Spring is finally upon us! After the long, dark doldrums of winter, you may be feeling a little less spritely than you did before the eternal frost. You may be moving more sluggishly, fitting more tightly into your jeans and feeling less motivated to overhaul your poor winter diet. Never fear! A few simple steps can wipe that winter frown clear off your face. It’s time for spring cleaning!
Cleanse Your Palate. After the sweet and lofty foods of winter, your taste buds may be craving salt, sugar and fat more than you’d appreciate. This is a sign that your body may need a mild cleanse. It may take a few days to ease into such a regimen, but it is helpful and productive to remove all of the inflammatory agents out of your diet. That means reducing or banning refined carbohydrates, sugar, caffeine, alcohol and excessive meat consumption, as well as putting the kibosh on overeating. Focus on healthful fruits, veggies, nuts, legumes, wholesome grains and lean sources of protein. This shouldn’t be too difficult, as there is so much delicious spring produce coming out. Take advantage of it with some great, healthy spring recipes.
A moderate cleanse also helps to give your body a chance to recalibrate. For instance, if youíve been eating a lot of yogurt every morning, nix the dairy and see if you feel more energized. We’re not talking about juice cleanses or cayenne pepper cleanses. Simply cut out inflammatory foods for 10 to 14 days, then reintroduce them one by one and notice how you feel. If dairy or gluten make you feel congested or heavy, perhaps you should consider limiting that food year-round.The first few days of such a regimen may be tough, but stick with it.†Generally, the worse you feel in such a scenario, the more you needed it. And after all, it’s only 2 weeks.
Drink That H2O. Your cells need water to function. If you are even slightly dehydrated, your body will not function optimally and you just plain won’t feel as good.†Chronic dehydration accounts for many diseases and dysfunctions in the body, so aim to drink around 2 liters a day. Whenever you would normally reach for coffee, tea, soda or juice, reach for a glass of room temperature water instead. Herbal tea with dandelion root is also great as it cleanses the liver, which in turn cleanses the body. An especially great habit to introduce is drinking a big glass of lukewarm water with freshly squeezed lemon juice upon waking every morning. Not only does this rehydrate your fasted body after hours of sleep, but it also reduces the acidity of your body — believe it or not, lemon juice acts as an alkalizing agent.
Kick Out Stress. Stress is a powerful force in our bodies. If it is not controlled, it can lead to weight gain and chronic anxiety. Everyone deals with stress differently. What’s most important is to avoid bottling it up. Instead, write in a journal, develop a positive mantra, go on nature walks, read a book, or take a hot bath. Practice whatever gives you the most pleasure and relaxation. Try incorporating such an activity into your routine at least once a week.
Yoga and meditation are also great for reducing stress and encouraging mental clarity. Many notice that they are better able to handle stressful situations after practicing either activity. †If you can’t get out to a class, try Wello to schedule a (2-way)†video training session with a live trainer. If you’re a little short on cash, a few stretches and meditation exercises can work wonders to ground your mind. Try to keep the positivity vibes flowing — it can become contagious and self-perpetuating.
Bust a Move. Exercise is good for you — we all know that. But, you donít have to become a Crossfit maven to exercise. Going for a brisk walk is equally important, and much gentler on the body. Moving daily pumps lymph through your body — the system that carries out toxins and waste. The only way for lymph to pump is through your own movement, so try to keep mobile so that all of those toxins can be filtered through your system. Try walking, jogging, tennis, fitness classes, Pilates, yoga, hiking, biking or any activity that floats your boat! There’s no need to start running if you absolutely abhor it. It’s all about getting healthy and having fun in the process.
Start the season off right and set yourself up for success. Cleaning up your subpar diet and lifestyle will make you a happier, more vibrant person. Life is what you make of it, so do more things you enjoy. Not only will it make your freshly cleansed self feel incredible, but you’ll become a much more well-rounded and positive human being. Happy cleaning!