Although the holidays are a festive, celebratory time of year, many of us have been pushed to our limit with packed schedules and social obligations. The endless gatherings which inevitably mean endless plates of food and sweet treats can leave us feeling ready for a whole body detoxification. Needless to say, it can be tricky to get back on track with healthy eating and exercise after overindulging and perhaps taking time off from regular physical activity.
One of the keys to get started with this process is to let go of any guilt around what happened in the recent past regarding our eating/exercise habits and commit to small reachable goals. Two methods that don’t work: crash dieting and deprivation. Rather than dieting or holding back and then bingeing later, try eating 4 or 5 smaller meals throughout the day or choosing healthy energizing snacks such as nuts or fruit between meals to reduce the likelihood or overeating later in the day or at night. Below are some more tips to help you get back on track.
Make water your primary drink of choice throughout the day. At breakfast, go ahead and have smoothie or whole fruit juice or better yet, a whole piece of fruit. During the rest of the day, choose water and an occasional non-sweetened whole fruit juice instead of soda. Soda drinkers can easily add an extra 245 calories a day from soft drinks alone or nearly 90,000 calories a year, packing on an extra 25 pounds! Research shows that sweetened drinks don’t trigger a sense of fullness the way that chewing and eating food does. Rehydrating your system with pure water or 100 percent fruit juice and therefore eliminating toxins is one of the best ways to get your body back in the swing. And drinking plenty of fluids not only helps to eliminate toxins but can also help nix cravings. Typically, cravings only last approximately 3-15 minutes, so after you have finished drinking a glass of water the craving may be gone.
Choose protein packed meals with whole grains and veggies for optimal balance: The plant based diet is the way to go. Fill your plate with mostly vegetables, legumes such as black beans and small amounts of whole grains, and simply prepared, i.e. grilled or baked animal protein. The combination of protein and fiber will fortify your system and the greens will help naturally detoxify the body. Don’t be shy about using ample amounts of fresh herbs such as basil, cilantro or oregano, and spices such as cayenne or hot sauce: all of these help cleanse the liver, which most likely has taken been taxed with excess alcohol, sweets and refined food during all those holiday gatherings.
Commit to Taking a short walk before or after dinner. A great way to ease back into your exercise routine is to walk briskly throughout the day. Exercising mildly before eating has been shown to help diminish appetite. In a study conducted at the University of Glasgow in Scotland, 20 minutes of walking was shown to reduce appetite and increase sensations of fullness as effectively as a light meal. And in order to encourage optimal health, walking after dinner helps us digest our food especially in the evening before lying down to sleep when we want our bodies to focus not on digesting but renewing our organs and refreshing our brains for the next day.
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