Winter is waning and you probably find yourself wanting to shed any extra weight that took up residence during the season. (It was all to keep you warmer, right?) Help is here in the form of 5 tips for cleaning up your diet this spring.
- Stay hydrated. Water helps keep things moving in your body, especially through your liver which producers bile that helps the body process fats. Plus, it helps you feel full. Often, if you haven’t had something to drink in awhile, that emptiness you feel is not hunger…it’s thirst! The recommended daily intake of water is half your body weight in ounces.
- Avoid processed foods. While making your own meals takes time, you can also better control the ingredients. It’s easy to open a box, but not always good for your waistline because packaged foods tend to be higher in calories and fat while being lower in fiber and nutrients. If you’re short on time, try one of these 5-minute meals from Shape magazine. While you’re at it, limit your intake of alcohol, caffeine, dairy, and sugar too.
- Eat small, eat regularly. Did you know your stomach is the size of your fist? Any time you eat a meal larger than that, your stomach stretches to accommodate. To help control portion size, take a look at your closed hand and aim for meals of that size. Keep your metabolism humming along by eating on the regular, too. That means a small snack in between meal times. Reach for a few protein-packed nuts, a heart-healthy avocado, or a fist full of fresh veggies. Make dinner the smallest meal of the day and on the lighter side. Try soups or veggies with a side of your favorite protein.
- Feed your gut flora. We know it sounds gross, but the bacteria in your stomach and intestines plays a key role in mind-body health. It seems like every day another study comes out that suggests a deep relationship between the health of our stomach flora and our mental state. (Check out this information about the brain-gut connection from John Hopkins University.) It’s a feedback loop with serious ramifications, if we aren’t aware of the connection. We eat processed food that kills off helpful bacteria. That leads to inflammation, which can lead to anxiety, depression, and a host of other ailments. These in turn can lead to overeating and sedentary living. And then, we keep feeding this cycle until we make a change in our diets. So, feed your gut with probiotic-rich foods such as kim chi, sauerkraut, and vinegar.
- Get (and stay) moving. No detox would be complete without adding exercise into the mix. Sweat helps keep your system clear and renews your skin. You don’t have to go all crazy, with an hour or two of cardio and lifting each day. Simply add at least 30 minutes daily of heart-pumping movement, whether that’s dancing, walking, swimming, or whatever else you enjoy that gets your body moving.