7 Damage Control Tips for After Thanksgiving

So you did it. No holds barred, you ate what you wanted, had seconds, and had a slice of each of the three pies offered for dessert.... Hmmm and maybe a little more booze than a typical weekday? Whatever, it's done, it was fun, hopefully really yummy. Now your body is doing it's job and storing all those extra calories as fat for future use. Don't freak!

Here are a few ways to undo the damage by simply using that body fat:

1. Give your body a full day (at least 16 and up to 36 hours if you can hack it) of fasting. Seriously, our bodies were built for feast and famine. That's what the darn turkey holiday is really about... the bountiful harvest after times of famine (and inviting the native people who weren't slaughtered to partake). Drink coffee, tea or vitamin infused water. Done regularly, intermittent fasting has been showing promising results for weight loss, management, longevity, brain function and is even being studied for help in treating cancer. See my previous post about it's benefits with links to studies.

2. Do a liquid day. I'm not suggesting a juice fast with that uses sweet fruits or vegetables though. That spikes the insulin response which pulls the sugar out of your blood stream and makes you feel that crash. A lot of people swear by those $7 -10 kale juices, but I prefer just coffee or tea (for like .35) and high protein smoothie or two.

3. Drink Vitamin C and anti-inflammatory elixir to make you feel less puffy. Boil water and add a teaspoon of fresh grated ginger. Steep it to make a "tea" then strain out the ginger pulp. Squeeze in a half a lemon and violá! It's good hot or cold.

4. Workout before you eat anything (coffee or tea will help suppress the appetite). There are two schools of thought on this topic. One says working out on a fasted stomach can help you burn more calories from fat. The other says don't do it or, that it doesn't make much of a difference in the long run. Personally I'm in first camp based on my own experience. However, if you feel weak and lightheaded from not eating, you won't get a good workout, will you? I put about 5 - 10 grams of BCAAs (branch chain amino acids) and a vitamin supplement with Creatine hcl (and a little caffeine) in my water and I'm cranking. The BCAAs help muscle synthesis. Caffeine by the way is a performance enhancer so you can workout a little harder with less fatigue. If you ate yourself into a stupor the day before, working out and skipping a meal can help you get your caloric intake back in balance.

5. Clean up the leftovers. Toss or give away the unhealthy sides (sorry stuffing) and desserts. Save the turkey sans gravy. Scramble it with egg whites and leftover veggies. For lunch or dinner, put the turkey, beans, brussels sprouts, quinoa, etc. over a bed of fresh greens and toss with balsamic vinegar. Skip the sandwich part.

6. Get a lot of extra sleep if you're feeling tired and fried. It's hard to over eat when you're snoozing. And, it helps reset your hunger hormones. Research has shown that lack of sleep upsets your ghrelin and leptin levels which can affect your weight.

7. Drop the carbs and go for the fat. Whaaaat? Remember the Atkins Diet where you could wrap a sausage in bacon and smother it in cheese and still lose weight as long as you barely eat carbs? Dr. Atkins popularized the "ketogenic diet" for a while which is basically a high fat, moderate protein and low carbohydrate diet. Do a search for "ketogenic diet" on PubMed.gov and well over 1,500 published papers pop up, many from just this the past year. It's a hot topic in the research world and these studies are showing some remarkable results - not just inweight loss, but with cancer, diabetes and even epilepsy. I suspect the ketogenic diet is going to be a big deal again only with a healthier spin - a "Modified Atkins Diet."

If nothing else, parking far from your mall entrance and a marathon shopping day (in person, not online) is another way to burn off at least a few of the excess calories.