It started with a bite-sized cookie. A sip of beer. A handful of chips. You promised yourself today would be different. And you were doing so well! But that was days ago. And now it’s days later and you’re in the same sorry state: groggy, bloated and (at least) 5 pounds heavier than you were before you caved to that first cookie. Now what? Before you launch into a new regime, kickstart your weight loss with the easiest 24-hour cleanse of your life. These simple, by-the-hour Eat This, Not That! detox tips will help you beat the bloat, boost your metabolism and exceed your weight loss goals without having to do a full-blown juice cleanse.
7:30 AM—Skip Breakfast
Sorry, kitchen’s closed! At least for 12 hours since you last ate. Nighttime fasting—or reducing your “eating window”—may help to reset your metabolism and burn the extra glucose in your system after a period of overindulgence, according to a study in the journal Cell Metabolism. Researchers put groups of mice on a high-fat, high-calorie diet for 100 days (and you thought the 12 days of Christmas were bad!). Half the mice were allowed to nibble throughout the night and day on a healthy, controlled diet, while the others only had access to food for eight hours, but could eat whatever they wanted. The result of the 16-hour food ban? The fasting mice stayed lean, while the mice who noshed ‘round the clock became obese—even though both groups consumed the same amount of calories! There are more aggressive fasting protocols, but 12 hours without food is enough for most people to enter into a fasted state, according to some experts.
8 AM—Take a Brisk Walk Outside
This easy a.m. ritual works on two levels. First, a recent study found that exposure to UV rays, even on a cloudy day, between the hours of 8 am and noon reduces your risk of weight gain regardless of activity level, caloric intake, or age. Researchers speculate that the morning light synchronizes your metabolism and undercut your fat genes. And burning calories before you eat means you’re exercising in a fasted state—the energy you burn comes right from your fat stores instead of the glucose still in your system. According to some studies, exercising in a fasted state can burn almost 20 percent more fat compared to exercising with fuel in the tank.
9 AM—Replenish with Spa Water
Drink water to lose water! Cocktails are abundant over the holidays, as well as salty nosh and nibbles—all of which can leave you dehydrated and bloated. Alcohol and salt throw off the effect of antidiuretic hormone on the kidneys—the chemical that controls how much you urinate. As a result, you pee frequently and body holds on to what little water is left; that’s why you feel bloated. Start replenishing your body asap with a large pitcher of water with sliced whole lemons and oranges for natural detoxifying benefits. Citrus fruits are rich in the antioxidant de-limonene, a powerful compound found in the peel that stimulates liver enzymes to help flush toxins from the body and gives sluggish bowels a kick, according to the World Health Organization.