The holidays slowed you down.
Then the flu caught up with you.
You are ready to get back to normal. Now that everyone is finally well and back to school and work, you’re tempted to go all out. You’ve cleansed the pantry of the last of the green and red Hershey’s Kisses and peppermint hot cocoa. You’ve got the schedule from the Y on the refrigerator with a class circled for every day this week.
I love your enthusiasm but what about baby steps instead of sprinting out of the gate?
Your body is still depleted from too much sugar and not enough greens and water. You may be low on critical nutrients. If you’ve been sick you may not have been eating enough, leaving you with less energy to spend. Remember the last time you tried too much too soon? Perhaps we can use our Middle Ground approach to reset your diet the right way.
If you’ve been on a workout hiatus and are still nursing a holiday sugar hangover, it’s best to start with some basics:
Are you drinking plenty of water? Nothing works well when you’re dehydrated and it can actually make exercise dangerous. It’s also true that you’ll retain more water if you aren’t drinking enough. Plus it will help get things moving in your digestive system.
Are you getting plenty of fiber? Speaking of getting things moving, make sure you are getting carbs that are high in fiber like veggies, beans and oats. You need fiber from a variety of sources to make sure you’re getting both kinds: soluble (which gives the stool its bulk) and insoluble (which improves transit time).
Are you balancing your plate? Along with the fiber and water are you getting proper portions of protein and healthy fats to keep blood sugar levels stable and give your body all the fuel it needs to repair and reset?
Now that you’ve got the basics covered, let’s incorporate a few healthy hormone foods. These foods will help your metabolism bounce back to a more normal state.
Add some cinnamon to your oatmeal or coffee. According the American Diabetes Association, cinnamon has been shown to improve insulin sensitivity and reduce glucose levels. Lower glucose levels and improved insulin sensitivity means less circulating insulin, one of the key hormones in weight management.
Get extra selenium in your afternoon snack. Your thyroid is your metabolic engine. Studies have shown that the trace mineral selenium is crucial for thyroid function. Just one ounce of Brazil nuts has over 100% of your daily recommended allowance of selenium. Try adding some to dry roasted edamame for a crunchy protein rich snack.
Have a little Greek Yogurt or cottage cheese before bed. If you haven’t been working out and have been fighting a cold of flu, your sleep schedule may be a bit off. Dairy products contain tryptophan, a building block for the sleep hormone melatonin. Put away your phone, turn off the television and enjoy a creamy treat before bed to help induce a better night’s sleep.
Choose the steamed broccoli as your side. Broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables act as estrogen scrubbers in the body. If you’ve been feeling a little estrogen dominant make sure you eat plenty of broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts and kale to help bring back balance.
There are no quick fixes to complex issues like being sick, tired and stressed out. However we can implement small steps that when done consistently can help clear the path back to normal. Give yourself a couple of weeks of solid nutrition plus some light workouts before jump back to hot yoga or Body Pump.