American College of Nutrition Certified Nutrition Specialist | Author | Professor of Nutrition


How to Hit the Reset Button

my family at the Natural History MuseumThe last two weeks have been like a vacation, although not a vacation. My 5 and 7 year old nephews (and their parents) have been visiting. If you want to remember what true exhaustion feels like take two super-smart kids to the California Science Center and the Natural History Museum on the same day.

So basically we have been eating like company is here and like we are on vacation for the past two weeks. That’s a lot of eating. Eating desserts, eating appetizers, eating snacks, eating at food courts. Not my usual diet, and I am feeling bloated, sluggish and unhealthy.

I need to recover from my vacation!  Its so easy to fall back into unhealthy habits. After a few days they start to feel natural again. Except when you try to zip up your pants.

If this happens to you, don’t despair and don’t give up! You haven’t ruined anything, and you haven’t messed up, and you haven’t undone all the good you did before the vacation. You enjoyed yourself and that’s fine.  You can recover and feel better quickly.

All you need is a quick reset.  reset button

The best way to hit the reset button and feel good again quickly is like pulling off a band aid. It may seem harsh, but if you rip it off all at once the pain is gone fast.

I’m doing it right now and in just three days I am almost back to my old self.

Follow this plan for at least a week and you will be amazed.

The Plan

  1. Stop eating added sugars. I am not talking about fruit, fruit is good. Stop eating sugars like desserts, candy, ice cream, cookies, flavored yogurts, sugary cereals, syrup and all the things we put syrup on, and sweetened drinks. Anything with sugar or syrup on the ingredient list is out.
  2. Eat a salad or some dark, leafy greens every day. Greens are superfoods and they will reverse the clock better than anything else.
  3. Switch back to whole grains – bread, crackers, etc. Brown rice, farro, quinoa, and sweet potatoes should take the place of Ritz crackers, white rice, white bread and white potatoes.
  4. Get some legumes every day. Chickpeas, hummus, edamame, black beans, kidney beans, pinto beans, white beans, and lentils all count.
  5. Drink at least six glasses of water a day
  6. Eat at least two servings of fruit each day. All fruits count, so get a variety. Berries should be one of the servings if possible.
  7. Get back on your exercise plan as soon as possible. It will feel strange the first time, then normal again. It will help you sleep and recover.
  8. Avoid alcohol if drinking more than usual was part of your vacation.

That’s it. If you think about making sure just about everything you eat doesn’t need an ingredient label you’ll be in good shape. Even if you only do half of these, you are doing yourself a big favor.

Holiday Party You will be very happy that Post Vacation You got back on track right away.

My daily plan looks something like this:

Breakfast: Grape Nuts cereal with unsweetened vanilla almond milk and strawberries OR oatmeal with almond milk, blueberries and ground flax meal

Snack: a piece of fruit

Lunch: whole grain crackers (like Ak-Mak) with hummus and tomatoes, carrots and celery dipped in hummus OR my current favorite salad of cauliflower rice, lentils, avocado, tomato, and scallion with olive oil/ lemon juice dressing

Snack: nuts, a handful or two

Dinner: big green salad plus black bean and quinoa bowl with salsa OR ratatouille with white beans and a green salad OR stir fry with tofu, lots of veggies and brown rice

If this looks too daunting, just do one meal at a time. Start with breakfast, when that seems normal change lunch, and once that becomes a habit fix dinner. Its not a race. The sooner you get started doing even one thing, the sooner you will feel better.

This plan works. I use it, my clients use it, and if you use it you will see results.

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