Ditch the deprivation and Do This Instead
So you fell off the wagon this festive period.
Yes, you needed to anaesthetise yourself through those family functions, but still, you cruised from canapé to canapé, loosening your waistband as you went.
It’s not your fault.
Christmas is designed to make us fat and happy, so we’ll forget how dark and cold it is and approach the new year with some semblance of hope.
But that was weeks ago and you’re still finishing off the cheese and those last few chocolates, feeling bloated and beleaguered.
You’re sure you need punishing, so you made your new year’s resolutions for your health/weight/shape and you’ve set yourself up for a whole load of denial.
As if January wasn’t miserable enough.
You’re determined not to go near sugar, or your local Starbucks (even though that cute Barista makes your latte just the way you like it.) And you’ve signed up for a new exercise class you know you’ll never attend because honestly, gym gear does not feel like your friend right now.
Bring back 2018.
If only there was a simple, gentle, hold your hand and whisper sweet nothings way to get you feeling like your better self again.
Without the dreaded dieting.
Ditch The Diet
Diets don’t work.
There’s endless research to prove this so instead of boring you with it, I’ll simply give you my alternative prescription to get rid of your post-Xmas pain and make you look and feel better.
Stay with me on this one. The science is coming.
Walk once a day. Every day. For thirty minutes. Until further notice.
And I don’t mean on a treadmill, watching a screen while pretending you’re hiking Sierra Nevada.
I mean outside, because fresh air is medicinal, mandatory and provides extra resistance.
Yeah I know it can be cold — I used to live in Wisconsin so don’t even go there — but that’s what coats filled with down, fluffy hats and furry boots are for.
Wrap up. Get out. Breathe in the beauty of winter.
Here’s the science…
Why This Works
Walking outside distracts you from food, forces you to breathe (try walking a little faster) and gets you back in action and burning calories.
In addition, research shows that walking outside for just thirty minutes a day:
Protects against a range of chronic diseases and even prevents a premature death
Helps prevent diabetes and obesity
Reduces the risk of some cancers
Reduces Anxiety and Depression
Slows the progression of Alzheimer’s
All as reported by WDDTY, where Dr James Brown from Aston university in the UK, is also quoted as saying,
“All of these changes are not seen in people who run marathons; they are not seen in people who lift weights in the gym, or spend four hours running on the treadmill. These are seen in people who walk and who walk for half an hour a day.”
Walking outdoors engages the brain’s sensors, challenging mind and body, while promoting better posture (no treadmill handle to hold) and burning more calories.
And all you need is a decent pair of shoes!
But you’re thinking it sounds too simple.
Even though it’s free, more invigorating than exercising indoors and will leave you glowing without ever having to take your clothes off.
Research even shows that walking outside can make you feel happier. A 2018 study by Kings College London found that the positive effects of a single exposure to nature — for example, a walk — can last for seven hours after an individual has experienced it.
And happier people don’t comfort eat (so much) on dark, rainy, winter days.
But you’re sceptical, because you believe you have to starve yourself, or kill yourself at the gym, in order to look good.
So let’s take a look at your reflection. Are you a little sallow? Do the whites of your eyes have that attractive yellowish tinge? Have you got spots or maybe some pimples around your hairline?
My friend, you are congested and toxic.
If you go headlong into a Bootcamp-Burn session, or a seven day smoothie detox you will release a whole load of toxicity from your cells, without knowing how to support your body in actually releasing it.
That gets ugly.
Think migraines, bloating, cramps, skin eruptions.
It’s not the happy new year you really want.
Walking Is Your Easiest Detox
Here’s a little mantra for you
Move your body, move your bowels
In the past two weeks I’ve been supporting people with skin in all sorts of trouble. From Eczema and Psoriasis to full-on acne breakouts. And when the skin shows up as congested, it means the bowel is struggling too.
Movement quite literally gets things moving, but post-Xmas it should be gentle to give your body a chance to cope.
So if the gym feels just too much right now…
If you’re uptight and emotional…
If you’re out of breath going up the stairs and no one’s going to see you naked because the only thing you got for Xmas was ten extra pounds and they’re tucked away under your baggy sweater…
When you want to reach for the cookie jar because your system is loaded with sugar after Xmas…
The best way to lose what you no longer want is gradually.
Stop The New Year Diet Nightmare
If you regularly set resolutions you never keep. If you jumped straight on dry January or Veganuary, or whatever the current marketing spin is, in an effort to lose weight and get healthy.
I spent years rebuilding myself from serious illness, totally naturally and without dieting. I promise you don’t need a complicated eating plan or deprivation that only leads to binging further down the road.
Don’t start an impromptu detox you are unprepared for and don’t know how to support your body through.
Don’t jump on some guru’s online new year detox and expect it to change your life. It will only change your bank balance.
Instead, do something that is simple and enjoyable. Do something that balances your hormones and energises you without stressing you. Do something that gets results without hurting your wallet.
Walking is mindfulness in motion.
Walking is simple self-care that works.
Listen to music, an uplifting podcast or better yet, switch off and let it be just you and the outside world.
And maybe a dog.
Why Are You Still Reading?
You should be slipping on your walking shoes right about now.
Put down your phone, stop comparing your body to re-touched Insta pics of fake perfection and give thirty minutes to your real life, to improve your life.
We all fall off the wagon but this January you can walk your way right back on.
Make this the new year you ditch the frantic diet that is doomed to fail and decide to stop starving yourself and start rebuilding yourself instead.
One (outdoors) step at a time.