Piled on the pounds over the holidays? Already planning to go to the gym every day of the new year in an effort to repair the damage caused by the festive season?
Don't worry, it's normal to put on a bit of weight over Christmas with so many tempting foods around. Thankfully, with a bit of forward thinking it's possible to lose the weight naturally and without too much stress.
Christmas is a social time, and many of us overindulge in alcoholic beverages, whether at the office party or while out socialising with family or friends.
When Christmas is over it's all too easy to continue this behaviour, so that eventually drinking every other night becomes acceptable. It's therefore important to break away from this mode of thinking in the New Year by either cutting back or avoiding alcohol altogether.
Overeating is commonplace over the Christmas season and due to the abundance of food on offer in the form of buffets, canapés, Christmas dinners, puddings, chocolates, biscuits and cakes. However, just because it's Christmas doesn't mean the food is devoid of calories and saturated fat, so it's a good idea to start monitoring your food intake and get out of the habit of eating unhealthy snacks or rich foods that can make you feel bloated.
Fruits and vegetables are high in fibre and rich in essential vitamins and minerals, used to fuel and regenerate every cell in the body. If you're not eating enough you may become deficient in vitamins and minerals such as calcium, magnesium, potassium and iron that contribute to overall cardiovascular, nerve and skeletal health.
Fruits and vegetables are low in calories and high in water and fibre, meaning they can help you to feel fuller for longer and ultimately prevent you from overeating. Load up your plate with multi-coloured fruits and vegetables for the greatest health benefits.
If you struggle to get your five a day due to a busy lifestyle, consider making some simple dietary substitutions. For example, try eating brown rice instead of chips or snacking on celery or carrot sticks instead of chocolate bars and crisps.
It's all too easy to stick a ready meal in the microwave after a long day at the office but this can be detrimental to health. Processed foods are often high in fat, sugar and salt and deficient in vitamins and minerals. Try preparing meals in advance; make large batches of homemade soups, chili, stews and sauces a few times a week. By doing this, you can determine how much sugar, salt and fat goes into your food.
Studies show that just 30 minutes of brisk walking can help you to burn 150 calories or more a day. Try walking or, even better, cycling to work instead of driving or if that's not possible, go for a walk on your lunch break or in the early evening. Walking 10,000 steps a day can significantly improve your health and according to the British Heart Foundation, to lose weight you should aim to burn 600 calories more than you take in from food and drink each day.