On the face of it, the holidays are the most wonderful time of the year. But for many it is also a very stressful time. Between deadlines at work, event planning, family dynamics and shopping for gifts, it all adds up to a perfect storm, and if we are honest, a storm that has been brewing for a while. So how do you manage it?
The kids are back to school and there seems to be so much talk about the kids having experienced the “summer slide”. Not being attentive to reading and math over summer makes their academic smarts fall back a notch or two. It reminds me of all the hard work that we put into our health throughout the year “getting ready for summer”, only to overindulge with all the cookouts and vacation time, and put on extra pounds by eating and drinking what we like. Don’t get me wrong. I’m guilty of this too.
This summer I put in a concerted effort for this not to happen. Protein shakes for breakfast. Salads for lunch. Trying to do my best to eat healthy dinners. I have changed my lifestyle so that I now live by the 80/20 rule. 80% of the time, I am being mindful about what I eat, and 20% of the time, I can eat in a more relaxed way.
So now that summer is over, what can you do to climb back up to the top of the slide?
7 EASY TIPS FOR LOSING THE SUMMER POUNDS
1. DRINK MORE WATER
There are many health benefits to drinking water. Your digestive system depends on it to function. Dehydration can lead to constipation and an overly acidic stomach. Drinking more water can also aid in weight loss, when you drink water 30 minutes before a meal. Your brain thinks you are full therefore you eat less. .
2. GET MOVING
Exercising regularly can help with weight loss, increases your energy levels, improve your sleep, improves your mood and even improves your sex life! (What’s not to love?)
3. LIMIT ALCOHOL
I know this seems obvious, but a glass of wine or a beer contains “empty calories” that have no nutritional value. Drinking alcohol reduces the amount of fat that your body burns for energy. While we can store nutrients like carbohydrates, fats and proteins, we can’t store alcohol. So our system wants to get rid of it and that takes priority. All the other systems taking place are interrupted.
4. EAT CLEAN
Avoid highly processed packaged foods. Usually they are high in salt, sugar and fat. If you fill up on “clean foods” then you have effectively “crowded out” the unhealthy foods by leaving no room for them in your stomach.
5. INCREASE YOUR INTAKE OF FRUITS AND VEGETABLES
The minimum recommended amount according to the CDC is 1 ½ cups of fruit and 2-3 cups of vegetables per day, but we should aim for more than this. A good rule of thumb is to fill half your plate with fruits or vegetables for every meal.
6. ELIMINATE SUGARY DRINKS
Sugary drinks have no nutritional value and the sugar leads to weight gain and many health problems.
7. SLEEP WELL AND AVOID STRESS
When you are sleep deprived, the body releases the appetite regulating hormones ghrelin and leptin, and when you are stressed, the hormone cortisol is released. These hormones can increase hunger and cravings for unhealthy foods, leading to higher calorie intake. Chronic stress and sleep deprivation has been shown to lead to Type 2 Diabetes and Obesity.
If making these changes seems like a big challenge, don’t worry. Making small incremental changes daily, will eventually lead to the big changes that you are wanting to make. Making small achievable goals, gives you a greater chance of success.
Silvia Anderson is an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach. Originally from Melbourne, Australia, she now lives in Middletown with her husband and two children.
For more information and to join her free 5 Day Detox starting September 2nd, please visit www.silviaanderson.com/free-5-day-detox
I love Summer in Newport. Lobster Rolls at Easton’s Beach, Brunch at Belle’s, Cocktails on the Rooftop at the Vanderbilt, and lots of cookouts. Bliss! Come September, you realize that all that socializing has contributed to being unable to do up the top button of your jeans and your energy is so low that you are in a constant state of exhaustion. It’s high time you considered a detox.
But what if I told you that your body needs to detox more often than just the moments you get frustrated trying to wiggle into your skinny jeans? Would you recognize the signs and symptoms?
It’s very common to mistake the signs that our bodies give us when it’s time for a detox.
What is a Detox?
So, what is detoxing? Simply put, detoxification is when you rid your body of impurities and toxins that have accumulated over time.
I love the bath tub analogy. Imagine that your body is a bathtub and the drains are your eliminating organs (liver, kidneys, Intestines, breath and skin).
When you turn the tap on, you are ingesting food, water and also lotions onto your skin. Your body holds on to what it needs and gets rid of the things that doesn’t serve it. However, if there is too much going in that doesn’t serve it, what happens to the drain? It gets blocked.
It is fair to say in Western Society, most of our “drains” are not functioning optimally. They are blocked up as a result of the high consumption of the inflammatory and acidic foods, not to mention the environmental toxins that we are exposed to on a daily basis.
The Benefits of Detoxing
Toxins are more likely to build up in major organs, like your liver and intestines, you may experience more noticeable changes in these areas after a detox. For example, you may experience less bloating, more energy, and clearer skin. Less fatigue, better quality sleep, and better concentration have all been associated with detoxing as well.
Once people begin to feel better physically and mentally, the feeling can become addictive and can often lead to a healthier lifestyle altogether. It is very common for people to kick bad habits that contribute to the toxicity, like smoking, unhealthy eating, and drinking excess alcohol.
5 Signs You Need To Detox
If you have experienced two or more of the following symptoms over the past 3 months it’s possible that you might have a congested liver that needs detoxing.
1. Abdominal Bloating/ Gas
When toxins can’t escape your body, they can stick around in the form of belly bloat and gas and cause uncomfortable stomach pains.
2. Low Energy/Mental Fog
If you find that you aren’t able to focus or if you are experiencing fatigue this might be due to toxicity in the liver.
A very common side effect of a toxic liver is adrenal fatigue. When your liver tries to detox itself, it goes into overdrive and can create stress on the adrenal glands, forcing them to overproduce or underproduce cortisol (the stress hormone). Adrenal fatigue can cause your internal clock, or “circadian rhythm”, to be off. Basically, what this means is that your body struggles to determine the time of day, which can lead to a lot of sleepless nights and cranky moments throughout the day.
4. Skin Breakouts/ Itchy Skin
The body’s main detoxifying organ is the liver. When there is a build-up of toxins, it needs to eliminate waste in any way it can. Your skin eliminates toxins through your pores, by sweating. This can cause issues with your skin such as breakouts, rashes, and dry skin which are common side effects of excess toxins being released.
5. Muscle Aches/ Pains
If you aren’t pushing yourself at the gym, but constantly feel sore and achy, you most likely have chronic inflammation.
How Can You Treat These Symptoms?
1. Eating Clean
Eating clean means choosing foods that are in their natural state. For example, eating a fresh apple (organic if possible), is much better than eating an apple in syrup. The less processed the food, the more natural it is.
2. Eat More Fruits And Vegetables
Fruits and vegetables are packed with essential antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. These micronutrients help your organs and body function optimally allowing your liver to properly detox. They also contain fiber that regulates your digestive system and flushes toxins.
3. Get Rid Of Added Sugar, Alcohol, Junk Food
This might seem obvious when you’re trying to detox, but it’s an important reminder to leave the unhealthy diet behind you. This means eliminating foods that cause inflammation.
4. Look After Your Gut Health
When it comes to detoxing, it’s important to take care of your gut bacteria. Probiotics from either a trusted supplement, or from fermented foods, activate the body’s digestive system to flush out toxins, promote your body’s overall balance, calm bloating, and even help you lose excess pounds
Silvia Anderson is an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach. Originally from Melbourne, Australia, she now lives in Middletown, RI with her husband and two children.
Download your free copy of her Beat the Bloat mini-recipe book