The total mind-body makeover
If weight loss or clean eating is top of your list, the best way to make it happen is by doing a life detox – we’re talking total mind, body and soul overhaul.
Read on for expert advice on a brand new year.
The food detox
1. Clean up your diet
“Begin by clearing out your cupboard – starting with any packaged and processed foods and sauces (including frozen meals),” says Gracie Cumbers (@healthbygigi), nutritionist for Hard Candy Fitness.
Once the kitchen’s in shape, work on the following grocery plan…
Minimise refined sugars, dairy and gluten – “it will ease digestion and improve vitality (eating these foods can increase inflammation in your body).”
Buy a water filter jug for clean drinking water. “Remember to change the filter regularly and consume at least two litres a day.”
Eat a rainbow of fresh, seasonal produce. “For summer – eat fruits like melons, berries and stone fruit such as peaches, plums, apricots and nectarines and veggies like beetroot, cabbage, pumpkin, zucchini, radishes and lettuce.”
2. Give your liver a break
“Our liver becomes inundated with sugar, fats and alcohol over the silly season, so we need to give it time off to recover,” says Cumbers.
Try the following:
Schedule a week or two alcohol free. “Recruit a buddy who can wing-man you in social situations or opt for a sneaky sparkling water with lime.”
Have a break from chemical-based skincare and cosmetics. “Our skin is our largest organ and absorbs 28 per cent of what we apply to it. Perfumes and heavy chemicals can make their way into our system and put extra strain on our liver.”
Eat liver friendly foods. “Eat dark green vegetables (including rocket before meals), turmeric, and garlic and drink one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar in water when you wake.
3. Swap coffee for a cuppa
Naturopath Anthia Koullouros recommends giving caffeine a break and trying dandelion tea instead. “You’ll still get the essence of a morning ritual without the caffeine edge,” says Koullouros. “Ovvio Organics offers a rich, remedial brew that supports digestion but also is a gentle tonic for the liver, constipation and general toxic conditions.”
4. Go organic
“Organic means free of pesticides and chemicals, irradiation and genetic-modification,” says Koullouros. “Ideally when cleansing, you want to reduce your chemical load, so to do that The Environmental Working Group has a list that outlines the most chemically laden produce called the Dirty Dozen (the ones to avoid) and the Clean Fifteen (the ones to opt for instead).
• The Dirty Dozen
Apples, peaches, nectarines, strawberries, grapes, celery, spinach, capsicum, cucumbers, cherry, tomatoes, sugar snap peas, potatoes, chillies and kale/collard greens.
Opt instead for…
The Clean Fifteen
Avocados, sweet corn, pineapple, cabbage, frozen peas, onions, asparagus, mangos, papayas, kiwi fruit, eggplant, grapefruit, rockmelon, cauliflower, sweet potatoes.
5. Learn how to eat mindfully
“So often when we eat we’re distracted and don’t get to fully enjoy our food – this can lead to overeating because we’re not focusing on whether we’re satiated or satisfied,” says Health Psychologist Dr Louisa Hoey.
Here are some simple ways to be more mindful at meal times:
Turn off any distractions like the TV.
Be conscious of making your space pleasurable – i.e. using cutlery you love, decluttering the table or putting on nice music.
Focus on your five senses – notice the taste, texture and colours of food.
Think about how hunger and fullness on a scale of 1-10. 1= starving hungry about to faint and 10 = absolutely stuffed. “Below a 3 is when you make poor food choice decisions and above a 7 is what psychologists call ‘non-hungry eating’ which can lead to weight gain.”
The body detox
6. Get bendy
“Dynamic vinyasa yoga is great for detoxing as it incorporates deep, intentional breath work that synergies with asana postures to generate internal heat and flush toxins,” says Duncan Peak from Power Living Yoga Australia.
Try: Revolved crescent lunge pose
“This twist stimulates the stomach, intestines and liver promoting healthy digestion and the elimination of toxins,” says Peak. “With the right alignment, twists can bring relief from over eating and drinking, bloating, indigestion as well soreness in the back.”
From downward dog, step right foot between the hands and come up to crescent lunge, straightening back leg and keeping heel lifted.
Inhale and raise arms to the sky, bringing hands to prayer position at your heart.
Inhaling, lift the spine, drawing belly in and shoulders back, then twist to your right side.
Keep hands at heart centre and press elbow against the right knee and resist the pressure by pressing the knee back against the elbow.
Generate a deep twist through the abdominal and torso region.
Note: For a stronger variation, open arms to the floor on the inside or outside of the foot.
7. Practise Pilates
Donna from The Barre Studio recommends Pilates to assist with detoxing. “Joseph Pilates says synching the body and mind with breath is like an internal shower for the body. The breath helps every cell of the body be rejuvenated.”
Try: The Hundred
“It encourages circulation of the blood and lymph, stimulating the digestive organs and soothing the nervous system.”
Lie on back with knees bent and up in the air, knees and hips forming a 90-degree angle.
Reach arms straight up to the sky.
As you lower arms back down to the floor (but not touching), inhale and lift head, neck and shoulders while lengthening arms.
Exhale, pulse arms for five counts, deepening the abdominal contraction while straightening your legs.
Hold the position and pump for an additional five counts whist inhaling.
Repeat sequence for a total of 100 counts.
8. Hit refresh on fitness goals
Natalie Carter, personal trainer at New Outlook Fitness recommends rejigging your workout mindset.
Focus on time, not reps
“Working out with a timer versus counting out reps can be a great way to keep your body moving in a timed circuit but as a fun workout method. Set up 5-6 stations for 45 secs each and move through swiftly, stopping for a break at the end of 5-6 exercises.”
Find your why
“When it comes to goals, make sure they are worthy enough to see through. Remind yourself why you want to wake up and throw that kettlebell around at 6am. Go beyond just ‘to fit in a dress’ and find what really drives you.”
“Start conquering the exercises you struggle with. Rather than avoiding your nemesis (i.e. chin ups or burpees) incorporate them into your workout with a small, achievable rep range of 4-6 for 1-2 sets and build from there.”
The mind detox
9. Take time to reflect
“Take some time to stop doing and start being for a little while,” recommends Nikki Jankelowitz from Centred Meditation. “Pause for a minute, focus on your breath, then once you are calm, take a moment to reflect on last year.”
Grabbing a pen and paper, Jankelowitz recommends the following to complete your own mind workshop.
Think of year that was. Was it a ‘successful’ year? What is success, anyway? Is there anything you are proud of? Is there anything you would have done differently?
Project and prophesise the year that’s coming – where do your priorities lie? What do you hope to have achieved by this time next year?
Make sustainable and viable intentions – what core principles do you wish to implement to keep your priorities aligned?
Start now. Don’t wait for the year to tick over. Don’t wait until tomorrow. Literally start now.
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