Bounce back after a night out

Happy New Year everyone!  Hope you had a fun time ringing in 2015!  Sometimes we can have too much fun and wake up bloated and dehydrated after a night out.  Lets talk about when we overindulge in the cocktails (or if you’re like me, craft beers).

First, a simple calorie count:

  • 1 glass of wine- 125 cals
  • Margarita- 150 cals
  • Rum & coke (or just about any other alcohol and coke) – 150 cals
  • Vodka cranberry- 140 cals
  • Draft beer- 200+ (stouts and porters tend to have more calories)

You get the idea.  One or two drinks might be pretty harmless if you got a good workout in earlier that day, but on those nights when you are really splurging, you can see how quickly they can add up.  But the calories alone aren’t whats causing you to wake up bloated and dehydrated.  Alcohol is tricky.  Here’s what its doing:

  1. Alcohol inhibits vasopressin.  Vasopressin is a fun hormone that increases water reabsorption.  This is why you need to pee a lot when you drink.  When vasopressin is inhibited, you pee out all your fluids, regardless of your hydration status.  AKA the longer you are drinking = the longer your vasopressin is inhibited = the more dehydrated you become.
  2. You crave salt.  This is a result of the vasopressin cascade.  Your body is now going to try everything it can to retain some water, so this is why you usually go for the salty foods while you’re out (peanuts, pretzels, fries, chips).  This is why you’re going to be bloated in the morning- all that salt you might have eaten is coming back with a vengeance.  Your body wants a balance of salts and water.  To combat all the salts now, your body retains all the water it can.
  3. You store more fat.  Alcohol is broken down into sugars when it is metabolized, but unfortunately not the kind that can be readily used by the muscles.  So instead it is turned into fat, that you can use later as energy.  This is why the calories of drinks come back to haunt you, those calories are stored, rather than immediately burned.

So you went out, woke up, and are dehydrated, bloated, and maybe snacked a little more than you should have last night.  Here is what to do:

  1. Hydrate hydrate hydrate.  Pour a tall glass of ice water, drop in a lemon wedge and cucumber slices, and keep it coming.  Your body may still be vasopressin inhibited, so keep those kidneys filtering.
  2. Don’t skip breakfast. Our immediate instinct when we wake up full and bloated is to skip breakfast, but this is a bad idea. Eat something high in fiber with some complex carbohydrates.  Fiber will get things moving, help absorb some residual junk you ate last night, and help keep you hydrated.  Complex carbs will start up your metabolism.  Your metabolism can’t burn away that extra fat that got stored without a carbohydrate jump start.  My go to is oatmeal, with some walnuts and apple slices.
  3. Keep it clean.  Take a day off from any salts or fancy dressings and seasonings.  Replenish and refresh with some antioxidant  leafy greens and berries.  I like a berry smoothie with some kale thrown in as a good snack after a night out.
  4. Finally, obviously, Exercise.  Even if its just a quick walk, get outside, get your heart rate going and work up a little sweat.  You’ll be back on track in no time.

Thats it!  Don’t let your splurge get in the way of your goals (and resolutions)!  Again happy new year everyone, start it off healthy!




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