Recently, I turned 30. This alone is not shocking. What was a shock to my system though, was the morning after celebrating at my favorite pizza spot in Collingwood, Ontario—Pie. Full-on admission: I had a massive meal. The pizzas aren’t tiny, but are technically single serve, and the crusts are pretty thin, and I ate an entire pie. (To be fair, so did the other 8 people at the table. So this alone wasn’t insanity.) I had one glass of wine. And then, our good friend sneakily ordered a plethora of desserts to celebrate two birthdays at the table. And that’s when things got hedonistic.
Oh man, they were good. And since it was my birthday and someone had gone to the trouble of ordering them, I dug right in.
Now, I’ll be the first to say that everything in moderation is key. I had eaten well all day, this isn’t an everyday thing, blah blah blah. But the fact that I ate A TON isn’t really the issue.
The issue was when I woke up the next day, I felt like I was 100 percent hungover, like I had drunk a bottle of wine the night before. I only had a glass though, so alcohol wasn’t to blame.
Holy $hit, I’m getting old! When I was 22 and training for Ironman, I ate pizza once a week. And when I say I ate pizza, I mean I ate A PIZZA every Friday night. And woke up Saturday feeling awesome.
While I’m a little bummed to not have a gut like my 22 year old self did, I am actually weirdly OK with this newfound knowledge and realization that I just can’t eat like that anymore. Why am I happy? Because at least this is happening at a time where I can change those habits and reap the benefits (i.e. better racing and fitness) and before I’ve actually started to gain weight because of my old habits. I’d much rather my gut protest now, read that situation and remedy it, versus having an iron gut and slowly pack on pounds because my metabolism is no longer a teenager’s.
But I’ve gone on long enough rationalizing. Here’s what I did to curb the pizza hangover. Because, let’s be honest, I may have learned, and you may know that the same pizza hangover is true for you as well, but that isn’t going to stop most of us from the occasional indulgence.
Lots and lots of water
During dinner, I drank a ton of water. Probably could have used more, honestly. But I think this helps a ton when it comes to the digestion process.
Ginger tea before bed
I drink this every night, but especially on nights I know I’ve eaten too much, it’s a great one for settling a rumbling stomach so you sleep better, and adding a bit more hydration to speed the digestive process along. Something like pizza, with all that gluten and dairy, can use a little help.
Your tummy will thank you on days like this if you’ve already been in the probiotic habit and have a healthy microbiome.
Quick yoga flow in the morning
Get those guts moving—I love this one and do it every. single. morning.
Protein and fiber-rich breakfast
Spinach and eggs, FTW. You likely topped off those glycogen stores with that pizza, so you can opt for a lighter carb breakfast. I still think eating something is a good idea, even if you don’t feel like it at the moment, just to prevent that blood sugar drop-off mid-morning that’ll make you crave even more carbs and get you into some really bad habits.
Again, let’s use those glycogen stores you topped off! You basically did a pre-race carb-load, so reap the benefits and move your afternoon ride or run to as early as possible. (This will also, ahem, move things along if that’s an issue.)
Hydrate even more
Pizza and other indulgent dinners and desserts are SO freaking packed with sodium that you can likely skip your electrolyte drink for the day—just chug water when possible and really try to get your system back to status quo.
Plan your long ride/run day
If I know I have a huge meal out coming up, I try to switch my training schedule so that the next day is a long, slow distance effort, versus something HIIT-ish. It’s a little easier on the guts, plus it actually utilizes the aforementioned glycogen stores!
No one is saying you need to skip the pizza—but next time you over-do it on the slices, you’ll be a little better prepared!
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