We're often sustained during Christmas indulgence and New Year’s Eve excess by plans to detox and diet when all the festivities are over. Now the future has arrived and it's time to cleanse.
For many people starting the new year is like a clean out, says Susie Burrell, one of Australia’s leading dieticians
“It creates a little bit of space in very busy diaries to get organised, reflect on what hasn't been working, to spend a bit more time on food preparation and changing some things in your life that can affect how well you can eat when it all churns up at the start of the year."
"I think people are tired so they use those foods to get through the party season, because they haven't had enough time to prepare food at home, haven't been as organised to eat well, so they tend to pick up fast food that tends to be processed food, with little nutrition," says Burrell of the irony of our ignoring good food when we need it the most.
So, take some time to take a breather, reassess and plan to spend more time on food preparation. The simple act of putting back in the good stuff is often enough to make you feel better, lose extra fluid and drop a few kilos of weight that you may have been carrying from the party season.
6 STEPS TO THE NEW YEAR CLEANSE
* Clear your diary for three to five days early in the new year.
* Get rid of all the food in the house that could tempt you - soft drink, Christmas treats, caffeine, alcohol, sugar, processed food. "The number one nutrition rule is if it's in the house you'll eat it," says Burrell.
* Get organised and stock up on fresh fruits and vegetables. Make a vegetable soup.
* Eat lightly - fresh fruit, vegetables, fish, light protein like eggs and nuts, and ease up on red meat.
* Eliminate all processed foods.
* Drink green tea (it has only minimal caffeine), vegetable juice and water.
Burrell warns it's important to have time to rest during this period, adding you may have a headache for a day or two. But persevere, because once you get rid of extra fluids from a lower salt diet you'll get the rewards. Planning is the key, she says, adding we also need to set limits to fight addictions as our social life lures us back into over-eating and drinking.
BURRELL'S TIPS TO MAKING THE NEW YEAR CLEANSE LAST
* Take time to shop for food each week, or shop online.
* Set aside time to plan and make meals.
* Have back-up meal on hand each week.
* Identify how many times in the week you'll drink alcohol - set limits.
* If you're tempted by the wrong foods, don't beat yourself up about it. "It's the all or nothing approach that gets many of us undone," says Burrell. "It's more about listening to what you want and then try to control the portions, and if you have something, get straight back on track rather than wiping out the rest of the diet just because of one thing."
* Make regular appointments with your dietician or trainer.
* Forget about eating as a reward because it sets you up for constantly seeking it out, warns Burrell.
* Although the reality is it'll be hard to stick to a strict eating routine for the months ahead, at least taking time out for a New Year cleanse will help recharge the batteries and get you ready for the year ahead.