It might not feel like it right now, but the winter will soon be coming to an end! February is always a challenging time when it comes to staying motivated. The new year, which feels full of new possibilities, has passed. But although setting new year’s resolutions is a great motivator, for most those goals can be quite extreme and hard to attain, especially when it comes to weight loss or getting fit. On January 1st, many decide to jump start the latest fad diet, or sign up for an extreme dieting program or intense workouts that can elevate your cortisol and contribute to weight loss resistance. In reality, these extreme diets are not sustainable long term, and can even cause harm or unwanted side effects if the weight loss is too drastic. That is why I help my patients find a healthy way of eating that works best for them in the long run, while addresses their nutritional needs and unique causes of resistant weight loss (i.e. hypothyroidism, stress, insulin resistance, neurotransmitter imbalances, dysbiosis or food sensitivities).
At the end of the day most of my weight loss patients just want to feel good in their own body. If you are feeling sluggish and heavy at the end of the winter, here are a few tips on how to get back on track in a healthy way.
- 1. Clean Eating – Get back to the basics; eat plenty of whole foods and eliminate processed foods. Eating clean supports gentle detoxification.
- Include lots of vegetables (at least half of your plate) in your diet, especially leafy greens and steamed cruciferous veggies to support gentle liver detoxification.
- Avoid processed sugar and cut back on fructose by eating only 1 to 2 servings of fruit daily, such as berries or green apples, and avoid tropical fruits.
- Have protein with every meal and snack, to keep your sugar levels balanced throughout the day. Good protein sources; organic chicken, fish, turkey, chickpeas, egg, lentils, beans, quinoa, hemp hearts, nut butters, nuts and seeds.
- Eat healthy fats and wholesome grains, such as quinoa, buckwheat, wild or brown rice, nuts and seeds.
- 2. Optimize Digestion:
- Try to eat without distractions, such as television or reading.
- Chew your food well! Aim for 20 times per mouthful.
- Avoid drinking fluids during your meals, so that you don’t dilute your digestive enzymes. Drink liquids 30 minutes before and 60 to 90 minutes after a meal.
- Have 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar mixed with 2 tablespoons of water 15 minutes before meals. This will stimulate your digestive juices and aid with digestion.
- Make sure that you are having regular bowel movements. If constipation is an issue, make sure you are drinking enough water and consuming enough fiber (25-35mg). Good fiber sources: chia seeds, flax seeds, psyllium. Keep in mind that if you increase your fiber intake, you must increase your water intake to avoid bowel obstruction.
- 3. Support Liver detoxification
- Upon waking have a warm glass of water with ½ to a ¼ lemon
- Consume the following dark leafy greens; dandelion (can drink as a tea), kale, rapini, collard greens, swisschard and broccoli. They tend to be bitter, which stimulates secretion of digestive juices and supports liver function.
- 4. Keep Hydrated – hydration is key to warding off feelings of hunger, getting rid of toxins, and supporting your overall health. As a general rule, you should consume half of your body weight (in pounds) in ounces. For instance, if you weigh 150 pounds, then you daily water intake should be about 75 ounces. You can gauge your level of hydration based on the colour of your urine, aiming for light yellow.
- 5. Move your body – even if it’s just 15-30 minutes per day and preferably moderate intensity, so that you can break a sweat. Going for a walk outside is a great way to get some fresh air and reduce stress. Exercise improves circulation and stimulates your lymphatic system to flush out toxins.
- 6. Hydrotherapy – alternating hot and cold showers assist in detoxification by increasing circulation and metabolism. At the end of the shower alternate 45 seconds Hot with 15 seconds Cold water. Repeat this 3:1 cycle two-four times, always ending with cool water. You can also add Dry Skin Brushing to your routine, which helps to stimulate lymphatic circulation and clear toxins. With a dry natural soft bristle brush, lightly brush in circular motions starting at the feet and hands, and work towards the heart. Brushing can be done every day before bathing.
- 7. Get enough Sleep – The average adult needs 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night. Keep in mind that your most rejuvenating sleep is earlier on in the night; every hour before midnight counts for 2 hours of sleep. During sleep we replenish our energy, boost our immunity and regulate our hormones, including cortisol, which is vital for effective weight loss. Also, lack of sleep will set you up for constant search of sugar pick me-ups and caffeine, which add unnecessary calories and extra stress on the adrenals, respectively.
I hope you find these tips helpful for getting back on track at the end of winter. It is all about setting a routine and getting back to healthy habits or creating new ones. If you feel that you need support with your diet, check out my RESET 21-Day Program. It will give you everything you need to eat clean and look and feel your best. The program comes with 3 weeks worth of meal plans, shopping lists, delicious recipes and prep guides. It is designed to help you take control of your eating habits once and for all.
Let’s hit that RESET button, and start the new season right!