How to get back on the health wagon after Christmas
-Dec 17, Caroline Blight , Health -
If you’re actually relieved that Christmas is out of the way because you now have a chance to get your fitness back on track, then you’re not the only one. We take a look at the quickest way to get back on track.
There is certainly nothing wrong with letting go and hanging loose over Christmas. It’s far kinder to ourselves to embrace the fun and festivities than try and make those nights out with friends we love as well as get in an early gym session. And there is something to be said for a period of over-indulgence making us crave more simple foods.
But as we break into January, the pretty lights are packed away and the concept of not eating something calorific every hour becomes a reality, it can be hard to know where to start with getting back to healthy habits. Here’s some easy tips which could help you find your wellness mojo and feel more your healthy self sooner.
Break your junk food addiction
There’s no doubt about it, the more high sugar, high fat, high salt food you eat (sound familiar?) the more you will want to eat. Your body will be craving the hit from these foods which evolution has conditioned us to look for. And as the nutritional content of your foods is down you will find you are topping up on this rush and craving more of the stuff you know isn’t great for your body.
“Experiencing cravings from time to time is inevitable,” says nutritionist Emma Brown. “But the good news is that how often and how we deal with them is, to an extent, within our control. Eating a well balanced diet high in complex carbs and lean protein will really help. Complex carbs are high in fibre, and lean protein takes the body a while to breakdown, so both help to keep us feeling fuller for longer and our blood sugars more stable. This can help reduce the chance of cravings striking as we should feel more satisfied nutritionally.”
When you start to nourish your body again your cravings will be reduced and you will feel more inclined to reach for more of the good stuff. Keep your nutrient levels on an even kneel with Lumity supplements too, making sure you have a complimentary supply of vitamins and minerals in an easy to access format.
Making time to sleep well and deeply will help both our physical and mental health. “Poor sleep has been linked to problems such as depression, anxiety and stress,” explains sleep expert Dr Neil Stanley. “Sleep is the brains way of dealing with problems and indeed the best stress reliever is a good night’s sleep, although of course stress in itself makes getting good sleep more difficult. Sleep is the only time that the brain gets to do its essential ‘house-keeping’, sleep is about laydown memories of things that have happened during the day and is also vital for processing the emotional component of the day.”
Weeks of late nights, the odd cheeky daytime nap and a general lack of proper routine can leave us almost with jet-lag which is unhelpful when we return to the daily grind. So give your sleep routine some attention and factor in time to unwind and stay away from the blue light emitted by technology in the hour before heading to bed.
“What the body wants is regularity so in fact the best thing you can do is to have a consistent wake time regardless of what time you go to bed,” advises Dr Stanley. “By fixing wake time your body can maximise the benefit from the sleep period.”
Heal your liver
As the largest solid organ in our bodies, our liver is responsible for detoxifying many of the potentially harmful substances that can pollute the body.
As well as this rather major job, it also plays a critical role in a wealth of other processes like energy production, digestion, and nutrient storage. In naturopathy, the liver is actually considered to be the foundation of wellbeing. This is why when we have really pushed our liver to the limit we feel sluggish, rundown and are more likely to catch seasonal bugs.
“The liver is an amazing organ, it can regenerate even after being badly damaged but it has a limit after which it can’t cope well,” explains nutritional therapist Karen Alexander. Keeping well hydrated helps flush the liver of toxins as well as supporting many other systems in our body. “Make a habit of starting your day with a glass of water and a squeeze of lemon or lime. Try and keep a jug of water, with some cucumber or fruit in it, out so it’s more tempting and you are more likely to reach for it.”
Fruit or herbal teas are also good, “Look out for higher quality fruit and herbal teas as they tend to be more tasty. Coffee is not a great choice as it’s also dehydrating,” adds Karen. “Over the festive period we tend to eat too many foods which are highly refined, high in sugar and also trans-fats which are damaging to our liver.” Try and include lots of good fats and high quality protein in your diet now to support your liver instead. “Your liver needs amino acids, found in protein, to function effectively and help the detoxification and elimination process. Eat real food like butter instead of margarine, grass fed meats, eggs, oily fish and lots of fruit and vegetables, especially cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and cabbage.”