Best worst choice: pre-vacation cleanse

The gist: 

Many people opt to go on cleanses before vacations and big events. It’s not the healthiest strategy (cutting calories three days in a row can backfire) but there are ways you can make it more acceptable. 

Expert insight: 

Don’t eliminate an entire macro group like carbs, says Jillian O’Neil, Tier X coach at E Madison Avenue in New York City. Doing so severely limits the amount of healthy whole foods at your disposal. Leading up to your event, you should eat more plant-based items and fewer processed ones (think sweet potatoes over bread). “The vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients in these foods help your body thrive,” O’Neil says. 

Cutting back on alcohol, carbonated beverages, dairy, gluten, and added sugar and salt will keep inflammation and bloating at bay, she notes. Whatever you do, skip the juice cleanse. “It’s aggressive and can actually set you back.”

The bottom line: 

Implement the above tweaks two to three weeks out, O’Neil says, rather than make drastic changes in just a couple days. Beyond nutrition, sleeping eight hours per night and practicing relaxation techniques like yoga can also help you look and feel your best.

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