The winter holiday season is a time to share fun, warmth, and gifts with friends and family.
It is also the time to share an abundance of food and drink. Unfortunately, much of that food and drink can be overly laden with sugar, fat, carbohydrates, and alcohol, all of which will eventually catch up with your patients after the last of the Christmas cookies have been eaten and the final bottle of New Year’s champagne has been finished off.
You should not be surprised to have them show up in your office beginning the first week in January, complaining of feeling listless, tired, and bloated. Add in the almost inevitable weight gain as a result of overindulgence in rich food and drink, and you have the perfect recipe for patients in need of detoxing after two months of holiday excesses.
So, what is the answer to all of this holiday binging?
Having your patients start on a routine of detoxing, preferably even before January 2, will help their bodies purge the excess sugar, fats, and carbohydrates, and stay on an even keel to start out the New Year.
Below are some suggestions you can offer to your patients to get them started on their detox program.
The holiday season is often a time when we tend to overdo not only alcohol but also flavored specialty coffee drinks, hot cocoa, and spiced cider—all of which are often laden with sugar. While we may think these are keeping us hydrated, the exact opposite is true.
Alcohol, caffeine, and sugar are known diuretics. This is why one of the key components to a good detox plan is to increase water consumption, while at the same time cutting back on alcohol, sugar, and caffeine.
A good rule of thumb is to aim for 64 ounces of water per day, preferably noncarbonated. Decaffeinated mint tea, which will aid digestion and help combat bloat, can also help the body recover.
Get eating habits back on track
If your patients have spent the holidays loading up on seasonal treats, odds are good they will regret their overindulgence once January rolls around. One way you can help your patients detox from their dietary excesses is to steer them back on course toward healthier food.
Ease them back into this by recommending a comprehensive multivitamin that provides the nutrients needed to help flush those holiday toxins out of their system.
You can also start encouraging other changes in eating habits, such as slowly adding back in fresh fruits and vegetables until patients have four to five servings a day in a variety of colors to cover all the nutrients their bodies need. At the same time, get them to cut back on sugar, carbs, and alcohol.
Ease into exercise
Unfortunately, all of those delicious holiday baked goods can pack on unwanted pounds. This is why exercise is an important part of getting your patients into a post-holiday detox routine.
As with getting patients back on track with their diet, the key is to start slow, lest they get frustrated and quit before the month of January is up. Suggest yoga, Pilates, or tai chi as ways to slowly build strength and flexibility, while at the same time overcoming post-holiday stress. Over time, your patients can build up to walking, biking, or perhaps other more active exercises.
If you can get your patients to do a post-holiday detox routine as a gradual process, it will be less of a shock to the system, both physically and mentally. Your patients will begin to see small results, which will encourage them to stick with the program as they move forward past the New Year.