Post-holiday health kick

The summer holidays are a great time to ‘live-a-little’ and spoil yourself. However, soon after stepping off that plane the signs of over-indulgence may start to show. Sugary cocktails and mid-afternoon snacks by the pool sound familiar? It’s time to get back on the bandwagon and re-prioritise your healthy habits!

It’s important not to dwell too much on the unhealthy choices you might have made on holiday and instead look forward to organising your food and exercise regime.

For a lot of people, the first thing that comes to mind after a hectic holiday period is a quick fix, which can lead people to pursuing a ‘detox’. If you only remember one thing from this article then this is your takeaway message: “detoxes” don’t work and are potentially a big waste of money.

The human body is awesome and perfectly self sufficient. It has its own built in detoxing system which comes in the form of your liver and kidneys. The multi-million pound detox industry makes bold claims about their products, with very limited evidence to back them up. They are either glorified fasting diets, a concoction of questionable supplements, or well-disguised laxatives. You don’t need a branded tea or a pretty packaged shake to get you back to full health.

So if a detox isn’t the answer, how do you start to get things back on track? Instead of thinking of a short-term quick fix, focus on long-term behavioural changes that are realistic and maintainable. Start with a small change and once that has become a habit, make another change. Trying to change too many things at once is difficult and can lead to failure. The old saying ‘slow and steady wins the race’ has never been more true.

Here are my top tips for getting back on track:

Increase water intake

Water plays a key role in a variety of bodily processes. Your kidneys are responsible for flushing toxins from your body. In order for your kidneys to function effectively they need to be adequately hydrated. The European Food Safety Authority recommends that men consume 2.5 litres of water a day whilst women should aim for 2 litres. If you are exercising regularly, then this requirement increases. Water is needed to break down fat deposits, so if you are looking to drop body fat, your requirement increases even more. Eating a higher protein diet? Your requirement increases. You get the point. Make sure you always have a bottle of water to hand and drink plenty with every meal. Water is vital to long-term health, so what are you waiting for? Drink up.

Limit alcohol

If shifting a few holiday pounds is your goal then cutting out alcohol will help you reach your goal more quickly. When you consume alcohol, your body prioritises it and halts the breakdown of fat. The fat will sit in your liver until all alcohol has been processed. If you are going to drink, little and often is preferable over binging.

Along with the alcohol content, don’t forget that most alcoholic drinks contain a vast number of calories. A pint of bee