Post-Holiday Recovery

It’s two days after the big event. You’re just now waking up from the gastric coma. And, depending on how faithful you were to the Primal Blueprint throughout the week (a tall order, I know, especially for those of us who grew up eating carb-laden Thanksgivings), you’ll be recovering from varying levels of glycemic shock. Oh, sure, you tried to follow our Primal eating plans as best you could, but once the relatives started showing up bearing steaming trays of stuffing, flaky-crusted pies, and gallons of mashed potatoes… it all just sorta fell apart. That first tentative bite of cornbread dressing led to a second, and a third, and that’s where you lost control. Hey, I get it. We all get wistful for the food of yore, especially around the holidays.

Don’t feel bad. Imagine if Grok happened across a classic Thanksgiving spread. You don’t think he’d go to town on it (and probably suffer for it in the morning)? The guy would be choking on mashed potatoes and guzzling gravy. Such a self-indulgent foray into the world of forbidden foods can actually be a good thing – the post-meal pain you’ll undoubtedly suffer will only help you realize why you went Primal in the first place. It’s like when your dad catches you smoking and makes you smoke the entire pack in one sitting. Negative reinforcement – pretty effective stuff.

So the deed is done, and now it’s time for recovery. And when you factor in family-induced stress – drunken uncles, awkward meetings with new significant others, the inevitable standoff between two feisty aunts who both brought stuffing – the need for post-holiday relief and recovery is undeniable. So what can you do to hasten your swift recovery?

Take a Walk


There’s nothing like a nice long walk in the fall – swirling multicolored leaves, crisp air that cools your throat, brilliant filtered sunlight. Take along your loved ones and your dog. You’ll get some light, steady exercise and plenty of vitamin D from the sun. Nothing too strenuous (unless you feel up to it), but be sure to maintain a steady clip and keep your heart-rate at a good level.

Lift Stuff


You’ve just eaten a year’s worth of protein and fat (and probably a few too many carbs) – now make those nutrients work for you! Get a good weight-lifting session in. Go hard and fast. Lift heavy. If you have access to a gym, or you’ve constructed one at home, hit the Olympic lifts. Squats, deadlifts, bench presses – those big, compound movements we love so much will shock your body and engage most of your muscles, leaving you sweaty, breathless, and feeling better.


Meditate on Beach

We’ve discussed the empirical health benefits of meditation in the past, but it’s also – by definition and by practice – very relaxing. And relaxation might be just what you need after a whirlwind holiday of family, food, and fuss. Retire to a room, or find a nice quiet spot outside – just anywhere you won’t be disturbed – and take a half hour to sit in solitude, alone with your thoughts. Breathe deeply, incant a calming word or two, savor the moment. Be aware. Just be. You don’t have to make it a formal exercise with spiritual undertones; the important thing is taking time for yourself. Whether that means turning inward while undergoing sensory deprivation in the darkest room in your house, or sitting amongst the trees and appreciating nature, you will be one step closer to full recovery from the madness of the holiday.

Don’t Shop

Busy Mall

The post-holiday sales can be mighty tempting. The economy’s in tatters and the prospect of low prices will draw millions to the stores – all the more reason to stay home instead. If you do go, expect long lines, inadequate parking, huge throngs, angry drivers, predatory shoppers, fisticuffs in the parking structure, miserable husbands lagging behind aggressive wives – basically, the worst qualities of mankind will be on full display at the after-Thanksgiving sales. Oh, but you’ll get 15% off that pair of shoes! Is it really worth it? Probably not. After all, you’ve had enough consumption this week. The last thing you need is even more of it (but if you must, check out the online versions of your favorite stores – they’ll often be featuring the same sales, only without having to brave the crowds).

If any of you have some tips and tricks for holiday recovery, let us know!

VirtualErn, hrtmnstrfr, ronsho, Defragged Flickr Photos (CC)

Further Reading:

Getting Back to Nature

How Stress Can Make You Fat

10 Ways to De-Stress

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16 thoughts on “Post-Holiday Recovery”

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  1. I ate like a glutton, but you know what? I still feel pretty darn good. I started the day with a 20 minute HIIT cardio/strength workout, ate a huge bowl of steamed broccoli for breakfast, and followed up the big meal by dragging the family out for a walk. Getting the body moving makes a HUUUGE difference.

  2. I walked to the gym and back last night (all the LA drivers were looking at me in disbelief)… so I here you there Mark!! Thanks for the suggestions!

    All the Best,

    Andrew R

  3. I have lost a ton of weight over the past few years and look great except for a persistent flabby middle. I’m wondering, when those of you with under 10% body fat and shredded abs push your bellies out, do you still get a rounded shape? I know most, if not all, of my problem is subcutaneous fat around the middle, but how much of an indicator of visceral fat is a rounded belly when pushed out hard?

  4. I was actually able to behave with virtually no effort. A primal thanksgiving for the SoG it was. I feel great compared to past years of lethargy and ickyness.

    The SoG

  5. Walking is great. Me and my wife have just returned from a 1.5 hour long walk with our kids.

  6. I find fasting a good way to recover from over-indulgence of the culinary variety. You can feel your digestion system slowly dealing with all the extra food and thanking you for giving it a break while it gets its house in order…

  7. I solved the problem this year by eating one turkey instead of the usual three. Feel so much better.

  8. I fasted on Thanksgiving Day, i ate nothing. But then again, i had no appetite, this year Thanksgiving Day was beyond easy for me to fast, but so hard to eat, i just couldn’t.