Believe it or not, I’m not always the skinny, toned, porcelain skinned vision of health you often see floating around this blog. Sometimes I fall off the wagon health wise, and when I do, I do it spectacularly! When we went to Canada in September 2019, I out did myself on the wagon falling and managed to gain a whopping 8lbs in 2 weeks. Which is a personal record for me. Now, before anyone gets their knickers in a twist, this is in no way shape or form a fat shaming post or intended to make anyone feel bad about themselves. It’s merely pointing out that when I spend 14 days eating nothing but burgers and donuts and drinking 14 units of wine a day instead of a week, it doesn’t exactly leave me feeling my most spritely. So after I’ve been caning the booze and all the lard that Canada has to offer, or eating my body weight in Black Jacks and Fruit Salads, like I have been this Christmas, there’s a few failsafe tricks I adopt to try give my liver a bit of detox to make it feel less like a clubbed seal. Some are obvious, but some might be useful to know if you’ve been burning the candle at both ends.
Probably the most obvious one, but since while I’m on holiday or over Christmas my only hydration seems to come in either caffeinated or alcoholic form. Getting some water in my system is a must. I try and aim for three litres a day but to be honest anything over two litres is a massive improvement. I have a litre bottle on my desk at work which try and drink one of in the morning, and one in the afternoon, and one in the evening. It had handy time makers on too to make sure you’re on track. Not only does it fill me up a bit and stop my stretched stomached wanted to fill it with more donuts and burgers, it helps with my tired grey looking white wine skin.
I got into these when I started training for the Great North Run the first time but they actually work pretty well for all manner of ailments (a hangover being one of them – but that’s not what we’re talking about here). You can usually pick them up in most supermarkets and they don’t have to be the fancy sports one; rehydration salts you can buy for after you’ve had the trots or even berocca work just as well. I just add one to my first bottle of water of the day and it gives me a spring in my step and really helps to feel like I’m flushing myself full of good vitamins.
I mean the clues in the title but since watermelon is 90% water (1% melon, 9% seeds) it also aids with the old hydration. Not only that though but it contains a shittone of vitamins (C, A, B1, B5, B6, potassium and magnesium) so is great for your liver AND an amino acid called arginine, which helps burn fat quickly – so that’s a canny side effect. In fact it was my mate Laura who got me on to it after her busy summer flying all over the world. I buy the little snack packs from Asda (3 for £1) and have one before breakfast and before lunch to give my metabolism a swift kick into gear!
I’m pretty disgusted in myself for even typing this but much as it pains me to say, green tea does make me feel loads better when I’ve been treating my liver like a teenage lad on his first stag do. There’s nothing in this world that would make me walk away from my precious coffee, so that’s staying, despite how badly it might make me want chocolate with it. But I have been known to swap my third coffee of the morning for a green tea instead to help flush out some the badness. I don’t drink coffee in the afternoon, or I’ll be awake for the next three weeks so it’s sometimes nice to have a hot drink in the afternoon when everyone else if drinking their Yorkshire tea (bleurgh). Because if there’s one thing I hate more than ‘fruit teas’ it’s being left out of a drinks round of any kind.
The best advice I got about exercise and weight gain on holiday is to have a complete reset when you get back. Get all the past numbers you used to weigh out your head. Don’t compare yourself to what weight you were before you went away, or when you were at your slimmest, or that time after you had gastroenteritis for 3 weeks. Start from where you are now. This is what you weigh now, and X is were you want to be, so take it slowly. After I came back from eating Canada (you can check a map, it’s not there anymore, I ate it) so it stood to reason I wasn’t going to be able to get up and run a 10K like I could before I went. Get back into a routine, exercise slowly and regularly, and don’t beat yourself up about the fact 20 minutes on a cross-trainer now makes you breathe like a 90 year old with emphysema. You’ll build your fitness up again slowly. The increased metabolism that comes from regular gentle exercise can help to protected the liver against fatty deposits and inflammation so even a short walk every day will help towards your detox.
*obviously, I’m not a healthcare professional so if you have serious concerns about your liver, or your alcohol consumption, please see your GP