The holidays are that magical time when we celebrate the end of the year via endless soirees, spending quality time lazing around the house with the fam, and elegantly stuffing our faces until our stomachs uncomfortably protrude from our bodies.
And if this past Thanksgiving was any indication—you know what you did!—it all goes downhill from here, and we’re not talking about skiing.
For most of us, this is the time of year where we throw our healthy diet and fitness routines out the festively-lit window in favor of full-on gorge fests. While it’s a given that come January, many scramble to detox away the past few weeks of damage, this year, why not take a proactive “pretox?”
While the rest of your crew spends the first week in January desperately signing up for gyms and sucking down gnarly spinach cleanse drinks, your December pretox means you can coast on into 2012 without having to overhaul your entire life for the sake of squeezing into your favorite jeans.
Here’s how to stringently prep for completely letting it all go.
Don’t bother starving yourself
Your first instinct might be to sneak in a precautionary juice fast in order to make up for all the extra calories you’re about to scarf. Not so fast, says celeb nutritionist (oh hi, J.Lo!) and wellness consultant Haylie Pomroy. “Traditional fasting and a significant reduction in calories can drastically slow down the body’s metabolism,” she says (frankly, much to our relief). “You need to have your fire stoked before you are able to burn a bunch of garbage.”
So wait, does this mean we should be eating more, not less? Not exactly: It’s more about quality. “Eat clean! Additives, preservatives and food coloring have to be processed through the liver, which is the fat scavenger in the body. We want that ready and available to burn calories when it’s time to truly indulge.” In other words, focusing on whole foods instead of say, frozen pizza, means your body will be more efficient at processing those pigs in a blanket down the road.
Work out smarter, not harder
Now’s not the time to tack on extra-intense cardio sessions in the hope of burning off holiday cookies. Because of the complex relationship between high-intensity exercise and cortisol (one study found intense workouts may increase the stress hormone), you might end up being even more stressed out. Pomroy recommends cardio three to four times a week and maintaining a heart rate of about 130-135 beats per minute in order to increase your metabolic rate, and if you want to stoke the fire even more (we love that metaphor) add more low-impact activity, like say yoga rather than yet another spin class.
PS–Keep this in mind in case you are a non-work-outer right now and plan on becoming a gym bunny in 2012. Easy does it, folks.
Supplement your holiday egg nog abuse
Everyone knows overindulging in booze can make you look and feel like crap, and no wonder: it dehydrates and nixes precious nutrients. “If alcohol consumption is in the plan, I recommend the East West Essentials Optimal Stress Tabs, which are rich in the B vitamins that are depleted with alcohol consumption,” says Pomroy, who swears by the supplements (available here) for both herself and her all-star clients. “These are the key nutrients to regulating the bodies rate of metabolism and reducing cortisol.”
Prepare for battle
When it comes to facing an army of scrumptious hors d'oeuvres, you need a strategy of military level precision. While bacon cheeseburger sliders may look appealing, there are better choices out there: “Shrimp cocktail and deviled eggs are great appetizers because they have a combo of metabolism-boosting fats and protein,” Pomroy says.
She also points out that the ever popular hummus plate can be improved upon by skipping the pita and instead dipping veggies like broccoli, cauliflower or bell peppers: “They are high in fiber and enzymes that stimulate digestion for whatever you may eat next.” Hello mini tacos! And if you do go crazy? Gently atone for your transgressions: Pomroy keeps Optimal GI from East West Essentials in her purse, which are individual sachets of probiotics that help to “blast through and help me break down just about any meal.” So go ahead, throw some gravy on those buttery mashed potatoes come dinnertime. You can handle it.
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