Set Your Sights on Exercising and Getting Your Dietary Habits on Track

With the holiday season in the rear view mirror, our sights are set forward on exercising and getting our dietary habits back on track. Even with a great plan in place, your healthy living plan can be de-railed by happy hour Friday, a party Saturday, brunch Sunday, movies, and dinners out. While one of these “off days” from your regularly scheduled diet can make you feel terrible, proper hydration and nutrition the following day can put you back in the driver seat.

Additional fats can leave you feeling bloated. Your body is not used to the additional fats, and may take a day or so for your digestive track to speed up and produce enough enzymes to process the added fats. Time is going to be your worst enemy as you will feel bloated for an extended period of time, but time is also what will help get your body back on track.

Excess salt in the blood will leave you dehydrated. High levels of sodium in the blood will increase your chances of heart burn or acid reflux issues. Flushing out your body with extra water will excrete the extra sodium and dilute the increased levels of stomach acids.

Alcohols also play a role in dehydrating the body. Dehydration is caused by an electrolyte imbalance. Eating high-fiber foods, like vegetables, will help absorb the water and get your digestive organs working at their full capacity.

Sugars are quickly absorbed into your digestive tract. This may be why you feel tired after over-indulging on sweets. Increased sugar consumption increases your blood glucose levels, causing your pancreas to pump out insulin. Your body then produces too much insulin, and causes your body to go from “sugar rush” to “sugar crash”. Including a slower-reacting carbohydrate into your diet the following day, like whole-grain pasta or whole grain bread, will balance out your blood glucose levels.

It is inevitable that we all will fall victim to a delicious and not nutritious weekend meal(s). We can however, take steps to make sure that we are not leaving our new exercise and nutrition plans in the rear-view mirror along with our old bad habits.

Brad Averill, M.Ed.
Extension Educator- Food, Nutrition, and Health
University of Nebraska – Lincoln