Holiday Smack-down: GINGERSNAP VS. SIX PACK

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Overindulging isn’t usually the plan going into the holidays but despite all our best efforts the abundance of cookies and sweets and the ever-present cocktail normally gets the best of us.  It’s hard not to overindulge this time of year. So, here are a few of my Dos and Don’ts as well as some according to nutritionist Joy Bauer, RD to help you recover the next time you wake up post party feeling bloated, stuffed and sluggish. 

DON’T weigh yourself!!! Water retention from salty, fatty, heavy foods can cause a 3 to 5 lb. increase for up to 2 days afterward. So hold off on the weigh-in for a full week aftermath. 

DON’T use artificial sweeteners.  They can trigger a sweet craving. Skip them for a day or two until you’re back to your healthy eating routine.  Reach for naturally sweet things like a piece of fruit or yogurt with honey.

DO give yourself a pep talk or power word. Try to find something short that you can repeat to yourself and keep you mentally strong all day long. Tell yourself, “Everyday you stay on track you're that much closer to reaching your goals.”  If you do fall of the tracks, however, remind yourself  “one day of splurging is not the end of the world…I will get back on track” instead of falling into a downward spiral leading to candy abyss.

DO get in the right mind-set…the last thing you probably feel like doing is exercising, but starting your day with a short brisk walk is key: You’ll sweat off uncomfortable bloat.  And, thanks to endorphins, those mood-boosting chemicals that your body makes when you exercise, you’ll be in the right frame of mind to make healthy food choices.

DO eat protein and potassium at breakfast.  Having a solid morning meal helps prevent overeating the rest of the day and research has consistently shown that including protein, such as eggs, is key because it has the most staying power so you stay fuller longer and wind up eating less overall.  Potassium (fruits and vegetables) is equally important in getting rid of the day after puff, since this mineral offsets the bloating effects of sodium. Other natural diuretics that reduce bloat are cinnamon, put a dash on your coffee or Greek yogurt.  Parsley can also rid your body of water weight, so chop up a little of this herb and add it to your scrambled eggs and your good to go!

DO include green tea and spicy items to your daily routine. Green tea satisfies your appetite and can slightly rev up metabolism so you eat less and burn more.  New research also suggests that adding spicy seasonings and condiments like cayenne pepper, fresh and jarred hot peppers and hot sauce to meals helps suppress your appetite and slightly boosts your metabolism. I like to top my eggs with hot pepper jelly to spice up my morning protein.

DO add non-starchy vegetables to your meals. Non-starchy veggies like broccoli, spinach, mushrooms, carrots, cauliflower, green beans, spinach and bell peppers are rich in fiber and water, which means they fill you up for fewer calories.  Avoid starchy ones like peas, potatoes, corn and winter squash, which can add to bloat.    

DO wake up to water. Imagine going all day without drinking a thing —no coffee, no water, no diet soda. At the end of an 8-hour workday, you'd be pretty parched. Which is precisely why you should start rehydrating immediately after a full night's slumber. From now on, immediately upon rising drink at least 16 ounces of chilled H2O. German scientists recently found that doing this boosts metabolism by 24% for 90 minutes afterward! (A smaller amount of water had no effect.) What's more, a previous study determined that muscle cells grow faster when they're well hydrated, and the more muscle you build, the more calories your body will naturally burn each day, increasing your metabolism and helping you lose fat.  A general rule of thumb: Guzzle at least a gallon of water over the course of a day.