I don’t know about you, but my body is still deep in holiday cookie mode. If I turn my focus away for a minute, I find myself viscously beheading yet another gingerbread man, like a remorseless psychopath. I am a cookie monster, and I shiver at the thought of a cookie-less January cleanse. But, nevertheless, all great cookie binges must end.
For years I made the mistake of starting an intense, deprivation-ridden cleanse on January 1st. Talk about setting myself up for failure! But weaning myself off of cookies isn’t going to be a problem this year. Why? Because my January cleanse has nothing to do with cookies. In fact, it doesn’t even involve removing anything from my diet. This a simple cleanse is perfect for people who hate cleanses, diets and feeling deprived. It’s all about getting more of these 3 things:
1. Eat more vegetables
Yes, we all need to eat less sugar and refined carbs now that the holiday season is at an end, but just cutting them out is not the answer. That type of strict dieting is what leads to binges and the inevitable feeling of failure. Instead, focus on eating more vegetables. And I mean a lot of vegetables. Try eating 2 servings of veggies at every meal. Incorporate raw veggie sticks into your snacks. Make more green smoothies and green juices. Lightly steam vegetable sides. Trade rice and noodles for spiralized veggies. Do whatever you have to do to eat as many veggies as you feel you can. Once you train your body to crave vegetables again, those cookie cravings will fade into the past.
2. Drink more water
Not only is winter dehydrating, but the holiday season is dehydrating. All that alcohol, heavy food, salt and sugar can really do a number on your body’s water stores. So, drink more water. Start each day with one or two tall glasses of warm water (with lemon if you have it). Try to tune in to your body’s signals for water. Is your throat dry? Are you craving a juicy snack? Are you lethargic or developing a headache? Drink some water! Invest in a 32 ounce water bottle and try to drain it at least 3 times a day. It will be a challenge at first, but it’s a lot easier than completely ditching alcohol and coffee for a month.
Related: 8 Common Myths About Dehydration
3. Move a little more every day.
As an active person, I know that I have been incredibly inactive for the past 2 weeks (and oh, the cookies!). I know from experience that the more inactive you become, the more challenging it is to get started again. Don’t let the holiday coziness become a winter-long habit. Move your body every day, even if it is just taking the stairs instead of the elevator or doing 50 sets of ab exercises right before bed. An easy way to incorporate movement is to spend 10 minutes upon waking to take your body through some gentle stretches. Not only will it help you feel happier and more limber, but it circulates your lymph which can support your immune system. Take that, winter flu!
That’s it! Do those 3 simple things 80 percent of the time and you’ll feel incredible. If you want to get fancy and add a fourth, try to get plenty of sleep, but hey, baby steps. Don’t spend January focusing on what you can’t have. Just focus on adding healthy things back in. It’s a more positive outlook, and it’s always the path of least resistance.
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