We all start the year with good intentions and changes we want to make with our health. We might go out all guns blazing in January and then notice a slump or plateau the next month. That’s why February is a good time to reevaluate the diet commitments that you have made for the year ahead, so take some time out in January to check in with yourself and see how you are going.
Did you stick to your plan or did you have multiple “cheat” days? Are you feeling lighter or bloated? Do you feel tired or energised? Is your skin normal, better or breaking out?
If you find that you have not seen the results that you were hoping for, reevaluate what and how you are eating. Are you drinking large amounts of juice? Are you frequently consuming alcohol? What are your portion sizes like? Can you cut your plate in half? Are you eating quickly and on the run? Have you actually made yourself a plan to follow or are you winging it?
You may also want to consult a Dietitian or nutritionist to help you create an action plan. Practitioners, such as a Dietitian or Naturopath can also identify underlying health issues that may be hindering your progress such as hormone imbalances or food sensitivities/intolerances or allergies. Regular meetings with your practitioner will also help you stay motivated and accountable for your actions, which can help with long-term results and sustainability of any dietary program. If you don’t want to see a practitioner, a buddy system with someone you trust and are comfortable with is another good option. Lay the ground rules down early and make sure they are checking in with you on a weekly or fortnightly basis to help keep you on track.
Keep in mind that if you have made any drastic changes to your diet you may find that it can take a few weeks for your body to get used to them. Furthermore your body may act adversely to being back at work as your cortisol (stress hormone) may spike to unhealthy levels if you are working in a busy or stressful environment, which can have adverse effects to your health. Your practitioner should also be able to assist you with stress management strategies too.
Some tips to help you enjoy the summer social season while sticking to a nutritious diet
- Plan ahead – If you know that you are going to go out for some afternoon drinks, think of what you are going to have for dinner in advance. Do you have a healthy and easy option that you can reach for when you get home? Is there a healthy take away option that you can opt for? Pre- planning this step will save you from the hot chip and kebab run later!
- Hydrate – You don’t want to waste a day in summer hungover, so drink water before you head out to a social occasion and then consume water between every glass of alcohol.
- Eat before you drink (alcohol) – Since the severity of a hangover isn’t just about how much you drink, but also how your body metabolises it, drinking on an empty stomach means that the alcohol will be absorbed faster and may increase your blood alcohol level. Always choose a meal that contains healthy carbohydrates, protein and fats.
- Check the menu before you go out – If you are meeting friends for lunch or dinner, google the menu online and pre- plan what you will order. This will stop you from leaning towards the ‘burger with the lot’ after you have had a few drinks and are feeling invincible
Finally, if you find that you are socialising a few nights a week, then make sure that the food you eat at home is as nutritious and healthy as possible. Try to add in as many antioxidants, vegetables, sprouts, herbs and spices for a nutrient dense meal.