Post-Vacation Detox

Joy McCarthy of Joyous Health shares how to get back on track after indulging on vacation.

Image courtesy Shutterstock.

Image courtesy Shutterstock.

It’s easy to let healthy eating habits go out the window when you’re on vacation. You’re not on your usual schedule. There are temptations available to you at every turn (mid-day cocktails? why, of course!). And chances are you’re not cooking for yourself, which often equates to more calories and fat. We’re not saying you can’t be healthy on vacation, but the reality is for most of us we’re going to come back with more than just a sun-kissed glow (cue stretchy pants).

There’s no use missing out on delicious food when you travel and really there’s no point in depriving yourself! To help you get back on track when you get home we enlisted the help of holistic nutritionist, Joy McCarthy of Joyous Health and author of Joyous Health: Eat & Live Well Without Dieting. 

How do you get your eating habits back on track after indulging during a vacation?
Choose only one to two health habits to focus on and build from there. Most people fail to reach their goals because they are too big. I’m not saying don’t shoot for the stars, but I do recommend making your goals realistic and attainable. For example, if you eat out most days of the week then make it a goal to make your dinner at home four out of seven nights of the week. That’s a great place to start. Another simple habit is getting your morning routine on a healthy track. Starting your day with freshly squeezed lemon and water every morning followed by a Green Smoothie is an awesome start!

Are there any must-eat foods you should plan to incorporate into your diet after consuming more fatty/sugary foods? 
I recommend to start every day with protein. Protein stabilizes blood sugar, gives your metabolism a nice boost and keeps your hunger in check. It also keeps you away from sugary and fatty foods.

There can be the temptation to take your diet to the extreme when coming back after indulging (such as calorie restriction or eliminating food groups), is this a bad idea and why? 
It is a very bad idea to restrict or deprive yourself because this is almost always guaranteed to backfire. The body is smart. It is set up for survival if you restrict too much then this will fire up your appetite hormones and you more often then not will eat more calories than if you just ate normally in the first place. Furthermore, eliminating certain food groups for example, cutting out all fats is a bad idea. You need to eat fat for satiation.

The week after indulging is always the hardest. What can you do to stop the urge when your cravings come back? 
The key to combat cravings is to eat nutrient-dense, blood sugar balancing meals and snacks. This will eliminate cravings due to low blood sugar. If you still have cravings despite eating well and balanced (carbs/protein/fat) then ask yourself what are you really hungry for? You may just be emotionally eating. Tracking your feelings and your food intake on a food journal helps you observe if it’s hunger, habit or emotions. Awareness is the first step in making positive change!

If you’ve consumed a lot of alcohol during your trip, how do you recover from that? 
Drink tons of water as alcohol is very dehydrating. Vitamin C rich foods such as berries, leafy greens and citrus are all great to help the liver better detoxify. Alcohol can lower the immune system so vitamin C rich foods are also great for keeping your immune system strong.

Stomach bloat can be an issue after a week of indulging. What’s the best way to get rid of that?
Get back to clean eating ASAP! Ensure you eat plenty of high quality foods such as fish, eggs, nuts and seeds, vegetables, fruits, water and consider taking a greens powder supplement like greens+ to help your body better detoxify and energize!