I absolutely love food and, for me, travelling provides the opportunity to explore new flavours, even if I tend to eat a little more than what I need.
When I was younger I used to try and make up for my summer indulgences by going on a fall fitness craze. Over time, I realised that this is only a short-term fix.
80% of the way we look and feel is down to our diet and lifestyle.
20% is exercise.
This is hard to hear, especially if you’re training your butt off and believe me, it’s not the best motto for my business as a Pilates teacher … but it’s true.
The idea that you’ll “just burn it off at the gym” might be a post-summer quick fix but sooner or later you’ll have to address the reasons why your body is holding onto unwanted weight. And that starts with reviewing your diet and your lifestyle.
What you eat most of the time is more important than what you eat some of the time.
Overindulging a little during the summer – that extra glass (or two!) of rosé – is perfectly normal, as long as you get back to your routine when you return home.
This is difficult because our bodies keep nudging us for any of the bad habits we might have picked up on holiday. Sugar is addictive as is alcohol (also sugar) so as long as we keep consuming them, our bodies will keep asking for them.
This is why my back-to-reality strategy is always to cut out the crap completely by going on a detox. This is the only way to get rid of all the toxins that have hijacked my taste buds and make me crave sugar, and to kickstart my hankering for healthy food again.
And this is why I want to share what a good detox should look like if you want to clean out your system, kick your cravings in the teeth and fire up your metabolism so it starts burning fat again.
Stocking up for a detox
The good news is that unlike most detoxes, the ones I recommend don’t involve starving yourself or relying on juices, powder or pills. Mine involve eating REAL FOODS that have been chosen specifically for their antioxidant power, their ability to reduce inflammation, boost your energy levels and start burning fat.
My favorite place to buy organic produce is at the Condamine market, specifically the few small producers under the arcades. Their fruits and vegetables have noticeably more flavour than anything you’ll find in the supermarket.
Anything I can’t find at the market, I duck down to the organic supermarket. Solis Bio (7 & 9 rue Terrazzani) has a good range of produce (especially mid-morning), and this is also where I buy my coconut oil, nuts, seeds and other fun things like Tempeh and the occasional Kombucha.
I visited the new To Be organic shop at 31 ave Princesse Grace, but more on that next time.
Maddywell’s Detox Tips
Eliminate processed foods.
Despite their shiny labels and smart marketing messages, most processed foods have been stripped of their nutrients and the added preservatives, colourings and artificial flavourings will only create a “toxic hunger” leaving you craving for more. Removing these from your diet completely is an essential step in helping your body detoxify and start burning fat.
Eat more vegetables: It’s not sexy but it works.
Vegetables are full of the fiber, vitamins and nutrients that our bodies were designed to digest, unlike multivitamins capsules. Eat a rainbow of veggies, preferably organic and in season – currently courgettes, aubergines, artichokes, spinach and celery.
Give up inflammatory foods – even temporarily.
We’ve all got that one friend who has stopped eating gluten or dairy and feels amazing. I’m one of them and you could be too. Gluten and dairy are the most likely to cause digestive issues and to mess with your hunger hormones. By removing them from your diet for 10 days, you’ll notice a clear difference in how you feel, how hungry you are and increase your body’s ability to burn fat. After 10 days, you can decide for yourself if they’re best to avoid. It’s worth a try, I promise.
Sugar is the silent killer of our times and it’s considered to be more addictive than heroin, although most of us don’t realise we’re hooked on the stuff. Sugar triggers a reaction in our brain’s “pleasure centre”, causing a surge in our blood sugar levels and the release of insulin. Insulin is your “fat storage” hormone so it’s worth keeping this little guy in check. As mentioned above, there is no better way to kick your sugar cravings in the teeth than to give it up completely.
Eat more fat!
For years we were told that eating fat makes us fat. Not true. Eating fat is essential for our health and helps with nutrient absorption, keeping us satiated and burning fat. Include healthy fats at every meal in the form of nuts, coconut oil, seeds, avocados or olive oil, for example.
Up your water intake.
It may seem like a no-brainer but most of us aren’t getting enough water and this can affect your hunger levels, as well as your body’s ability to burn fat. The amount you need will vary according to your size, the amount of exercise you do and the climate where you live but as a general rule 1.5 litres of water is an absolute minimum for an adult. In summer, I tend to drink over 2 litres and I’m a small frame but I do exercise quite a bit.
Sleep and relaxation are the new exercise. No, I promise. More and more studies are pointing towards the fact that stress makes us fat because it releases cortisol and other stress hormones, which typically result in inflammation and fat storage. You can improve the quality of your sleep by setting a “no screen” time a couple of hours before you go to bed. Read a book instead.
Article first published September 12, 2017.Maddy is the Founder of Nutrition For Naughty People, aimed at helping individuals find a better balance between the things that keep them healthy and the things that make them happy! Any questions?
firstname.lastname@example.org. (Feature image: @viktoriakhatib)