I had a minor health scare recently.
Despite keeping up my running and exercise, my drinking and eating habits were slipping a bit. I went from being “good” 80% of the time to 50/50. Although it was nothing too serious I’ve decided to get back on the straight and narrow and by making some small changes over the past few days, I am happy to report that I am feeling much more energised.
I don’t really believe in detoxes as such because it’s tempting to feel you deserve an extra few drinks or a McDonalds because you’ve been well behaved, so it’s more of a lifestyle overhaul and rethink of my choices.
Each and every good decision has value and sets you on the right path, so there’s no point getting down about what you did last weekend, but focus on what you’re eating and doing today!
With this in mind, I thought I’d share a few easy quick tricks that I’ve been following, to help you get back on track after an indulgent period.
Don’t go shopping hungry
A recent study by a team at Cornell University found that it’s actually more calories rather than food that we buy when we browse the aisles before dinner. I also recommend making a list and sticking to it – so you don’t get sucked into buy one get one free cookies etc.
Have snacks on hand
As above, when you’re hungry you make bad choices. I try and have protein bars, cereal bars and fruit on my desk to nip hunger in the bud. Here are some other ideas you could try from Women’s Health.
Let people know what you’re doing and why
I think it’s important to tell your loved ones and colleagues that you’re trying to be healthier/lose weight/stop smoking/cut out the booze etc, so you keep yourself accountable and also ask for their support.
In restaurants avoid creamy cheesy sauces – go for plain balsamic or tomato
It’s a really high level rule, but generally you will come off slightly better if you’re dining out.
Cut out the sugar and reduce the milk in your teas and coffees
I used to have a full fat-flat white coffee with one (About 200 calories) and now have long black-dash and none (about 50)…Feeling extra angelic? A plain long black coffee has just 3 calories. So you can even have a Tim Tam and you’ll be under 150! Fabulous.
Fill up with veggies
Vegetables are full of fibre and water and should take up most of your plate – a study actually found when participants were allowed to eat as much as they want of vegetables – high volume yet low in density (calories) – they ate less at meal times and throughout the day.
Pack your own lunch
I find that when I’m trying to save dollars and be healthy, soups are a really great lunch choice. I just chuck whatever veggies I have in a pot with vegetable stock and some spices/herbs, boil, blend and voila. Last night I made broccoli with parmesan, garlic and potato and it was excellent – better than any canned soup. You can also check out my magic spinach soup recipe here if you’re looking for a pick me up. It’s not just a cost saving exercise though, as it stops me being tempted by [insert unhealthy takeout food here] if I’m on a lunchtime stroll around the city.
Ban the booze
The negative health effects of boozing too much are well known, but it’s not just the impact on your liver and general health that you should worry about – it’s the effect on your waistline. Firstly, one wine or beer generally has around 100 calories…consumed every day for a year and that’s a 10lb/4.5kg weight gain! And how do you feel the morning after a few too many? I know that being healthy is definitely not at the top of my list. It’s been proven that alcohol actually increases your hunger with men eating a whopping 400 calories extra on days they consume a moderate amount of alcohol.
Avoid the sweets aisles altogether when you’re doing a food shop
If you don’t put temptations in front of you, you can’t be tempted. If you’re trying to be healthy just skip the sweet aisle altogether and focus on low sugar snacks instead. Extra Tip: I’m addicted to Kale chips. They sound gross but seriously, if you get the right crispiness they taste amazing – great recipe here. Who needs potato chips?!
Hit the gym
After a holiday I always “punish” myself with a hard work out even if I REALLY don’t feel like it. It is often uncomfortable but usually only takes two sessions at the gym or running outside to feel normal again after a few days off.
Do you have any go-to tips when you’re trying to bounce back? Let me know in the comments!