Forget the calories, put away the scales and start focusing on what your body wants - real nourishment and balanced energy for the new year!
1. Play more
If working out at the gym stresses you, then just stop. You'll get more benefit and enjoy life more if you make exercise fun. Stress ultimately slows your metabolism and keeps weight on, while play energizes you while you sweat out toxins. Get outside and have fun. Have sex. Take up golf. Go hiking with friends. Dance. Movement that is fun and laugh-inducing is good for you. You'll do it more often, and it will release the beneficial, metabolism-balancing neurochemicals of pleasure, including dopamine, oxytocin, and endorphins.
Proper sleep is essential for health. Protect your sleep by making sure you go to bed at the same time and by sleeping in a room that is completely dark. Logging 7-9 hours of quality sleep, every night, is necessary for your body to balance hormones, which affect your mood, metabolism and insulin sensitivity. Your brain also disposes of waste, essentially detoxing and clearing out unnecessary neurochemicals, while you sleep.
3. Watch your thoughts.
Many of our thoughts are habit. Replaying the same old tapes can have negative effects, especially when it comes to our bodies, our abilities and our self-esteem. It's normal - humans have a "negativity bias" built into our brains. This means your brain, left to its own devices, will default to the negative, to try to protect you from mistakes. However, this constant focus on the negative can put us into a stress state and keep you going back for comfort foods. What’s more, you won’t feel you deserve the amazing, energized and healthy life that awaits you when you are kind to yourself. Meditation and yoga are excellent ways to help you rewrite those old tapes and put you in a state of positive awareness.
4. Go on a media detox.
What you see impacts your health, confidence, and cravings more than you realise. Magazine covers that simultaneously show skinny models promoting the latest fad diet next to chocolate cake recipes and Facebook and Instagram feeds that feature perfectly toned professional athletes put us into "compare and despair" mode. We are constantly assaulted by images of how we should look. Turn off the river of self-hate-inducing images by going on a media detox. Turn off the TV, talk radio programs, celebrity magazines and anyone on social media who makes you feel bad about yourself, even for a moment. Turn it all off. This will help you start listening to your own body and feeling better about how YOU look and feel, rather than comparing yourself to false images.
5. Remove the "Toxic Six."
When it comes to detoxing, it’s very important to remove foods to which you are intolerant of or sensitive. There are six common foods that cause the most problems are: gluten, dairy, soy, corn or maize, sugar (including alcohol and artificial sweeteners), and caffeine. Removing these six foods for at least two weeks will allow your hormones to balance, leading to easy, natural weight loss and balanced moods and energy. Avoid these foods for two weeks, and then reintroduce them, one at a time for 4 days, to help you understand how each foods affects your energy, digestion, skin, and mood.
Mom was right: chew your food! Digestion starts in your mouth with mechanical chewing and the enzymes in your saliva. If you swallow half-chewed food, your stomach won't be able to break it down properly, causing bloating, gas, and bacterial overgrowth. So chew, chew and chew! This allows for better digestion, metabolism, and 'ahem,' elimination too.