We’ve got a new theory on how to holiday detox, and we know it might sound slightly crazy, so bear with us. Here’s the key: start your detox right now, so you can safely retox later.
Seriously! Rather than saving your detox for all those post-New Year’s resolution promises, when you’re already suffering from the added stress, puffiness, and acne of higher-than-usual sugar and alcohol intake, start now. A good baseline—meaning, going into the holidays fit, glowing, dazzling, and really feeling it—will mean making even better choices during the holidays, rather than accelerating a slide into winter doldrums. Making choices based on your gorgeous pre-holiday self will limit holiday damage, and that’s the absolute best thing you can do for your body (besides SPF, of course).
Here, a few tips to get your pre-holiday fitness program started off right.
FOCUS ON NUTRITION + WELLNESS NOW, NOT LATER
Dana James tells us that when you build the foundation, your brain will adapt. “When you’ve established good eating habits, it’s much easier to say, ‘No, I’m going to have one dessert—not five.’ Keri Glassman also warns strongly of yo-yo dieting around the holidays. Extreme dieting, including severe calorie restriction and dramatic dietary changes can increase the hormone cortisol, which wreaks havoc on your health. It increases your risk of developing certain diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and cancer. Starting your detox now will mean setting a pattern and sticking to it, rather than dive-bombing into a strict diet after indulging over the holidays.
Related Read: Sometimes, Frozen Is Actually Better Than Fresh
Keri warns that the yo-yo dieting style can have serious beauty drawbacks, too. “There is tons of evidence that people who live the longest, with the best mortality rates are those who are constantly eating slightly less than they need to be satisfied and maintaining a low body weight for their height. This is, in part, due to hormonal actions being optimized. If the caloric restriction is too severe, hormones don’t work as efficiently. You can see this as nutrient deficiencies that pop up with symptoms such as dry skin, brittle hair and nails and dull skin.”
One great way to stay on track is to have healthy meals and snacks on hand at all times. And in addition to helping you eat healthy, nutrient-rich frozen smoothies are great to have on hand to curb dessert or sweet cravings, or even alcohol cravings. Rachel Drori, founder of Daily Harvest, created her frozen smoothies for just that reason. As a busy mom, she just didn’t have the time to take care of herself—she became a sort of poster-mom for misunderstood frozen foods. “They have a bad reputation, but frozen foods are actually captured at peak nutrition.” In other words, not only are you curbing a bad habit, you’re eating even healthier than usual!
NOTES ON FITNESS
As the weather chills, people who normally exercise outside might be more inclined to hit the gym, and then, as it gets even colder, unwilling to endure the cold commute. Wellness specialist and yogi Sarah Anne Stewart recommends keeping the body warm at home with a vigorous yoga flow to warm the vital organs. “Since we don’t get enough sun in the winter,” she explains, “practice a yoga sequence with plenty of sun salutations to awaken yourself both physically and mentally.”
Related Read: How Often Are Cheat Meals Really Allowed?
Another great solution to cold-weather fears? Workout at home! There are so many great apps on the market these days, there’s no excuse: plus, if you’re skipping the gym because of time constraints, cut out the commute by downloading a great at-home workout program.
FALL IS BUSY: HOW DOES SLEEP FIT INTO THE PRE-HOLIDAY DETOX?
Fitness maven Anna Kaiser of AKT is a master at making exercise fun—plus she’s essentially an energizer bunny—but she reminds us not to miss out on sleep. “If you miss out on sleep,” she explains, “you become hungrier and lack energy, holding onto excess water and weight. If you have a choice where you’ve only been sleeping five or six hours and can sleep an extra hour or work out, sleep an extra hour.”
THE FINAL ELEMENT: SKINCARE + BEAUTY
Your skin, of course, is the ultimate palette for showing signs of stress, poor diet, lack of sleep, and over-wine-dulging. Follow our tips for food, exercise, and sleep, and you’re already well on your way to great skin. But in addition to all that, book an appointment with your dermatologist to discuss any pre-holiday treatments you’re considering. You should also pay special attention to drying, irritated, weather-related problems: switch to a hydrating winter sunscreen, invest in a humidifier, and consider using an oil cleanser to combat the seasonal changes.
READERS—Ready to start your detox? Dermstore partnered with Charlotte’s Book to create this amazing sweepstake! Click the link to enter.