I write this post after coming off of a week-long vacation where there was a fair amount of indulgence and over-consumption. This was completely planned for and enjoyed. However, often times when I allow myself to go feral on vacation, I return home feeling bloated and not fantastic. To get back on track I make sure to have a plan in place before I get home. Because I believe in bio-individuality (each person is unique with unique nutrition requirements), each individual will have a unique plan that works for their chemistry, goals, and lifestyle.
My plan looks like something like this:
First, I have a firm start date, usually not the first day I get back to allow myself some time to unpack and get organized, check email, collect some groceries, and do some laundry.
Second, I usually eliminate alcohol immediately. This automatically reduces bloating and inflammation, gives the liver a break, and I instantly start to feel better which gives me motivation. I also drink a glass of water with 1 tablespoon of Braags Apple Cider Vinegar each morning upon rising. This helps regulate blood sugar levels, balance pH levels, improve digestion, and boost the immune system.
Next, I intermittent fast. I like to practice intermittent fasting for at least 3 days per week, with a window of about 16-18 hours of not eating. I know this sounds like a long time, but if you have your last meal at 6 pm and your next meal at 10:30 or 11 am, it isn't so bad. When I am fasting, I will usually have a smoothie or light meal at 10:30, then a normal lunch around 1 pm. There is a lot of research available out there about the benefits of intermittent fasting on the brain, hormones, weight management, and even blood pressure. When I am not fasting, I like to wait 5 hours in between meals to allow my insulin levels to come all the way down and give my digestive system a rest.
Additionally, I will often log my food while I am doing a strict re-entry/reset plan. I try to plan as many meals ahead as I can, and at least make sure I know what I am eating next. I make my worst decisions when I find myself in a situation of being hungry without a plan. I like to use the Carb Counter app to track my food because of the ease-of-use, and I like visual interface to see my macronutrient breakdown and total calories.
Finally, what foods do I eat when I am doing a reset? I eat a mixture of clean animal and plant proteins (pasture-raised chicken and eggs, wild caught fish, lentils); plenty of organic vegetables (especially leafy greens); at least 1-2 pieces of in-season organic fruit every day; plenty of healthy fats; and the grains that I tolerate the best which are oats and sourdough rye bread.
I follow this structure strictly for at least 1-2 weeks, and drink copious amounts of water throughout the day (approximately half my body weight in ounces of water per day). This regimen gets my system back on-track, flushes out excess water, fat, and toxins, and makes me feel balanced. Once I feel balanced, I allow myself to indulge 1-2 times per week.
I hope this gives you some ideas on developing a reset plan for yourself. Do you have things you like to do when coming off a period of indulgence? I would love to hear about what works for you!