Expert Voices

7 Simple Steps for a Post-Holiday Health Detox

Katherine Tallmadge's Butternut Squash Soup with Curry and Ginger, detox
Katherine Tallmadge's Butternut Squash Soup with Curry and Ginger, a recipe from her book "Diet Simple Farm to Table Recipes." (Image credit: Katherine Tallmadge.)

Katherine Tallmadge, M.A., R.D., is a registered dietitian, noted motivational and wellness speaker, author of "Diet Simple: 195 Mental Tricks, Substitutions, Habits & Inspirations" (LifeLine Press, 2011) and a frequent national commentator on nutrition topics. This Op-Ed was adapted from a post on Tallmadge's website. Tallmadge contributed this article to LiveScience's Expert Voices: Op-Ed & Insights.

Wouldn't you love to spend the next week at a luxurious spa to shed those holiday pounds? Impractical? Okay, create a "home health spa" with my post-holiday detox plan, and you can get pretty darn close to feeling like you are visiting a real spa.

Katherine Tallmadge's favorite breakfast: Oatmeal with fruit and nuts. (Image credit: Katherine Tallmadge.)
  1. Minesweep for calorie bombs. Banish any "risky," fattening or unhealthy foods from the house.
  2. Control your environment. Don't be a disorganized eater. Stock your home (and office) with delicious, healthy foods, such as with batch recipes; piles of clean, chopped, ready-to-grab fruit and veggie dishes and snacks; and delicious yogurts and dips.
  3. Hit the ground running. Start every day with physical activity. Don't even think about it! Before checking email, taking phone calls or applying make-up, get out the door for a walk, jump on your home treadmill, go to bootcamp or go to the gym. You can also start the day with yoga — I believe in yoga for providing strength, balance and flexibility, and at a lower cost than many gyms.
  4. Eat breakfast every morning. You should eat breakfast, preferably at home, so you're not tempted by the bagel-the-size-of-your-head at the office. Skimping on breakfast usually backfires and causes over-eating later.
  5. Eat light at night. At nighttime, you want to consume fewer calories than you would early in the day. Soup is ideal for helping you feel satisfied with fewer calories, so you don't go to bed feeling too full and can wake up hungry for a good breakfast in the morning.
  6. Sleep at least seven to eight hours, nightly. Study after study has shown that sleep disturbances are correlated with weight problems.
  7. It takes a village. Spend your time with like-minded people and avoid people who will sabotage your goals. This is an important feature of being at a spa, one reason being there makes achieving weight-loss goals so easy. If your spouse or friends are not on board, it will be difficult to stick with any plan.

Yoga can be a powerful tool to help you improve overall health. Here, Katherine Tallmadge presents a side plank pose at Georgetown Yoga. (Image credit: Katherine Tallmadge.)

The Battle of the Bulge is won at the margins. Sweeping dietary overhauls are impractical and don't work over time. Instead, shrewd, small, concrete changes that you can easily incorporate into your daily routine will lead to success. For a fast approach, try the following four tips.

Katherine's Detox Diet for losing weight fast

If you're a topical expert — researcher, business leader, author or innovator — and would like to contribute an op-ed piece, email us here.
  1. Eat a large, balanced — delicious — breakfast that you enjoy, comprising at least one third of your day's calories.
  2. Add any veggie soup (no, it doesn't have to be cabbage soup!) before each lunch and dinner. Try the recipe for Katherine's "Cleansing" Veggie Soup.
  3. At lunch and dinner, eat only lean proteins — such as seafood, poultry, extra-lean red meat, fruits and veggies (fruits and veggies are an unlimited item in your menu). Banish refined starchy foods and sugars from lunch and dinner until you lose your desired weight.
  4. Eat plenty of yogurt. Why yogurt? A body of scientific evidence is building that yogurt may help keep you lean. A Harvard study found eating yogurt is correlated with lower body weight. A more recent study found changing the bacteria in your gastrointestinal tract to healthier strains may make it easier for some people to lose weight. Yogurt contains probiotics which provide beneficial bacteria in your gastrointestinal tract that help your immune system and may even keep you lean.
  5. You must build up to at least 10,000 pedometer steps minimum — but 12,000 to 15,000 steps per day average — to lose weight and transform your health with ease.

Katherine Tallmadge "detoxing" at the Four Seasons Health Club in Georgetown. (Image credit: Katherine Tallmadge.)

These detox tips contain real food you can actually chew … Delicious, satisfying, loaded with nutrients and naturally fiber-rich, for natural "cleansing!"

All of these goals, along with recipes and tips, came from Diet Simple, which also includes batch recipes to stock your home and office with healthy foods, creative ways to boost physical activity, and tricks for handling situations — and people — who become obstacles to your health goals.

Tallmadge's most recent Op-Ed was "Six Science-Based Strategies to Beat Holiday Bloat" and her additional contributions are available on her profile page. Her latest book is "Diet Simple Farm to Table Recipes: 50 New Reasons to Cook In Season." You can follow Tallmadge on Facebook, Twitter @KETallmadge and on YouTube. The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the publisher. This version of the article was originally published on LiveScience.