New Year's Eve: Detox To Retox
Finally, a holiday I can stand behind. Maybe it’s my love of bubbly drinks or the fact that the whole world seems to participate in the biggest cocktail party of the year, but New Year’s Eve stands apart. Of course, raising a glass to Auld Lang Syne comes at a cost. I get a headache just thinking about all the late-night indulgences ahead on the evening of December 31.
“It’s a good time of year to rejuvenate your bodily systems,” says detox expert Ann Louise Gittleman, Ph.D., CNS, author of Fat Flush for Life. “After all, they usually become sluggish from all the overindulging that starts at the Thanksgiving dinner table and continues throughout the holidays.”
Use those six days between Christmas and New Year’s to clean up your mind, your body -- basically your entire act -- before you get a little crazy on the last eve of the year. (And, no we're not going to tell you to live off ice cubes or anything like that.) These simple tips will help you clean up your system starting December 26, so you'll feel your best when ringing in 2014.
Eat Protein In The Morning
Good news: Not all cleanses are about deprivation. In fact, according to a recent study, eating more protein in the morning will help you eat healthier for the rest of the day. When subjects consumed a breakfast high in protein (think sausage and eggs, not carb-loading pancakes and syrup), they consumed fewer calories over the course of the day. The reason? Protein keeps us feeling full longer, and therefore helps rein in the brain activity that urges us to overeat, according to another study. Aim to consume 20 to 25 grams of protein in a 350-calorie meal.
Freeze Temptation (And Your Credit Line)
It's true: Doing away with your cards may seem even more severe than a 30-day juice cleanse. But the convenience of buying with plastic seems to hurt your waistline as much as your credit line. Those who slap down a credit card spend about 40 percent more on unhealthy foods than people who use cash. So banish your cards for the week like I do: by putting them in a bowl of water and putting them in the freezer. They’re temporarily difficult to use -- yet can be thawed in minutes come December 31.
(Quickly) Sweat It Out!
When you have just six days to detox, you really want your exercise plan to pack a wallop. Aim for short bouts of intense exercise (rather than longer, slower regimens) to boost blood flow to the parts of the brain associated with self-control and higher brain function. Even really short stints in strenuous one- to two-minute-intervals (think: bolting up the stairs and skipping the elevator) will help.
Give Up Screens
This can also seem pretty radical when you’re trying to organize your New Year’s Eve plans. But if you’re on a detox, this hard-core move promises an easier pre-party purge. Over and over again, research has shown that when we spend too much time in front of a screen (from TV to computers, digital tablets to smartphones), we lose self-control, which leads to behaviors we're sorry about later (read: overeating, overspending). So step away from the screen for six days. Don’t worry: You can catch up on everything you missed come January 1.
Bathe In Epsom Salts
Flush out your body while you’re detoxing. Adding Epsom salts (aka magnesium sulfate crystals) to your bath water may reduce inflammation in tight muscles and pull toxins out of your body. The reason? The magnesium absorbed by your skin helps to dull pain receptors to your brain. Meanwhile, the sulfate loosens you up so you feel less stiff and more relaxed. Add a cup of crystals to lukewarm bath water and soak for 15 minutes three times this week to really make this bath worth its salt.