Feeling a tad bloated or sluggish after the excesses of Christmas? You are most definitely not alone. December is a notoriously tricky month; we enjoyed too many nights out, diet and exercise habits slipped and liquid calorie intakes hit record levels. But all is not lost! First of all, it’s important to recognise that faddy January diets are not the way to go. A new year is a great time to introduce new good habits, but they should be long term lifestyle aspirations, rather than a quick fix.
Here are some of my top tips for getting back on the health wagon.
1. Drink plenty of water
The recommended daily intake is 2 litres, or 8 glasses of water – even more if you’re training on any given day. It’s really important to stay hydrated, even in the cooler months. Water is vital for detoxing and flushing out any nasties and it keeps your skin and hair looking healthy. If you’re not a great fan of plain water then try hot water with a slice of lemon in – this is amazing for keeping the toxins at bay, especially if it’s your first drink of the day.
Sleep is vital for muscle recovery, lowered stress levels and brain power. Be sure to get your 8 hours a night and you’ll wake up feeling fabulous. Of course, this may not always be possible, particularly for those of you with babies, but I recommend trying to get to bed an hour earlier than usual – you will reap the benefits.
3. Eat a varied diet
Don’t be fixated on particular diet plans, just ensure you eat a great variety of vegetables, fruits and protein. If you’re prone to sugar cravings in the afternoon, keep a stash of nuts and/or dried fruit in your desk drawer or bag.
4. Plan a new regime
Don’t be swept away with January hype and try to cram in as much exercise as possible – you’ll end up crashing and burning in February. Try and plan specific days and times when you can exercise and don’t do more than 3 HIIT classes a week, unless you are very experienced. While it may take a while longer to see results, remember that quick fixes are just that – your friend who loses a stone in one month will struggle to maintain that in the long term.
5. Sign up to myfitnesspal
OK, so this one won’t be for everyone, but if you want to gain a greater understanding of your calorie intake, the myfitnesspal app is a great way to track it and can be a good motivation if you find yourself tempted to indulge in treats when your daily calorie goal has already been reached! It can also synch with fitness apps such as Garmin and Strava, so you can track the calories going out as well as in!