I just got back from my birthday trip to NYC, where I ate my first ever (gluten-free) pasta carbonara. Rich, salty, flavorful…and bloat-inducing, because it’s so far outside the boundaries of what I eat on a day to day basis. I don’t have the luxury of a lot of downtime to recover from an indulgent meal, so here are my five top tips for bouncing back quickly from a heavy treat meal or other off-the-program situation.
1. Drink water (possibly with lemon and/or electrolytes)
I feel like drinking water is on every top 5 list that I make. It’s such an easy tip that helps with so many areas of fitness!! This time the water is on the list to help rebalance your body after food that is saltier than normal, and also to rebalance if you’ve indulged a bit too much in the adult beverage department. I find that adding a squeeze of lemon helps to reduce the water retention caused by dehydration or salty foods, while electrolytes help you get back on your feet after alcohol overages. Water also helps get your digestion back to normal if things have slowed down….
2. Walk it off
Gentle movement like walking helps to boost your circulation throughout your entire body, which is great for encouraging your body to let go of bloat and water retention. Even just a couple of 10-minute walk breaks throughout your day can really help your body to rebalance itself.
3. Eat your veggies
Vegetables bring you water, fiber, and vitamins – what more could you ask for? They will get things moving and also help you feel healthier for making health-enhancing food choices (I mean, there were a few peas in that carbonara, but…). Raw, steamed, roasted – it doesn’t matter as long as they get off of your plate and into your tummy.
Bonus: eat some pudding. Chia pudding, that is! Stir 1 tablespoon of chia seeds into a cup of coconut or almond milk and let sit for at least 30 minutes to allow the seeds to bloom and thicken the milk. Chia seeds offer the great benefits you’re looking for to get back on track – hydration and fiber – plus essential fatty acids that are good for getting that creaky feeling out.
4. Get your rest
Sleep soundly to give your body a chance to renew, repair, and refresh itself. Strange as it may sound, one of my favorite sleep enhancers is this calming baby lotion – it helps me unwind no matter how I’m feeling at bedtime.
5. Sweat it out
A day or two after the indulgence (you don’t want to overwhelm your body), get your sweat on. REALLY sweat. Hot yoga, Zumba fitness, a long, slow run…anything that gets you super sweaty will help you feel back to normal (and sweat out any excess fluid that you’re still holding on to). Make sure to rehydrate properly after your sweat session so that you don’t continue the dehydration cycle!
Bonus tip if your indulgence was alcohol related: B-Vitamins. (science)