Staying healthy this January – Blog from Lucie Lemay the 9 to 5 Foodie
January is always a bit of a struggle….. We’ve overindulged during Christmas (or the whole of December!), it’s dark, it’s cold and the fact that we have to wait a whole year until it’s acceptable to sing along to ‘All I want for Christmas’ again is just depressing.
Most people start January on some sort of crazy diet that is so restrictive it doesn’t last the first week of the New Year. The problem with this is that an all or nothing approach doesn’t work, you may be able to do it for a couple of days or weeks, but in the long run it is never going to be sustainable not to mention the fact that you will be miserable the whole time you are on it!
The key to kick starting a healthy year is to find YOUR ideal balance. Everyone is different, some people may find that they love smoothies in the morning and a super sweaty HIIT class whilst others may prefer a big bowl of porridge and calming yoga, the key is to find what is right for you and then just keep going! Habit really is the key to success, so once you make a few healthy habits, you are pretty much set up!
That said, giving yourself a little extra love and attention this month is probably a good thing. Below are my 5 Steps to a Healthy January that you can implement now to give your body a little TLC that can be continued into the rest of the year….
1. Drink Up
The most obvious, but undoubtedly the most important – hydration. Our bodies are on average 58% water so when we aren’t hydrated enough things start to go wrong very quickly. Initially you will start to feel tired, have difficulty concentrating and find a drop in your mood but if it continues it can lead too much more serious side effects. Water is also one of the best things at helping our body recover and ‘flushing’ out toxins. Start as you mean to go on with a pint of warm water and a squeeze of lemon juice first thing in the morning to alkalise and hydrate, then follow up with at least 1.5 litres of water throughout the day.
2. Cut the C.R.A.P
That is caffeine, refined sugars, alcohol and processed foods!
Limiting the presence of these foods in your diet will have the biggest impact on your overall health and wellbeing and is the best January ‘cleanse’ that you can do. Reducing these in your diet can help you improve your energy levels and skin tone, reduce stress, lose weight and generally just feel amazing!
3. Veg it up
I personally enjoy eating some high quality, organic meat, but when I feel like my body needs a little extra care, I naturally start to reduce the amount of meat I’m consuming. The reason being is that animal meat is much harder for our body to digest, so when it is all up and running as it should do then this isn’t an issue, but when it’s been put under more stress then normal (such as Christmas!) then it can prove a bit more of a challenge. Everyone’s normal amount of meat consumption is different, but look to reduce it down from what you usually have. Start to explore vegetarian meal options; there are some amazing recipes out there that can covert even the most avid meat eater and the best bit is that naturally you will increase the amount of veg in your diet, which we all know can only be a good thing!
4. Heal the Gut
The gut is one of the most important organs in our body, it not only controls your digestive system, but also impacts your immune system, skin as well as overall health and mood.
Excess alcohol and eating larger portions of food puts our gut under a lot of increased pressure, so giving it a little extra love and care in January will help you get back on track.
To do this start introducing fermented foods, such as miso, sauerkraut and apple cider vinegar into your diet, a quick shot of apple cider vinegar in the morning tends to get everything up and running again!
5. Sweat it out
Most people’s January resolutions usually involve exercising more and there is a reason why….not only is this a great way if kick starting a healthy routine but it’s also an amazing way of detoxing your body and gets all of your systems up and running again.
Studies show that just 30 minutes a day of exercise is enough to reap benefits such as improved heart and lung function as well as a reduction in your risk of many major diseases. Use the New Year to try out a new type of exercise, whether that be yoga, running or boxing. Trying something new will help keep you motivated and you will quickly start to see the results!