How To Get Back Into Shape After Your Holiday Break

A quick-fix isn't the best approach...


Women's Health |

With the holiday season over, many of us are back at the gym working out frantically, starting a new diet and putting unnecessary pressure on ourselves to lose weight.

Nutritional consultant Vanessa Ascencao advises that a quick-fix approach may cause more harm than good and says a healthy lifestyle and looking good requires consistency. This encompasses a regular exercise routine and a daily balanced diet which includes whole, natural foods.

Ascencao recommends the following tips for getting back into shape and staying that way:

Ditch the guilt trip: you can’t take back your holiday indulgences. Focus on the future and what you can do to become healthier, long term.

Don’t deprive yourself: crash diets are not long-term solutions. Focus on health, rather than diet. Choose healthy foods and cut out big, heavy meals. Have small meals or healthy snacks throughout the day instead.

Drink water:  you could feel hungry when your body really needs water. Aim to drink up to two litres a day.

Choose healthy: increase your intake of fruit, vegetables and salads. They contain fibre, anti-oxidants and low-GI carbs which are all great for a clean and healthy system.

Cut down on sugar and avoid artificial sweeteners: sugar is an enemy of good health and artificial sweeteners contain harmful ingredients. Instead, choose a natural sweetener like Xylitol. Alcohol is also packed with sugar so cut back on your consumption.

Be creative: if you’re craving processed food and sugar, find healthy recipes online that satisfy your taste buds and your sweet tooth. Healthy eating doesn’t have to be boring!

Stress less: the holidays are sometimes also stressful. Stress can lead to unhealthy eating and burnout. Lower your stress levels with yoga, meditation and massage.

Get more sleep: the holidays can interfere with your sleep patterns which in turn may negatively affect your appetite. Avoid sleep deprivation. Get back into a healthy, eight-hour nightly sleep pattern.

Get active: regular exercise is non-negotiable. If you don’t have time for gym, walk, run, swim or play with the kids in the garden or walk the dogs for 45 minutes a day. On weekends, go hiking or play sports.

Always have breakfast: oats is a great source of slow-release carbs and will keep you going until lunchtime. Sprinkle raw nuts, seeds or fruit on top. Alternatively, try a boiled egg on rye toast. These meals keep your blood sugar levels balanced throughout the day

Supplement with Spirulina: choose the correct supplements in consultation with your nutritionist or doctor. Try Marcus Rohrer Spirulina, it’s packed with protein, all eight essential amino acids, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, iron and dozens of other nutrients.

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