You might not have been successful in attaining your fitness and diet goals in time for summer but here's how you can start doing things that can make you look and feel healthier.
You're probably not going to wake up looking like a model tomorrow - but you can certainly start feeling better and improving your digestion in a week, according to dietitian and nutritionist Andy Bellatti.
Here are a few things Bellatti and other nutritionists recommend as reported by The Independent.
-DO: Drink lots of water
Water is essential - it regulates the shape of every cell inside our bodies. If we don't get enough, in fact, these cells begin to shrivel up.The CDC recommends choosing water instead of sugar-sweetened beverages to "help with weight management."
-DON'T: Go on a juice cleanse
If you're considering a "detox" or "juice cleanse," you might want to reconsider. Drinking just water, juice, or any other liquefied concoction for more than a few days can set you up for unhealthy eating behaviors, and can often lead to spikes and drops in blood sugar levels, which can spawn cravings and mood swings.
-DO: Cut back on sodium
Not drowning your sushi in soy sauce can be a good start. Too much salt in your diet can cause puffiness and bloating, so cutting back can help you avoid that.
-DON'T: Start banning foods
There's a difference between cutting back on things you eat in excess and banning certain food groups entirely. Diets that rely on avoiding ingredients (like sugar or gluten) can lead to replacing those things with other ingredients that play the same role in the body (like honey or corn-based foods). Doing this can be dangerous if the replacement products are nutrient-deficient.
-DO: Fill up with fibre
Fresh, high-fiber vegetables like broccoli, bell peppers, and brussels sprouts - which the CDC calls "powerhouse foods" - are a great source of key vitamins and nutrients, including fiber, which helps keep you feeling full and satisfied until your next meal.
"Whole, plant-based foods (fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, nuts, and seeds) are best," Bellatti said. "One quick way to add extra fiber to your day: sprinkle chia, hemp, or ground flax over whatever you're eating for a boost."
-DON'T: Rely on powders and pills
The problem with diet powders and pills, Bellatti says, is that they often take something that was once a whole food, like a fruit or a vegetable, then process it to separate out one ingredient. That's alright for things like cocoa powder, which does have nutrients, but it shouldn't make up the bulk of your dietary intake.
-DON'T: Focus exclusively on calories
Focusing too much on calories can be dangerous, too, since the measurement falsely makes it seem like a calorie of one food is exactly the same as that of another.
"This is especially true when eating at restaurants," Bellatti said. "Many low-calorie items are loaded with sodium, which retains water and can leave you feeling bloated."
-DO: Think positive
Thinking positively about eating and feeling better can help motivate some people to stick to a new lifestyle.
"In terms of changing the way you eat (it's much more than a 'diet'), focus on the opportunities and what you can eat as opposed to what foods you're trying to cut down on," Dr. Donald Hensrud, who chairs the Mayo Clinic's division of preventive, occupational and aerospace medicine, wrote in a blog post.
"There are many wonderful foods and recipes to explore, and believe it or not, we can learn to like new foods."