Christmas is officially over and we are all back to our normal routines once more. Since the pandemic isn’t going anywhere soon this means that many of us are back to staying at home and working, and not being able to see the people we love.
It is easy to get the blues in January after the festive season is over, and in 2021 especially there is a certain melancholy now that we are locked down in our homes once more for the foreseeable.
However January blues are not a good enough reason to fail at our healthy goals, and today we want to show you some simple things you can do to make a change to your diet and beat that January bloat.
Small changes can make a big difference to your mind and body and today we want to share with you what you can do to drop the pounds and feel healthier this year.
Don’t eat after 8pm
The first thing you need to consider when you are making changes to your diet is the time of day you eat. It is all too easy to slip into the habit of eating snacks until late at night in front of the TV but in the new year you should try to avoid this. When thinking about the signs of poor gut health, do you often feel bloated or need the toilet more? By eating and stopping at 8pm you will be giving your body chance to digest the food you’ve had before you go to sleep and your gut health and sleep quality should improve.
Consider swapping grains
When cutting out certain habits in January it is important to think about small changes you can make to your existing diet. For example, you could consider swapping white bread and white rice for its wholegrain equivalent – and even though it might seem like this is a small insignificant change it can actually be important for your body. By swapping out complex carbs like these your body can digest easier and you will also experience less bloating and retain less fat.
Cut out dairy
Dairy comes in many delicious forms from cheese to cream to milk and yogurt – and although it is full of calcium it is important for us to limit the amount we eat if we are to stay healthy and lean. Cut back on the cheese you have within your normal meals and try to reduce the milk you have in your coffee. Black coffee although strong can actually be a huge boost for the body and boasts numerous health benefits. Dairy can encourage us to store fat so by cutting it down or out for a month you will see a big difference in your life.
Reduce processed foods
Processed foods such as biscuits, pasta, crisps, chips, chocolate and more are tasty; we all know that. But if you want to make a change in January and get rid of that festive bloat it is time to cut out the artificial stuff for real foods’. When snacking, reach for a piece of fruit rather than a packet of crisps; instead of a pasta dish try making a salad or homemade sweet potato gnocchi. Make changes to your diet that allow for more fruit and vegetables and protein. It will make a huge difference to you and your health.
If you were to take a photo of your Christmas dinner for Instagram, you would notice very quickly that the plate is mostly beige and yellow. Beige and yellow foods like mash, roast potatoes, meat and more are amazing and flavourful but they lack a lot of the nutrients we need to stay healthy. Every meal should have colour on it whether it be some spinach on your morning bagel; a salad for lunch; and roasted vegetables alongside your dinner. Eat colourful foods as much as you can and imagine you are modelling every single plate for Instagram fame. This way, you’ll get into good habits and add salad leaves, vegetables and good stuff to every meal.
Eat little and often
It is easy to not eat all day during lockdown and only eat one massive meal – but this is not the best way to go about things for a happy body. To beat the bloat you get after a large meal consider instead eating little and often throughout the day to keep your metabolism going and to allow your body to fully digest between meals. It is so important to eat little and often because it will allow your body to stay alert and awake all day without that extra weight carried around through bloating.
Drink lemon water
Lemon water should be at the top of your list when making a change to a healthy diet. Lemons are packed with vitamin C as well as other minerals and they will wake you up with a bang each morning and fight off that bloated feeling. Lemon will boost your metabolism no end and drinking it first thing in the morning at least 30 minutes before your first meal will switch on your metabolism and help you to digest food more effectively – and will stop you feeling bloated and lethargic during the day.
Eat ginger for circulation
If you tend to struggle a little with your circulation in the winter and the heat never seems to reach your fingers and toes – it is a great idea for you to start eating a piece of ginger every morning to improve this. Ginger is spicy but it is also a powerful tool against bad circulation and high blood pressure. Ginger will promote great circulation and will allow you to feel warm all the way from your fingers to your toes every day. Ginger is also great for waking you up in the morning so it is well worth taking some to help you concentrate and stay alert.
Consider intermittent fasting
Intermittent fasting is a type of diet control that aims to eliminate bloating and allow the body to effectively lose weight. If you constantly feel bloated throughout the day it is worth trying this method of eating to help you manage your body. The idea is that you restrict your eating to a window of time during the day. 8 hours is the most common however some people go as small as 4 hours for the best results. It means that if you eat your first meal at lunchtime, you will want to eat the rest of your meals in that window and then nothing after. It is a way to allow your body to recover after meals and to flush out any toxins or fats.
Drink plenty of water before meals
It is important when trying to eat less and feel less bloated that you drink lots of water before you have any meals. Water is an essential part of our diet and it is a great way to help curb appetite. Did you know that often when you feel hunger pains it is actually caused by your body wanting water? By drinking water 30 minutes before a meal and when you start to feel hunger pains you will soon find that you aren’t hungry that much of the time at all and in fact, you eat less.
Try 50:50 on your plate
If you want to make a positive change to your diet this year an easy way to start is by changing to a 50:50 diet. Instead of a full plate of your favourite pasta dish or lasagna – try 50% pasta and 50% salad for a leaner and more nutrient rich meal. By doing this you will eat less of your regular meals and will have more leftovers so this is a huge bonus!