Beat the Bloat: Overeating During The Festive Season


Happy New Year! You're fun, you're fabulous ... and you might be feeling a little bit F(L)AT! With the festive season been and gone, it is quite common for many women to start the new year with resolutions to lose weight, exercise more and eat better. Why? Because many of us tend to over-eat in the silly season and then feel guilty afterwards. With Summer here and the festive season behind us, it is time to look to the future and when is a better time to start than now? Here are some tips to beating that bloat and looking better in just a few weeks.

Fitness:
1. Stretching: it might sound like a simple gesture, but stretching is important for your body. It not only prepares your body for exercise, it also helps to makes muscles long, lean and prevents muscles from cramping. Stretching problem areas can also save your from repeat visits to the physio.
2. Running: put on a good sports bra and run like Forest Gump because running is one of the quickest ways to drop weight, quicken your heart rate and give your body a good cardio workout. If you have weak knees or ankles then avoid running on the sand or road and try running on grass instead.
3. Yoga / Pilates: Now that the new year is here, it is important not to take a back-seat in you busy lifestyle. Yoga and pilates are both excellent low-impact sports which not only tone and lengthen but also help relax the body and teach you to focus on breathing.

Foods:
1. Meat: It has been proven that eating too much meat can slow the body's digestive system because it takes quite some time to break down inside the body. Try to limit how much meat you eat and try introducing 'Meat-Free Mondays' where meat is replaced by seafood, tofu, eggplant, eggs or soup.
2. Detox: While there are many weight-loss and detox diet programs available, it is important to make sure your body is receiving sufficient nutrients during the program. We recommend trying a 3 day Urban Remedy detox (www.urbanremedy.com.au) or Skinny You Tea detox (www.skinnyyoutea.com.au) - check out their impressive weight-loss transformations!

Leading Sydney Naturopath Victoria O'Sullivan shares 5 tips to indulging without the guilt:
1. Reduce your intake of pro-inflammatory foods: All forms of sugar and most starchy foods are pro-inflammatory, so steer clear of sweets, pastries, biscuits, milky chocolates, chips, breads and snack foods, including rice and corn cakes. When we eat sugary or starchy foods, we trigger a release of sugar into our bloodstream, which causes our body to store fat. Eating sugary foods triggers a spike in insulin levels, which increases our appetite setting up a vicious cycle of overeating.
2. Up your intake of blueberries, garlic and spices. Antioxidants are anti-inflammatory. Berries of all types, particularly blueberries, are a delicious antioxidant super food. Garlic, onion, cinnamon and turmeric are also super foods. These foods contain high concentrations of cancer-fighting phytochemicals. Lower amounts are also found in other vegetables,whole grains and beans. Dark leafy greens are an important antioxidant source. By replacing processed, starchy and sugary foods with foods high in antioxidants we work to neutralise inflammation in the body. 
3. Add more leafy greens in your diet. Foods such as avocados, leafy greens, soya beans, radish and broccoli work to help regulate the pH of our blood cells. When we eat too much acid, the body is forced to draw on its alkaline stores to balance the surplus acid. The acid then creates nasty things like yeast, harmful microforms, toxins and bacteria.
4. Control your cortisol levels. Both stress and lack of sleep raise the hormone cortisol in our bodies, which regulates the anti-inflammatory response. Overtime, in periods of high stress and little sleep, our body becomes less sensitive to cortisol and inflammation takes over. Try and get eight hours of undisturbed sleep each night and take up activities that reduce stress.
5. Control your weight. People carrying excess weight are in a permanent state of inflammation. Research shows that when not maintained at an ideal level, fat functions like an endocrine organ releasing hormones into the system prompting an inflammatory response and excess weight reduces the body’s ability to cope with inflammatory foods. The only answer is weight loss to reduce the body’s pro-inflammatory activity and allow it to more readily to regulate the effects of pro-inflammatory foods.
For more information, visit victoriaosullivan.com.au.

What habits will you be changing this year?