After a night of binge drinking or overeating, reboot your body and cleanse those sins with a simple 24-hour exercise and detox diet plan
We all over do it from time to time: Too many calories. A sodium OD. A drink too many at the bar. And you might wake up from a bad night thinking you're going to immediately reverse the damage, but that deep-rooted need can lead to poor decisions like exercising too much and eating too little, throwing your body into a tailspin. (Yes, you can totally get a hangover from overeating—see The Junk Food Hangover Explained!) So, let's avoid that fate, OK? We consulted a couple of experts on the course of action the day after you broke the calorie bank. Get back on track with this one-day rebound regimen.
You don't want to make a habit of late-night carb binges and a little too much alcohol, but you don't need to spiral into a cloud of negativity about it either. "First things first: Acknowledge you overdid it, but don't beat yourself up about it," says Liz Weinandy, R.D., an outpatient dietitian at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. "Tell yourself this is a new day, and get it started off right. Negative self-talk doesn't get anyone anywhere." Now, time to detox.
From the moment you wake up, pump fluids to help hydrate and start the detoxification process. "This is one of the major ways your body gets rids of waste products, so start by drinking a tall glass of water with some fresh lemon juice—even a splash of orange juice," says Weinandy. "The water, along with the vitamin C in the citrus, are great ways to get things moving in the right direction." Another smart option? Green tea, which is high in antioxidants and has a little caffeine to flush waste as a diuretic. (Tip: Try one of 8 Infused Water Recipes to Upgrade Your H20.)
If you loaded up on calories the night before, you may be inclined to skip a meal the next morning. "Usually, breakfast is the one most people bypass," says Weinandy. Entirely passing over meals, though, can set your body up for failure—and you'll learn to repeat a bad cycle. Splurge, skip, splurge, skip is not a recipe for weight loss or maintenance. Your hunger cues will be out of whack with no solution in sight. So instead of forgoing your first meal, simply eat lighter if you want to.
"Try getting in some fresh fruit along with some protein at breakfast like an egg or two," says Weinandy. "The combination of protein in the egg along with carbohydrates in the fruit will help get your blood sugars stabilized." This will help you make better decisions throughout the day, keeping energy and willpower high to ward off fatty-food cravings. Another breakfast option? Try adding asparagus to a small omelet. Research shows this green veg may help alleviate hangover symptoms with its toxin-fighting amino acids and minerals, as well as flush excess waste (the spears are a natural diuretic).
It's tempting to lay in bed and admit defeat the morning after a rough night. But the earlier you can fit in a brief workout—even if you're just walking to work—the better you'll feel. "Start moving by doing light cardio," says celebrity trainer and fitness guru Larysa DiDio. "It'll help move some of the extra fluid around." Because you may feel a bit tight and inflexible due to the bloat, DiDio says to start slow. "Then pick it up by doing some HIIT or interval training sessions," she suggests."The sprints will help you sweat and lose some extra water weight." And even though you may think: "I want to burn lots of calories!", don't go overboard. Your body is more or less in recovery mode, and will not thank you for going hard. "A nice long, easy cardio workout should get the fluids moving, and out of you—you don't want to build up lactic acid and more bloat," DiDio explains. Focus on a moderate-intensity maximum. "I think that jogging is the best way to beat bloat, because it's an overall body workout that gets you to sweat," DiDio says.
Keep your energy from dropping with a simple, mindless go-to. "Eat complex carbs and lean protein, like reduced-fat tuna salad on 100-percent whole grain bread, or a mixed green salad with grilled chicken or salmon and moderate dressing," Weinandy says. "Add some fresh fruit to balance it out." (No fresh produce at home? No problem! Try one of 10 Quick and Creative Recipes Using Canned Food.)
Weinandy can't stress the importance of water enough, especially if you had an especially salty meal or a glass of wine too many the past evening. "Our kidneys filter out a lot of our waste products—including sodium, which can of course cause us to retain water," Weinandy says. "By keeping fluids moving through, it helps our body 'get clean.' Think of washing dishes without water or without enough water—that doesn't work very well!" Our bodies are the same way. Weinandy says you can add some juices into your regimen if that's your cup of tea, but keep 'em mostly vegetable-based without added salt or sodium. (Check the label.)
Snacks should be light, but stabilizing, and you can have one or two throughout the day. "Ideal snacks could be a handful of nuts and a piece of fruit or a Greek yogurt," says Weinandy. "The complex carbs along with lean proteins help stabilize blood sugar, the fiber in the foods also helps to detox the body, and water all day helps the kidneys function better—important in any detoxification process." You want to keep your body on the most even-keel possible the day after you gave it a jolt. (Bonus points: Try one of 7 Ways to Add Veggies to your Greek Yogurt.)
Balance is key at dinner, still, so your body is not prone to indulge in cravings. "Dinner is much the same, with complex carbs like brown rice, baked sweet potato, or whole grain pasta, a lean protein and a good serving of veggies." Make sure to keep half your plate fiber-filled with veggies, and you'll get a lot of bang for your calorie buck, keeping yourself full for the rest of the night.