We Have All Been There…

The holiday starts out great.  No work stress, just unwinding and relaxing with family, friends, food and drink. Laughter is in the air and everyone is happy. But what happens once the holiday is over?

Do you come to the end of your holiday feeling bloated, sluggish, or uncomfortable because you have overindulged on all the great foods and drink with family and friends?

So, what now? Do you feel bad about sabotaging all your great weight loss results that you attained before the holiday started? Have you given up and decided to carry on with the bad eating habits?

Or are you ready to turn all that around and start afresh?

New year, New Beginnings, New you.

I have complied a few tips that you can use to kick-start your metabolism, help with digestion, avoid bloating and get back to the new healthier you.

Let’s get rid of the holiday sluggishness and guilt…

What you shouldn’t do…

Do not go on a detox diet and simply drink juices for a week. Your liver and kidneys have been designed to clean the body when you give it the correct nutrients.

You cannot detox your body any more than it already does on its own. Juices can aid your body with a nutrient boost when the ingredients are nutritious. Also, remember to also add lots of green veggies to your daily meals.

Have a greasy breakfast after a ruckus night out?

Many believe that they need to ‘line’ the stomach after a big night out with a greasy breakfast and a sugar-filled soda.

This meal will make your metabolism slow down and add to the increased calories you had the night before. It is recommended to avoid very fatty meals after a big night out, especially oil. Oil is a dense liquid fat that can take more digestive energy to break down.

If you avoid fatty meals the next day, you will allow other foods to pass through the digestive system more efficiently.

Drinking sodas containing sugar will not help you feel better. You are simply spiking your blood sugar levels which causes large quantities of insulin to be released in the body that can contribute to fat storage.

On top of this, the overload of protein from the large after party breakfast will contribute to an overload in Branch Chain Amino Acids released in the body that will lead to an even higher release of insulin and lead to even more fat storage.

Rather eat clean foods and have two scrambled eggs with a handful of baby spinach, mushrooms and asparagus.

Remember to never skip meals to compensate for your overeating or drinking on the previous weekend. Skipping meals can lead to bingeing which will increase your calorie intake and contribute to fat storage.

For some people, skipping meals can slow down their metabolism and activate stress hormones which can also cause the body to store more fat.

There is research that has shown that intermitted fasting is a great way to get your metabolism working with the help of a medical professional. You would need to follow a specific recipe/structure for intermitted fasting to have real results and benefits. However, please remember that there is not one diet that suits all.

Now that you know what doesn’t help, let’s look at what can help:

Get adequate sleep and I can’t stress this more

Sleeping plays a huge role on your mental health which can affect your food choices, and affects hormonal health, especially your Leptin, Ghrelin and Insulin, to name a few. These three hormones can affect your appetite, unwanted fat metabolism and fat storage in the body.

It is well known that if you do not get enough sleep, your metabolism slows down and your body fat breakdown capacity deteriorates. Make sure to get between 7 – 9 hours of sleep and keep the same sleeping routine every night.

Water is your friend

Increase your water intake to help hydrate your body, improve your mood and control your appetite. Start teaching yourself to love water by adding natural flavours to it.

Adding lemon to your water can aid in cleaning the body internally. Start the day with a hot cup of water and lemon, this will aid your digestion by increasing the liver enzymes and eliminating waste more efficiently and regularly.

You can also opt for more Rooibos Tea to increase your fluid intake. Rooibos Tea is high in antioxidant and flavonoids that promotes great skin and youthfulness. You can infuse your water with fruits such as cranberries which relieves bloating, or you can add herbs such as mint which is beneficial for tummy aches and improved digestion.

Include spices like Ginger and Cinnamon

Ginger is great to help break down mucous, decrease inflammation, improve circulation and ease digestion. Ginger can be added to salad dressings, tea or smoothies.

Cinnamon can help to kick-start your metabolism by heating up your body temperature. Cinnamon is also known as a natural blood sugar stabiliser and is used regularly in high doses to treat insulin resistance and improve weight loss results, provided the person has good eating habits and a regular exercise routine.

You can add cinnamon to warm almond milk, cooked oats or mix it in with chia seeds and almond milk for a snack pudding.

Start your day with a green smoothie every day for a week

A green smoothie consisting of cruciferous vegetables (Kale, spinach, cauliflower, broccoli, brussel sprouts or cabbage) as the main ingredient will provide your body with all the nutrients it needs to give you that kick you need in the morning.

The smoothie also contains fibre and energy to dampen cravings and improve metabolism. An extra benefit of drinking a green smoothie in the morning is that it can help you to avoid substances such as caffeine and diet sodas which can negatively affect the functioning of the metabolism.

Eat clean the day after a party

Clean your system and ease digestion by opting for a vegetable soup the next day. Vegetable soup is filled with fibre, can be filling and very easy for the body to digest.

This will pump the nutrients into your liver to help clean out the toxins and your gut will be soothed with easy digestible fibre dense foods and hydrate your body from the soup. Your blood sugar levels will be controlled because the soup also contains fibre.

Eating clean after a big night means avoiding dairy, gluten and meat for one day as this will give your digestive system a chance to reboot itself.

Basically, you can have an all-vegetable day and include healthy fats such as avocado, olives and lean proteins such as chai seeds, beans and legumes.

Get moving and keep to your routine

The longer you wait to get back into an exercise routine, the harder it will be to start. Physical exercise is great for your mental and physical health.

What you may not know is that exercise is also an aid in detoxing your system. Your body cleans itself through breathing, sweating and normal regular toilet habits. When you exercise, you sweat more, breathe harder and stimulate blood flow to the gut which improves the gut function.

Get those endorphins moving so you can feel better. You do not need to run the comrades for all these benefits. You can start with a light walk and work yourself up to moderate intense exercise for 150 – 240 min per week.

Don’t be too hard on yourself after the festive season. Get back on track and care for your body to gain the benefits.

I hope these quick and easy tips help you. Remember ‘we are what we eat.’

Compiled by Tanya Alberts, RD(SA)
Tanya Alberts

About the author:

Tanya has been providing dietary guidance since 2009 as a registered dietician licensed in South Africa. Her goal is to help patients understand the connection between diet and diagnosis for improved nutritional well being.

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