7 ways to detox, recover and reset after the silly season


Christmas done and dusted.

How’s everyone feeling?

I’m writing this on the journey home from Vietnam, having spent the last week in Hoi An shopping, eating, sightseeing and relaxing.

Did I mention the eating?

Let’s just say it was more food than I’d usually consume. Mostly healthy Vietnamese food.

But by the end of the holiday (Christmas Day was our last full day there), things went somewhat downhill.

Christmas Day for me involved sleeping in, going to the gym, Christmas lunch at Morning Glory, an afternoon of shopping and coffee (and chocolate beetroot cake – ahem), and the evening (our last) in the resort bar enjoying happy hour cocktails and… ummmm…. pizza.

Cake, cocktails and pizza. Not foods I’ve consumed in the last 21 months.

I’m feeling a little rough. Bloated and headache-y.

And I’m ready to get back to my usual routine.

Detox, reset, recover

So this is the detox routine I do to reset and recover my body when I’ve done any of the following:

  • Gotten a little off track by being disorganised with meal planning
  • Have been eating out at restaurants and cafés too often
  • Had a free pass from Chris (my sister’s wedding and my weekend away with the girlfriends in Adelaide)
  • Overindulged and eaten too much food on holidays.

Please remember that I’m not a medical professional, dietitian or personal trainer (read more). I’m just sharing what I do to detox and reset (which I’ve learned from Chris).

I’d also emphasise that what I do is not particularly geared towards weight loss as the end result, though generally my weight goes down, as you’d expect when you start eating well after eating poorly.

This detox is about resetting my body and giving it the support needed to recover from over-indulging.

1. Sleep

The silly season is a time when regular sleep patterns get compromised due to end of year social activities that involve yummy food and lots of alcohol. Not only do you get less sleep, the quality is poor.

So… get more sleep and get back into a routine. Have a few afternoon naps if needed – it’s the holidays after all so there’s more time than usual to rest. I’m talking eight or nine hours a night if you can. People with little children… do your best!

Go to bed early and get up early, ideally at the same time each day.

When you’re tired, you look towards food for energy, eat more than you need to (and not the healthy stuff) and find it harder than usual to say no to unhealthy food.

Sleep is amazing for recovering your body when you’ve stuffed it with more food and alcohol than it’s used to, making it work overtime to process it all.

And finally, sleep helps to metabolise fat. Losing weight is hard work for your body, and giving it the rest needed to do its thing is important.

2. Water

Drink lots of water but don’t overdo it. Maybe three litres and more if you exercise. Don’t glug it down. Be like a water wheel and just keep sipping all day long. Hydration helps to flush out your system.

Drink tea and coffee (more about caffeine below), but skip the rest of the drink options including juice, diet drinks, soft drink and alcohol. Fruit and flavoured teas are great cold as well as hot. Add mint, cucumber or lemon to your water to make it a more interesting.

3. Caffeine

Caffeine is great for your metabolism. Some would say cut it out, but I would not say that. Because I would get The Rage and which would be counterproductive to all other things (like being pleasant to the people in my life). I have two cups of strong coffee every day. If you have a lot more than this, you might want to cut back a little, especially if you think it interferes with how well you sleep.

Chris would say drink black coffee. If you can do that, fantastic. I’m not tough enough for black coffee. But during this few days of detox I’ll try and have coffee with a little milk rather than my favourite skinny cappuccino.

If you have sugar in your coffee… I would suggest not having sugar in your coffee. Perhaps practice with some Splenda or….. go cold turkey *ducks for cover*.



4. Nutrition

Keep it simple with meat, seafood, eggs, green salad and green vegetables with perhaps some baby tomatoes and pumpkin thrown in for colour.

Skip all the white carbs, (rice, pasta, bread, potato, and biscuits), fruit (you’re giving your body a break from the sugar), cheese, yoghurt (no dairy ideally, though I still have milk in my coffee), and definitely no junk food or refined sugar.

For me this might look like scrambled eggs or a protein shake for breakfast, tuna salad for lunch and roasted or poached chicken for dinner with roasted or steamed vegetables.

This detox isn’t about eating very little food, it’s about eating the best foods for your body that support it to recover from a blow out.

So eat enough so that you’re full and you don’t get hungry in between meals. My lunch salad would include the equivalent of two small tins of tuna or fresh smoked salmon, half an avocado, a boiled egg, lettuce, spring onion, broccoli and a couple of baby tomatoes. The protein plus the healthy fat from the avocado and egg keeps you full. Having a small tin of tuna with shredded lettuce will not.

Ideally, don’t eat between meals. This break gives your body time to process the food, rest and recover. If you’re constantly eating, your body is always busy processing food when it just needs time to just chill out.

If you’re hungry in between meals, firstly, try eating a little more at the actual meals. Drink some tea, fruit teas, or coffee (coffee is a great hunger suppressant), or mash up some boiled eggs and stuff them into celery sticks.

A note on smoothies and protein shakes. These are hugely popular right now, but many of the recipes I read are the equivalent of pouring sugar straight into your bloodstream.

Here’s a protein smoothie recipe that I use for breakfast. This recipe was designed by my friend Felicity to meet my ‘no refined sugar but please make it taste yummy’ requirement.

  • 250ml of unsweetened almond and coconut milk (this one is 44 calories and 1g of carbs per 250ml)
  • One serve of chocolate protein powder (I use Teresa Cutter from The Healthy Chef because it’s natural with no additive and I also recommend Vivo Active for the same reasons (use the Coco Bliss flavour for this smoothie recipe)
  • One teaspoon of dark cocoa or cacao powder
  • One teaspoon of maca powder
  • One teaspoon of Amazonia raw greens powder
  • One teaspoon of vanilla
  • A handful of fresh mint
  • Half a tray of ice

Blend and enjoy.

When I’m not doing the detox and just eating my regular diet, I’d also include 30 grams of rolled oats and blend those in as well. It’s the perfect balanced breakfast and the chocolate mint flavour is lovely.

5. Move

Getting your heart rate up will burn up the excess sugar and alcohol that’s swishing around your body and making you feel ick.

If you’ve barely exercised for the past six months (or more!), please don’t decide that today is the day to go for a run. A fast walk will be just fine.

For me, because I exercise regularly, I need to run, walk uphill on a treadmill, ride a spin bike hard or get on the stairmaster to get the blood pumping.

The important thing is to get your heart rate up which you’ll know is happening if you’re getting a bit puffed out. So get out and kick a ball with the kids, take a brisk walk or go for a ride or swim.

And um… you don’t need to ‘fuel’ before or after moving… your body is all fueled up after the silly season.

If you feel hungry, eat something from the food list and have a drink. And no sports drinks at all. They are completely unnecessary.

6. Productivity

When you’re feeling puffy and ick, it’s tempting to sit on your backside and mindlessly faff on Facebook and surf the net. Or watch DVDs. Or just sit.

But there is a real feel good factor about getting stuff done.

You might sit down and write your New Year’s resolutions, plan your holidays for the year ahead, go through the mail pile that has stacked up in December and do all the filing, answer your emails and get to Inbox Zero (this one makes me feel so good), or go through the cupboards and do a clothes clear out.

I’m not suggesting filling your days with dull chores, but at this time of year, when the lure of a fresh start and New Year possibilities abound, getting stuff done will make you feel great.

7. Be kind to yourself

One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned over the course of my own healthy living project is that you must be positive, encouraging and kind to yourself.

Don’t beat yourself up for losing the plot and eating and drinking All The Things over the silly season.

Look forward to the next phase and tell yourself each day that you’re amazing and you can do this.

And well done to you for that.

Take action

So there you have it, my detox reset and recovery strategy. No special products or potions, just seven easy actions that will help you bring your healthy eating plan back into line.

  1. Sleep
  2. Water
  3. Caffeine
  4. Nutrition
  5. Move
  6. Productivity
  7. Be kind to yourself

Whether it’s after Christmas, New Year, Easter or a long weekend, you can feel good and be back in control in just a few days.

I would suggest putting this in place for a minimum of three days and a maximum of seven, though most of these strategies are for life, but a couple of days of this will detox and reset your body.

Know that on the first day you’ll feel hungry; your body wants more sugar and carbs. Feed it from the suggested food list instead.

In 24 hours you’ll start to feel less bloated and a whole lot better.

In 48 hours you’ll likely have a massive headache which is the withdrawal from alcohol, sugar and carbs.

In 72 hours you’ll feel clear headed, not bloated, back in control and headache free.

Now home in Brisbane and editing this post, I’m almost at 48 hours. And I’m looking forward to tomorrow!

Good luck and let me know how you go in the comments section.

Are you ready to detox Frock Friends?

Or are you waiting until the New Year?

  • I have been on forced detox this Christmas. Only one teeny tiny piece of cheesecake was consumed from the dessert table.

    How good is sleep! Sleep can cure so many meltdowns, both physical and mental.

    • Well done you Karin! Must have been hard over Christmas – but not long now until the baby’s due 🙂 Oh sleep – I feel like it cures all! I can manage anything when I have lots of sleep, and seem to manage very little when I’m tired!

  • Sara Reynolds

    emm, can u buy those items like greens powder and natural choc powder in gen health stores?

    • Hello lovely, you can definitely get greens powder and the cacao powder in the health stores, and often now in the health foods section of the supermarket. I get the maca powder from the supermarket.

      You can also get this dark cocoa from the supermarket in the baking section – it’s cheaper and easier to find than cacao powder – http://www.nestle.com.au/brands/plaistowe

      The Amazonia brand greens powder, I get from the reception area of one of the gyms I go to at Go Health in Westfield Carindale, but there are other stockists around Brisbane listed here if you put in 4000 – http://www.amazonia.com.au/retail-locator/ – though there are lots of different brands of greens powders. I have it on good authority that Amazonia is one of the better tasting greens powder (they taste like grass) – the great thing about mint in the smoothie as it covers this up nicely!

      The Teresa Cutter protein powder is only online through her site (though you can use your protein powder of choice), and VivoActive is stocked in various places around Brisbane though this info isn’t listed on their website but I can see that it is on their Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/VIVOActiveAlkalineCompletePlantBasedNutrition

      I recommend the Coco Bliss flavour from VivoActive for the smoothie recipe I included in this post.

      Hope that’s helpful 🙂 Let me know how you go!