I keep overhearing conversations about the best way to lose the holiday weight and get healthier in the new year.
Is paleo or vegan a better alternative? Maybe the Whole30? Or a juice cleanse?
Well, the good news is that it doesn't have to be that complicated. Most people quickly lose the holiday weight in a month or two as they get back to their normal eating and exercising patterns.
But if you want to clean out your system in a gentle, natural way, start with these four easy steps.
(I'll add a more challenging step at the end for those of you who are super motivated to make a change!)
1) Drink more water
Water is the single best way to flush out your system and gain energy for your day. Lack of water can cause heachaches, fatigue or cravings. Aim for at least 8 glasses of water. You should drink at least one full glass of water first thing in the morning.
If you are feeling bold and really want to kick it up a notch, add 2 teaspoons each of lemon juice and apple cider vinegar to help your liver detoxify itself, flush your body of toxins, and prepare it to more easily burn fat.
2) Focus on the veggies, especially green ones
Rather than think about what you can't have or shouldn't have, focus on getting at least 5 veggies in each day, plus 1-2 fruits. You should include something green and something orange. Green veggies in particular are packed with nutrients and antioxidants, have lots of fiber to help fill you up, and are linked to cancer prevation.
Plan lunch and dinner around veggies, and add a healthy protein, low glycemic carbohydrate and small healthy fat to make a complete meal that will balance your blood sugar and keep you full.
3) Read labels
One of the best things you can do in ANY labeled "diet" is to ditch the processed foods. Avoid snacks that come in packaging as often as possible, but when you do choose them for convenience, read the label. Aim for 5 or fewer ingredients with words you can recognize and pronounce.
4) Move a little bit first thing in the morning
The morning is one of the best times to get in a little exercise to boost your energy, mood and kickstart your metabolism.
If you don't have time for a 30 minute walk/run or exercise video, do a simple serious of exercises such as: 20 jumping jacks, 15 squats, 10 push ups and a 30 second plank. Repeat if time allows.
Make sure you eat a balanced breakfast within 30 minutes of exercising or within an hour of waking.
If you are looking for a challenge, Whole30 or a paleo/vegan/other label diet challenge can be a great way to do an elimination diet. Cut out the most inflammatory foods and slowly add them back in to understand what works best for you and your body.
I'll share more about how to complete an elimination diet soon.
What healthy habits are you focusing on this January?