Ask A Health Coach: How To Jumpstart Your Metabolism After a Big Holiday Meal

December 2, 2015
by Michelle Pellizzon for Thrive Market

We're a week out from Thanksgiving and I've got a lingering food baby. How can I recover my metabolism after a hefty holiday meal? —Gabriella S. 

So you ate so much on Turkey Day that you still feel like there's gravy coursing through your veins, a week later. Your body may not even be fully recovered from the heavy food, free-flowing alcohol, and pumpkin pie–flavored sugar bombs. Don't panic—we can fix this! It's the perfect time to jumpstart your metabolism and burn through that extra stuffing.

Start your morning by resetting your digestive system with peppermint tea, an invigorating alternative to coffee. Contrary to its caffeine-filled counterpart, peppermint tea helps the stomach digest more quickly, eliminating bloating and gas. It also acts as an appetite suppressant, so you'll feel less hungry all day.

To pump up the benefits, add in cayenne pepper, bay leaves, lemon, and raw honey. Doesn't sound like the most winning combination—especially if you're used to seeing bay leaves in grandma's spaghetti sauce—but stay with me for a sec. The capsaicin in cayenne raises your core body temperature, burning more calories and increasing the body's metabolic rate naturally. Bay leaves  have been proven to equalize blood sugar while simultaneously lowering bad cholesterol levels, effectively keeping the body from storing sugar as fat.

To speed up your metabolism, you basically want your system to work more efficiently than it normally does, which means every organ in your body has to be on point. Start at the gut—when the gut flora in your stomach functions properly, it digests food and uses it for energy more quickly. Taking a powerful probiotic will do the trick; it not only helps you feel better immediately after a heavy meal, but when taken consistently, you'll notice better digestion overall. Along with less fatigue, gas, bloating, and general discomfort, many people who start using a probiotic notice they lose a little weight. That's your body working the way it should when it's healthy—quickly and efficiently.

And the surefire way to burn a few extra calories after a decadent Thanksgiving meal? Break a sweat.

While your metabolism does have a lot to do with things that you can't control like your age and gender, adding a few workouts into your life is one of the easiest ways to give your metabolic rate a little boost. Go for a 20-minute walk after dinner to aid digestion, or make time in your day for a short interval workout—you'll probably feel much better.

Zipper on your jeans still threatening to quit on you? Try detoxifying your liver, which surprisingly has a lot more to do with your metabolic rate than you might realize. This important organ supports digestion, controls blood sugar, regulates fat storage, and filters hormones. A lazy liver can lead to an increase in body fat storage and bloating, and might throw your hormones out of whack—so keeping it clean and working efficiently is incredibly important for anyone trying to lose weight.

My personal favorite liver detoxifier is roasted dandelion root tea. I'm obsessed with this stuff because it tastes kinda sweet and makes you feel fantastic. If you're not into the honeyed taste of dandelion root, you can detox your liver the good ol' fashioned way by eating beaucoup beets and leafy greens like kale, spinach, and broccoli. Too stuffed to even think about a leaf of lettuce? Pop a tablet of glutathione, a protein that boosts the production of liver detox enzymes.

Most importantly, remember that even after a really decadent meal not all is lost. Just because you slipped up a little doesn't mean your healthy eating habits are totally shot—they're not at all! Just pick yourself up the next morning, give yourself permission to start fresh, and try these little tips to feel better in no time.

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  • David Kessler

    Peppermint maybe great for digestion and appetite but I avoid it as a male because it reduces testosterone. see:
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15302514