It’s two weeks into the new year—but I’m still feeling a bloated post-holiday. I’m working out and eating pretty well, but it doesn’t seem to be helping. Are there any other easy ways to get my body back to normal? I miss my skinny jeans! —Nathalie M.
It’s crazy how just a few days of sugar cookies, cheesy dips, and boozy drinks can leave you feeling puffy and low-energy for weeks.
Don’t beat yourself up if you didn’t stick to a perfectly clean diet over the holidays. Full disclosure: Chocolate-peanut butter cookies are my personal kryptonite. But when I wake up the morning after I eat one (OK, fine, it’s probably more like two or three), the junk-food hangover is intense. Here’s what I do, and recommend to my clients, to get back on track and start feeling good.
Eat chia seeds
Chia seeds are tiny yet super nutritious. They’ve got a staggering amount of fiber, omega-3 fatty acids, and protein, so they fill you up quickly without weighing you down. Plus, the high fiber count encourages detoxification and elimination. Throw chia into your oatmeal, trail mix, or morning tea, or soak them overnight for an easy tapioca-like pudding for breakfast.
Add more healthy fats
Seems counterintuitive, but eating more healthy fats like those found in coconut or MCT oil will help flatten your belly. Good-for-you fats encourage normal hormone function, which in turn increases metabolic rate. Bonus: MCT oil has actually been shown to decrease belly fat and inhibit fat absorption in the body. The result is a smaller waistline, plus more even energy levels, and a stabilized mood. Add a tablespoon or so into coffee, smoothies, or even saute with MCT oil for a amped up version of your favorite stir-fry.
Do a shot of aloe vera
Yes, it’s derived from the same plant that soothes a sunburn. But aloe vera juice is slightly different from the calming gel—it’s a thinner liquid and tastes a little sour, yet has the same anti-inflammatory effect. A 1-ounce shot can improve digestion, ease stomachaches, and lower blood glucose levels after a sugar binge. Aloe also has B, C, and E vitamins to boost hydration and brighten skin.
Take your coffee green
Don’t panic, there’s no need to mess with your usual Starbucks order. But adding raw green coffee extract powder to your diet in addition to your morning cup of joe might be just the thing your metabolism needs to get on track. Some studies suggest that it can increase the body’s caloric expenditure by 3 to 11 percent. Because of its high caffeine content—which is roughly as much as you’d find in a serving of coffee—it gives some people jitters. I recommend experimenting with this one to see if it’s right for you by adding half a teaspoon into soups, smoothies, or mixing it into oatmeal.
That’s it! Try doing these things for three days in a row and take note of the changes. Love the way you feel? Turn a three-day experiment into a daily habit and see how it affects your digestion.
A final note for those that hit the sugar and dairy hard: If your complexion still looks lackluster, try a bentonite clay mask. Bentonite is a natural compound that has magnetic properties and essentially sucks toxins and other nasty stuff out of your pores. I’ve been obsessed with this mask for a while, and can happily say that it works wonders on problem skin.
I’m dying to know how all of this works for you, so share your thoughts in the comments below!
Produced and Directed by: Liza Glucoft
Director of Photography: Naeem Munaf
Editor: Stephanie Provence
Michelle Pellizzon received her bachelor’s degree from New York University and certification from the Institute of Integrative Nutrition