How to whip our bodies and minds into shape as we finally emerge from hibernation? Many of us are conscious of a few extra lockdown pounds, but this is no time to be hard on ourselves – plus, there are many enjoyable (and sustainable) ways to keep our wellbeing and weight in check simultaneously.
“Beach body” plans often involve restricting calories, but these plans simply deprive the body of essential nutrients, causing energy to plummet and appetite to surge – it’s the classic yo-yo diet that so many of us have fallen foul of.
We can do it better than that. Below are my simple steps to help you break free from the diet culture cycle that we all know so well.
1: Start with your plate
Every day should involve three nutritious and balanced meals. Each plate should be made up of a quarter lean protein (foods like seafood, organic meat, eggs and legumes), a quarter complex carbs (like sweet potatoes, quinoa, beetroot and carrots), and the remaining half of vegetables. Most importantly? No snacking. While strict, this isn’t restrictive and it allows you to add more variety, including healthy fats, fibre and vegetables to support your immunity, digestion, energy and gut health. Remove the bad and replace with the good – it really is that simple.
2: Incorporate one liquid day
A large part of my method is to incorporate one liquid day a week – it is a simple and rather magic tip when you’re feeling a little bloated and sluggish. Not as scary as they sound, a day of consuming just liquids works wonders for resting the digestive system, liver and kidneys, and helps flood the body with an extra dose of much-needed nutrients. It is also a great idea for slightly reducing calories without skipping meals. A good liquid day should include a smoothie in the morning, a juice mid-morning, one bowl of soup at lunchtime, another smoothie mid-afternoon and another soup or broth for dinner. The focus should be on consuming nourishing and nutrient-dense liquids, rather than low-calorie versions.
3: Swap sugar for fruit
I advise avoiding sugar. Get your fix from vitamin-rich fresh fruits instead. They are filled with hydration and nutrients to help you feel healthy. Also avoid things like fizzy drinks, processed flours, fast and fried foods, and try and limit your alcohol and coffee intake – they are stimulants and need to be kept to a minimum.
4: Triple up when preparing meals
Cook with the week to come in mind – planning ahead makes eating healthier than much easier. Use up leftover sweet potatoes from dinner in a frittata mix with some organic eggs for breakfast the following morning. You can roast some vegetables in 30 minutes on a Sunday night that will make a nutritious side dish on a couple of evenings during the week.
5: Start and end your day well
To aid digestion and detoxification, start your day with warm water and lemon. To finish the day, it’s all about a calming and relaxing routine to ensure a good night’s sleep. Avoid screen time an hour before bed, and take a relaxing bath, or drink a chamomile tea.