If you have spent the last few weeks indulging on calorie-rich food, sweet treats and alcohol, you are probably feeling more than ready to get back to your consistent clean eating and healthy way of life—especially if your jeans are feeling a bit too tight! To help relieve bloating and water retention from all the holiday fun, you can incorporate these quick fixes. This is by no means the answer or replacement to your regular healthy diet and workout program, but it’ll help you feel better sooner!
1. Reduce Carbohydrates
When we overeat carbohydrates, the body holds on to water. Carbohydrates are stored as glycogen, and each gram of glycogen is bound to four grams of water! This means that when your liver and muscles are full of glycogen, you are also full of water. If you want to get rid of some of that extra water weight you gained during the holidays, reduce your carbohydrates for a week or so. When you lower your carbohydrate intake, the body will start using up the carbohydrates that are stored in the liver and the muscle. When you use that glycogen, you also lose the water. Lower your carbohydrate intake to 20-30% of your diet for about a week or so.
2. Cleanse With Green Veggies
Green vegetables such as broccoli, kale, asparagus and cabbage contain phytonutrients that act like natural diuretics, which can help increase your kidney’s ability to transport toxins into the urine. They also provide powerful antioxidants that can help the liver cells recover faster. Not too mention they are also full of fiber, which can help clear the digestive track too. Add green vegetables to your meals, or try having a green shake. Just add kale, spinach or wheatgrass to your protein shake to make a detoxifying smoothie!
3. Stimulate Metabolic Rate
Up your intake of foods that can help stimulate the metabolism! Chili peppers contain the metabolism boosting capsaicin compound. Capsaicin, when placed on food, has been shown to increase metabolic rate and reduce appetite. Add hot sauce or hot peppers to your meals for a little extra boost.
In addition to chili peppers, green tea is also a great metabolism booster! Green tea provides EGCG – epigallocatechin gallate. EGCG is a great antioxidant that can help detox the body and is known to block a major enzyme that breaks down norepinephrine—the body’s fat burning hormone! Green Tea’s action can increase metabolic rate and thermogenesis for 24-hour energy expenditure. So, you will be burning fat both in and out of the gym!
4. Up The Intensity
Obviously, one of the first things you need to do is get back to your regular workout schedule. If you have missed workouts, specifically cardio sessions, you could be feeling a little sluggish. Cardio not only burns calories, it also helps rid the body of water via sweat! For your first week back after the holidays, up your cardio workout by performing longer and more intense sessions! Remember 3500 calories equals one pound of fat, so try to burn at least 500 calories per cardio workout session!
Cardoso GA, Salgado JM, Cesar MD, Donado-Pestana CM. The Effects of Green Tea Consumption and Resistance Training on Body Composition and Resting Metabolic Rate in Overweight or Obese Women. J Med Food. 2012.
Yoshioka M, St-Pierre S, Drapeau V, Dionne I, et al. Effects of red pepper on appetite and energy intake. Br J Nutr. 1999. 82(2): 115-23.