.
But, if I really think about it, this “deviation” from my normal routine actually started a few weeks prior – a.k.a. Thanksgiving, holiday parties, etc.
Which means – if I’m being honest – it wasn’t isolated to the two weeks surrounding Christmas and New Years.
In reality, it was more like six weeks.
Please tell me some of you can relate.
If you’re worried that accepting this will only make things worse, I assure you that’s not the intention.
In fact, it’s quite the opposite. By being honest about the time it took to get to how you feel today, you can give yourself a little slack when you don’t feel like you’re back on track immediately.
My rule of thumb: if it took 6 weeks to get to how I feel today, I need to give myself 6 weeks before I make any drastic decisions (i.e. throwing in the towel and eating Christmas cookies all day every day for the rest of my life).
When it comes down to it, being honest about the time frame can help you move past the idea that you’ve been slighted by the universe and there’s nothing you can do about it so you might as well give up.
With all the emphasis on New Year’s resolutions, it’s tempting to try to go all in on a new diet ASAP.
I get it – putting on “real” pants to go to work on Monday was undeniable evidence that the yoga pants I lived in for two weeks are much too forgiving.
Still, my recommendation on the whole diet thing? Don’t.
Taking on a complete overhaul of your diet while simultaneously getting back into your routine AND dealing with any residual emotions from the holidays is a set up to fall even further.
Very few people can completely change their eating habits overnight with no repercussions. Sure, you may stick with it for a few days, but soon it will get hard. You’ll start to get overwhelmed and let things slide and before you know it you’re back where you started – with the additional shame and disappointment because you couldn’t stick to it.
Instead, go back to what you know. Ease yourself off the sugar rollercoaster slowly (I’m talking days, not months). If the new year gives you the extra push you need to commit to treating yourself better – great! Just try to be gentle with yourself (and forgiving).
Focus on reducing inflammation
Besides being delicious, what do Christmas cookies, rich foods, and excess alcohol have in common? They all cause inflammation (1).
Chronic, low-grade inflammation – like the kind caused by overeating inflammatory foods over time – can contribute to a number of serious health problems. Including metabolic syndrome, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease (2), and cancer (3).
The good news?
You can help your body reduce some of this inflammation just by changing what you choose to eat.
Things like berries, green leafy vegetables, fatty fish, and green tea, as well as herbs and spices like turmeric (curcumin), ginger, and cloves are terrific options to help reduce some of that inflammation.
SIDE NOTE: By itself, curcumin (the compound in turmeric that gives it its anti-inflammatory power) isn’t absorbed well by the body, which means the anti-inflammatory benefits of taking curcumin alone are minimal. In order to increase your body’s absorption of curcumin, make sure to add black pepper whenever you use turmeric. Or, if you take a turmeric/curcumin supplement, make sure it has black pepper in it. Black pepper contains a compound called piperine which has been shown to increase bioavailability by as much as 2000% (4). It’s kind of like the Robin to Batman.
If you need any recommendations for anti-inflammatory recipes, let me know. I have plenty 🙂