While holiday celebrations are usually full of family, friends and fun — they may even be considered “healthy” due to their stress-relieving properties — they also have a tendency to make us veer off track from our normal eating and exercising habits.
If you enjoyed yourself a little too much during recent holidays, you might be feeling a little heavier than normal — and perhaps looking for a way to detoxify and shed those extra pounds you may have picked up. Here are six tips to help get you started:
1. Practice intermittent fasting
The purpose of intermittent fasting (or IF) is to force your body to use up all stored and available energy, so that it starts tapping into your body fat for fuel instead. Fasting also helps with detoxification, since it limits the amount of energy necessary for digestion and, instead, shifts this energy towards repairing and cleansing. Additionally, IF has many other metabolic benefits, including improving insulin sensitivity. And IF is not just helpful short-term for weight loss; research suggests it’s safe and healthy for most people to practice long-term.
Here’s a quick guide to getting started with IF: Plan to begin by fasting for about 13-18 hours per day. This might sound like a long time, but remember that part of your fasting occurs overnight, while you’re sleeping. If you eat dinner at 6PM, for example, try to refrain from eating until sometime between 7AM and noon the next day. While you fast, avoid eating all solid foods, including smoothies, though you can drink water, black coffee and tea.
Eating during a shortened window, as described above, is a common way to practice IF, though some people choose to take things up a notch and eat only one meal per day. For experienced fasters, doing longer fasts that last about 2-3 days is another option.
2. Have bone broth & other detox drinks
Bone broth is a traditional stock made from animal parts (skin, bones, connective tissue, etc.) that are steeped in liquid for about 1-2 days along with veggies and herbs. While this might not sound very appetizing, bone broth is chock full of beneficial minerals and compounds, including collagen, glucosamine, calcium and more.
Drinking bone broth daily (about 8-16 ounces per day) is a great way to help improve gut health and digestion. The amino acids found in collagen can aid in repairing the gut lining, facilitate nutrient absorption, and even help improve the health of your skin and joints. A bone broth fast, during which you consume only bone broth for 2-3 days or longer, is also beneficial for keeping your energy up, preventing muscle wasting, and supporting detoxification.
If you don’t have time to make bone broth from scratch, it can also be consumed in dried protein powder form, which provides many of the same benefits as homemade broth, but is much more convenient. In addition to helping your body reset after an indulgent holiday, these protein powders can be a great way to support exercise recovery and help you build lean muscle mass.
Aside from bone broth and collagen powder, other beneficial detox drinks include cold pressed green juices, 100% grapefruit juice, apple cider vinegar shots, or smoothies made with superfoods like leafy greens and berries. Just be careful to avoid bottled juices or smoothies that can be surprisingly very high in sugar and calories.
4. Give up dairy (at least temporarily)
Yes, dairy is a HUGE part of Shavuot and found in many recipes like blitzes and cheesecake. But dairy can also be difficult to digest and may contribute to weight gain since it’s easy to over-consume. Now that the celebration is over, consider giving your body a break from dairy by switching to a dairy-free diet that incorporates non-dairy alternatives — like olive oil instead of butter; almond or coconut milk instead of cow’s milk, avocado in place of sour cream, and nut-based cheeses.
5. Consider trying a kosher ketogenic diet
The keto diet is a very high-fat, low-carb eating plan that forces your body to burn stored body fat for energy. It works because it depletes glucose provided by carbohydrates, which is usually your body’s preferred energy source. In order to get into ketosis, the metabolic state that allows you to use fat for fuel, you have to consume about 75% or more of your daily calories from fat, and no more than 5-10% from carbs.
The keto diet revolves around foods like coconut oil, olive oil, avocado, kosher meats, nuts, seeds, pastured eggs, fatty fish, plus plenty of non-starchy veggies. What makes the keto diet different from other low-carb diets? It isn’t high in protein, but rather focuses on high fat consumption. Eating plenty of fats plus moderate protein while on the keto diet is very satiating, helping to curb your appetite and decrease cravings. This also makes fasting easier, plus has additional benefits like helping to balance hormones and improving digestion — all important when you’re trying to kickstart weight loss.
6. Try high intensity interval training (HIIT)
High intensity interval training (HIIT) is a workout approach that requires minimal time, but maximum effort. You sprint your heart out, giving your full effort for short periods of time (about 1 minute or less), and then take a break before repeating. You only have to repeat this cycle for about 20 minutes to get a big payoff — including major calorie burn. By exercising at max intensity — aiming to get your heart rate up to about 85-90% of your max during sprints — you’re able to burn more fat and build muscle quickly, without spending loads of time exercising.
This story "6 Tips to Jumpstart Post-Holiday Weight Loss" was written by Josh Axe.