Keisha Shakespeare-Blackmore, Staff Reporter
Over the holidays you would have eaten more than your fair share of ham, fruitcake, sorrel, gungo peas and rice, and all the nice things associated with the season.
As a result, you have gained a few pounds, and going into the New Year you forsee a task getting into your favourite pair of jeans. So how do you shed the excess weight?
Nutritionist and wellness consultant, Donovan Grant says that you need to start with a three-pronged approach. He explains that first you need to cut back on the amount of food you eat. This he said will force your body to take from what it had reserved over the holidays. Instead of eating a large breakfast you can substitute it for fruits and maintain portion control throughout the day.
Second, he recommends a detox programme. He notes that there are several ways to detox and you can check with your doctor or nutritionist to recommend a suitable one. You can also purchase a detox tea of your choice. "Also, you may choose to use aloe vera. Just cut a stem of aloe into small pieces, let it soak in water overnight in the refrigerator. Take six to eight ounces for nine nights, which will help with bowel movement, thus taking care of any bloating that you may be experiencing," Grant explains.
He notes that the next step is to get back on track with your exercise programme; and if you were not exercising before, now is a good time to start. Exercise will allow you to burn the excess calories and let you feel refreshed and energised.
He adds that sleep is also very important because chances are, over the season, you would have had very little sleep. So before returning to work you should catch up on some well-needed sleep. He notes that lack of sleep can cause the body to be stressed and produce stress hormones. Stress hormones such as cortisol can have negative effects on the body such as:
Impaired cognitive performance
Suppressed thyroid function.
Blood sugar imbalances such as hyperglycaemia.
Decreased bone density and decrease in muscle tissue.
Higher blood pressure, lower immunity and inflammatory responses in the body.
Slowed wound healing and other health consequences.
Increased abdominal fat is associated with a greater amount of health problems than fat deposited in other areas of the body. Also, some of the health problems associated with increased stomach fat are: heart attack, stroke, the development of metabolic syndrome, higher levels of 'bad' cholesterol (LDL) and lower levels of 'good' cholesterol (HDL), which can lead to other health problems.
Therefore, it is important to get your seven to eight hours of sleep so the body can perform at its best. Grant notes that, in an effort to keep trim in the coming year, one should create a healthy lifestyle change.
"Add more fruits and vegetables to your diet, pay attention to portion control, exercise more regularly, because at the end of the day it is not about just being slim but being healthy."
Additional source: www.stress.about.com/stresshealth.