The days are shorter, the temperatures have dropped and we are almost smack bang in the middle of winter. So, if your intake of all things warm and yummy has increased and you have found it too cold to get out of bed in the morning to workout, here are some easy ways to give your diet an overhaul this winter.
While detox diets do not do anything overly special in the body, a period of low calorie eating in which you load up your diet with fresh fruits and veggies, eliminate the processed foods, sugar and caffeine and embrace a few tricks to rid yourself of a few kilos quickly, can help you look and feel your best in just a couple of days. The key is to get organised, allocate enough time to food prep and planning, and get some early nights so you can reap the benefits of your diet detox.
1. Start with a low calorie day or two
Whether you choose to replace your meals with fruits, salad or vegetables or begin your detox with a small fast (whereby you eat very little for a day or two), a short period of low calorie eating will do wonders for your body. Very rarely do we eat our meal or snacks because of hunger; rather we eat because have been programmed to or because there is tasty food available.
A period of fasting helps us to get back in touch with our natural appetite, helps to deplete some of our glycogen stores so you are ready to burn more fat, and gives the cells a reboot. 1-2 days of light eating or fasting is more than enough, while you drink plenty of water and herbal tea to ensure you keep hydrated.
2. Make yourself some detox soup
Not only does a low calorie, veggie rich soup boost your nutrition by loading you up with a tonne of vegetables, but the high water content of your soup coupled with lots of potassium courtesy of all the veggies helps to quickly flush the body of extra fluid it may have been holding onto from a diet high in sugars, processed carbs and salt.
Simply adding a vegetable soup into your daily menu is likely to give you a 1-2kg drop on the scales very quickly, and although this will mainly be water weight, it’s a safe and healthy way to feel lighter and more energised quickly.
3. Focus on unprocessed foods
This translates into whole fruits and juices, vegetables, salads, lean proteins such as fish and eggs, and fruit and nuts for snacks. When your diet is focused around fresh, natural and unprocessed foods, your calorie intake is automatically reduced while your diet is higher in fibre and nutrients.
Simple meals of an omelette with vegetables, a tuna or salmon salad for lunch, and a grill of fish or chicken breast at night along with 2-3 cups of vegetables of salad, will keep you full and satisfied whilst supporting weight loss.
4. Focus on low calorie fluids
Not only do herbal teas help to reduce fluid retention, but they contain no calories or caffeine making them the perfect hot drink choice to compliment your detox.
Aim for at least 2L a day of a mix of herbal tea, infused water, vegetable juice and water on your detox, and keep in mind that you may experience some caffeine withdrawal symptoms such as headaches and irritability initially, especially if you usually consume large volumes of tea, coffee and cola drinks. These symptoms should resolve after a day or two.
5. Move a lot and get plenty of rest
While a period of low calorie eating can do wonders for the metabolism, a time of eating very little calls for gentle exercise, not hours flogging yourself at the gym. This means your detox will be complimented with lots of movement and walking, as well as plenty of sleep as your body withdraws from the more processed foods and drinks it is used to running off.
You will find that after a couple of big sleeps you will suddenly wake up feeling more refreshed and energised than you have for some time.
Susie Burrell is a dietitian and nutritionist. Continue the conversation on Twitter @SusieBDiet.