It’s January! Go on, admit it, are you one of the thousands of people who made a resolution to get into shape but are now wavering? Lisa Burn helps you stay the course with our 14 day action plan…
DAY ONE – Back to basics – Assess your health
Before you start you have to set a few goals: decide how much weight you want to lose and a time frame for doing so. Using the Body Mass Index (BMI) will give you a starting point for your regime as it will show you where you fit in the medical scheme of things-the normal range being 18.5-25. This is used by doctors and is based on weight and height. To find your BMI just divide your weight in kilos by your height in metres – so if you are 1.6m tall and weigh 65kg your BMI would be 25.39.
Check your body fat – have it measured by a nutritionist or at the gym. Ideally, you should aim for between 23% and 28% body fat.
Finally, don’t get too hung up about weight as it can give a false impression – muscle weighs more than fat and resistance exercise increases your lean muscle percentage. This is a good thing despite what the scales tell you as muscle burns more calories than fat.
DAY TWO – Find a plan for YOU
There are many different forms of detox from simply cutting out alcohol, coffee and processed foods, to detox in a bottle – supplements designed to help you cleanse your body internally.
You could choose to eat mainly raw foods, such as sprouts, salads and vegetables or stick to fruit and vegetable juices either home made or shop bought.
Perhaps a no-meat, no-fish, whole grain detox appeals?
The key to being successful and staying the course is to find a method that suits you and a time that is convenient. That means a time when work stress is low and you’re not running around trying to meet the demands of a family. Choose a quiet time when you can concentrate without too many interruptions,, also, depending on the type of detox you decide to undergo you may feel low on energy or experience side effects as toxins are released into your body therefore detoxing when you’re not overwhelmed by outside pressure should help you cope.
DAY THREE – Philosophy of rewards
Detoxing is about cleansing – you should feel better at the end of it than you did at the beginning. It’s not about punishing yourself so don’t look at it as something horrible you have to endure. While it may be hard in the beginning to do without your usual treats – a glass of wine with the girls after work, a chocolate bar in your afternoon break – cravings will pass. And who wants to be beholden to cravings anyway?
Get yourself through it by taking things a step at a time and rewarding yourself along the way for being so virtuous. It could be you buy a new lipstick or pair of shoes, or healthy snacks from your local health food store (to be eaten after your detox if necessary), it may be a regular massage to help along your cleansing or the promise of a weekend away at the end of it all. If you regularly buy wine or eat lots of chocolate and junk food, put the money you would usually spend in a jar and at the end of your regime blow the lot on something you want. The combination of having something to look forward to coupled with improvements to your general health, looks- clear skin and shiny hair – and vitality is a potent one.
DAYS FOUR TO EIGHT – Do the detox
One of the best and simplest detox measures you can take is to drink more water. Choose filtered or bottled water and try to down at least two litres of it a day – not difficult if you always keep some to sip close at hand. Water helps dilute any toxins released in the cleansing process, flushing them out of your system. And you won’t always be constantly on the loo because your body will get used to the extra water and regulate itself. Drinking more water also rehydrates your skin as well as relieving feelings of fatigue and increasing energy – you may not realise it but by the time you’re thirsty you’re probably already dehydrated.
Cutting certain foods from your diet gives your body a rest. It has to work hard to digest fatty foods, dairy products and wheat so replace them with simple fresh fruit and vegetables, steamed vegetables, fruit and vegetable juices, which are all packed with antioxidant vitamins and minerals as well as amino acids. They help regulate your digestive system – for example apples contain malic acid, which cleans the intestines, potassium and phosphorous, which help cleanse the kidneys. Eat fruit and vegetables raw if possible to maximise nutritional content or juice them for a healthy drink. Consider adding sea vegetables to your diet also for their high mineral content.
Eating whole grains such as brown rice, millet and buckwheat helps regulate blood sugar so prevents the sugar high/sugar crash syndrome; nuts and seeds provide essential fatty acids as well as vitamins, minerals and proteins; giving up alcohol, coffee and tea gives your liver and kidneys a rest – try caffeine-free herbal teas or coffee substitutes instead.
Use more herbs and spices in your meals – coriander, for example, is good for the digestion, while garlic is a natural antibiotic and ginger soothes nausea and indigestion.
Supplements also have their place, not just the dedicated detox programmes that are available but others that can have a beneficial effect on your body. Consider a quality multi vitamin and mineral to safeguard your nutrient intake, psyllium husks to speed up a sluggish gut, milk thistle, artichoke and dandelion to give your liver and kidneys a helping hand with all those extra toxins they have to process, chromium to blunt cravings and garlic, aloe vera and probiotic supplements to improve your friendly bacteria levels during your detox and afterwards.
DAYS NINE to 14 – Little extras
You may feel tired and lacking in energy but that’s normal so take it easy, rest and sleep as much as possible during your detox programme. Keep your motivation up by introducing extras:
Skin brushing for a few minutes every day helps the lymph keep moving thus quickening the removal of toxins from the body. It also makes your skin glow, could reduce cellulite and acts as a form of exfoliation, sloughing off dry skin. Use dead sea minerals and a brush (always brush towards your heart).
Exercise – from stretching moves to yoga or t’ai chi, good for strength and relaxing the mind but not too energetic.
Pamper yourself. Set the scene with fragranced candles. Indulge in baths with your favourite essential oils, or add Epsom salts to encourage toxin removal. Cover yourself in your favourite moisturisers afterwards.
Treat yourself to a face pack or how about a mudpack for your body?
Give your fingers and toes a little loving with a manicure and pedicure.
Read your favourite book, listen to your favourite music or just enjoy focusing on you and what you want from life – just be.
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