The average Thanksgiving meal for an individual in the United States is 4,500 calories, according to the Calorie Control Council. Three thousand of those calories come from the meal itself, and the additional 1,500 are added in through snacking and drinking before and after the main event. Overall, the total food consumption on Thanksgiving is 2.25 times what a person should have daily for calories, and is more than 3.5 times the advised amount of fat.
After all that overindulgence, it’s important to know how to detoxify and start your body on the road to holiday-feasting recovery.
How to detoxify after overindulging on Thanksgiving
Detoxifying is a process which Gaiam Life explains has been practiced for centuries in many cultures around the world. It is based on the principles of removing and eliminating toxins while cleaning the body from the inside out.
“The body has its own natural healing system,” Peter Bennett, N.D., medical director of Helios Clinic in Victoria, B.C., and co-author with Stephen Barrie, N.D. and Sara Faye, of 7-Day Detox Miracle (Prima Health), told Gaiam Life. “Detoxification enhances this system.”
How to detoxify and bring your body back to balance after Thanksgiving week?
There are a number of ways to detoxify your body:
- Don’t be too hard on yourself: Do not stress too much over how much you ate. When you overindulge it’s important not to give up on healthy eating completely, but if you did, then go back to a healthy diet as quickly as possible and do not punish yourself.
- Careful with those leftovers: Most people know when a holiday feast is coming up, so they plan a few days in advance. But a big part of the holidays is splurging on leftovers, and these carry just as many calories the day after Thanksgiving as they do on the day of. This is a great opportunity to share with others and empty your fridge as soon as you can!
- Do not diet or deprive your body: Do not go on a crash diet to compensate for overeating! Instead, just watch your portions and be mindful of what and when you eat. After the holiday, eat when you’re hungry, and if it’s not meal time, eat a light, healthy snack like a fruit, a handful of walnuts or a hard-boiled egg. It’s more important that you burn additional calories than it is that you limit calories from food.
- Avoid the scale: The number on the scale after a holiday food-fest isn’t likely to be accurate. It will be inflated, but WebMD explains this is usually due to water retention caused by an excessive amount of salt intake.
- Keep your exercise routine the same: Many people panic when they overeat, but increasing your exercise routine all of a sudden can put undue stress on your body and may cause an injury which will prohibit future exercise. Do prefer cardio exercise though. Stay active throughout the day. This is not the right time to sit around watching TV all day long. Walk your dog, take your kids to the park, leave your care at a distance so you have to walk more, take the stairs instead of the elevator, go out dancing… make it fun but stay active!
- Replace all beverages with water and lemon:Water is one of the best things to detoxify the body, and adding lemon not only helps give a splash of flavor, it is thought to aid in digestion. Increase your water intake but skip it with meals!
- If you drink something else, drink tea: Water may be great for rehydrating and detoxifying the body, but tea can also have a number of benefits. Drinking tea helps hydrate the body, can stave off hunger, and is full of antioxidants. Opt for organic and natural teas and use honey and fruits like cherries and strawberries to sweeten it.
- Go to organic for a few days: Giving your body important nutrients it needs is easy if you turn to a diet rich in organic fruits and dark, leafy greens for a few days. Whole vegetables and fruits are full of micronutrients and are generally low in calories. Avoid cooked meals as much as possible or combine them with salads. If you need something hot, choose natural soups!
- Eat plenty of fiber: Getting the digestive system moving is important for eliminating toxins. Gaiam Life advises consumption of seaweed, beets, radishes, cabbage, and artichokes for high-fiber detoxifying foods.
- Consider taking adding supplements to your diet: While scientific studies on nutraceuticals are generally limited, some experts feel adding herbal supplements to your diet can help detoxify the body. Some to consider are dandelion root, milk thistle, burdock, and green tea, though no supplement should be started without the advice of a physician.