Putting on weight during the festive season is inevitable. With the dark days and miserable weather and Mariah Carey turning high streets into a cheesy-pop nightmare, the high points of Christmas are largely indoor and sedentary – eating, drinking and being merry! Sadly, there is a tendency to overdo it, and fun though it is at the time, you’re going to pay for it in the few days immediately after, not to mention attempting to shed those pounds in the New Year.
Luckily, with a little preparation and a few sensible steps, you can make things a lot easier for your belly, while still getting to enjoy all the festive treats. Try out a few of these suggestions and see how much better you’ll feel, stuffing and all!
Embrace fermented goodness this year! Probiotics will fill your system with good gut bacteria that’ll help offset the carb and sugar assault it will receive during the Christmas celebrations. Good food probiotics are yoghurt, kefir, sauerkraut or miso soup. Eat a few of these things in the run-up to your heaviest planned meals and the morning after, have some cool Kombucha. Just be mindful that you don’t overdo this either – if you’re not used to these sorts of foods, don’t eat too much of it all at once, because your tummy can struggle to acclimatise to it. A lot of these foods are also a bit of an acquired taste, so if you just can’t stomach it, then get your hands on some probiotic supplements or easy to take drinks like Yakult.
- Dealing with Indigestion
Please note: we are not doctors, so do not take any medicines or supplements without first consulting your doctor. These suggestions are all over the counter, but you want to make sure you’re not taking anything that isn’t suited to your physiology or interferes with any other medicines you’re taking. Once you’ve got the sound GP advice you need, you can consider the following. Indigestion is one of the biggest issues after over-indulgence. There are plenty of things you can take when you’re already experiencing discomfort, such as Gaviscon or Pepto-Bismol, but it’s best to avoid heartburn from happening in the first place.
Few medicines are as effective as their fantastical ads, but this one truly is a miracle cure – Nexium is the ultimate preventative measure. It’s not fast-acting, so if you’re already in pain, it’s not going to ease it right away. The idea is to start taking it, one pill a day, for a few days before your major meals – you’ll be amazed at how effective it is! Of course, holistic remedies are always preferable, so you can try some acid-neutralising foods instead. Ginger tea is an excellent choice, not to mention it’s also an anti-inflammatory, so it’ll help after one too many mulled wines or if you’ve got the winter sniffles. Bananas and nuts are alkaline foods that can help lower acid reflux and also, warm lemon water with honey. The last one might seem counterintuitive since lemon is highly acidic, but a little bit with warm water and honey does actually help settle stomach acid. Whole gains and root veggies are a good way to go as well.
- Detoxing afterwards
Try as we might, we just can’t help ourselves. Yummy food wants to be eaten and it’s tough to call it quits when there are so many temptations around you. So what’s the best way to cleanse yourself, so to speak, after several days of all that over-eating. First thing’s first – fasting. It can be tough if you’ve never tried it before, but intermittent fasting is one of the most effective ways to ease up all the bloating and give your system time to recover. If you can manage a 24hr fast right after a massive meal, that would be ideal. And don’t be freaked out by the duration, a 24hr fast is basically a meal to a meal. So you eat normally all day, then make a note of when you eat dinner. The next day, skip the first two meals and just have dinner, which really isn’t as tough as it sounds – especially if said dinner is a festive feast! If 24hrs is too much on your first try, then go for the 16-8 approach to begin with. You eat normally for 8 hours and then fast for the next 16. It’s easiest to do after an early dinner because then you sleep for most of the duration of the fast and then can have a late lunch the next day.
Go vegan and focus on hydration. After all that meat and gravy and rich puddings and drinks, it’s a good idea to switch over to a plant-based diet, even if it’s for a few days. Just make sure it’s still a healthy plant-based diet – all fresh ingredients. Try to avoid things like ‘facon’ or frozen ‘meatballs’. They may be plant-based, but they’ll be loaded with salt and flavourings, which won’t do your tummy any good. Also, drink as much as possible – healthy drinks, that is! Go for any of the drinks we already mentioned: kombucha, ginger tea, warm lemon water. Fresh mint tea is also great or clear, home-made broths. Even if it’s just plain water, make sure to keep a bottle by your side at all times and when you feel hungry – that feeling actually signals thirst in the first instance, not hunger. So when you’re peckish, drink a glass of liquid instead and it’ll help curb your cravings.