A clean sweep

Try our top tips for giving your body a new year detox

The festive season is over for another year and many of us will be looking to drop a few pounds after the excesses of Christmas. The new year is a good time to give your body a cleanse, so why not start 2017 with a new exercise and healthy eating regime?

“It’s easy to overindulge during Christmas, but getting back in shape can be just as easy,” says Zana Morris, a nutritionist and founder of The Library Gym (thelibrarygym.com). “Christmas bloat is not only due to an over-indulgence in calories, but more specifically, an over-indulgence in insulin-releasing calories: foods high in sugars, from mince pies to mulled wine! It is this excess insulin that creates a sense of bloating and builds that extra layer of belly fat. It even leads to poor sleep patterns and overall fatigue.”

Slurp on a smoothie

“When it comes to naturally cleansing the body, one way to do it is to replace one meal a day with a detoxifying smoothie,” says fitness professional Jamie Lloyd (www.jamielloydfitness.com). “It can work wonders for getting rid of the substances that your body doesn’t need. Try to use natural foods and go for highly dense green vegetables and very little fruit. This can not only help with weight loss, but also with keeping the digestive system working well. The following recipe incorporates natural and healthy ingredients that will promote digestion, introduce fibre and help to give you a good cleanse.”

Jamie’s supergreen smoothie

  • A handful of kale, firmly packed, stems removed, coarsely chopped
  • 1 Gala apple, coarsely chopped
  • 1 ripe banana
  • Some loosely packed fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves

Put the kale, apple, banana, parsley and 400ml water in a blender and blend until smooth.

Remember, if the mixture is too thick, add a little more water. Enjoy!

Get moving

“The fastest way to eliminate bloating and boost energy, with results showing in as little as 4-5 days, is to incorporate short, high-intensity training sessions with clean, healthy, low GI nutrition,” says Zana. As little as 5-10 minutes of high-intensity training can help counteract that insulin, targeting belly fat, improving muscle tone and shedding inches, not to mention greatly boosting overall health and fitness in the process.

High Intensity exercise can be in the form of 3-5 bursts of 30-second all-out sprints with a slow jog for 1-2 minutes in between each burst. Alternatively, if you prefer to stay indoors, the following routine, one of my favourites, can easily be done at home!

Full standing squats: Standing with feet hip-distance apart, squat down by dropping your hips as low as you comfortably can to the floor. Then return to a standing position, keeping both heels on the floor at all times. Complete as many full squats as you can for 60 seconds, building up the number of repetitions as your fitness and strength improve. This is great for the abs and glutes as well as strengthening and toning the thighs and above all fitness and fat-burning!

Press ups: Kneel with your hands positioned under your shoulders and your knees under your hips, legs hip-distance apart. Bending at the elbows, drop your chest/chin to the floor and return. As strength increases, straighten your legs, keeping your hands under shoulder level at all times, until eventually your legs are completely straight and your knees no longer touch the floor, so you are now ‘pressing’ your entire body. Complete as many as you can in 30 seconds. These will help shape the chest and the back of your arms, as well as improve upper body strength and strengthen your core.

Crunches: Once the above exercises are complete, simply add 3 sets of 20 crunches to really work your abs and waist. Lie on your back, knees bent, feet flat on the floor and touching throughout. Interlace your hands behind your neck to support and raise your chest to the ceiling, lifting your shoulders off the floor, keeping your chin away from your chest at all times.

Cleanse your body

Combine your new exercise routine and healthy eating programme with a detox and you will soon be feeling on top form. Stock up on these detoxing ingredients suggested by Jamie Lloyd, an award-winning fitness professional based in south west London (www.jamielloydfitness.com)

Lemon
Too much caffeine, alcohol, wheat, gluten and sugar can result in the body becoming too acidic, which can lead us to feel bloated, lethargic and ill. In order to enjoy good health, the body should be in an alkaline state, with a pH level of around 7.4. A good way to alkalise your body is to start your day by drinking a glass of warm water and lemon with some sodium bicarbonate. Lemons contain citric acid yet, once ingested, they are highly alkalising for the body. In fact, lemons are one of the most alkalising foods you can eat.

Apple cider vinegar
If you are embarking on a new year detox, it’s good to stock up on apple cider vinegar. The acetic acid in apple cider vinegar suppresses your appetite, increases your metabolism and reduces water retention. Scientists also theorise that apple cider vinegar interferes with the body’s digestion of starch, which means fewer calories enter the bloodstream. So add one or two tablespoons a day to a drink of hot water.

Liquorice tea
This tea is great for soothing digestion and stabilising your blood sugar levels. It’s been shown that liquorice helps the liver to neutralise toxins so if you’ve drunk too much bubbly over the festive season it will help get rid of unwanted toxins in the liver. Not only is this tea full of antioxidants, it also helps to hydrate the body.

Bentonite clay
Bentonite is an extra-fine clay mineral created by the weathering of volcanic ash, which can be used to detoxify and strengthen the body’s defences. This super clay helps rid the body of heavy metals. Heavy metal toxins usually refer to substances like mercury, cadmium, lead and benzine. These can be found in low quality processed foods and also in foods that contain high fructose corn syrup or certain types of fish. Bentonite clay benefits your body by helping to flush out many of these toxins and can increase immunity and reduce inflammation. Take one teaspoon a day with warm water.

Eat clean

Zana says: “Combine your high-intensity training sessions with eliminating your intake of bloat-inducing carbohydrates, such as all sugars, breads, rice, and pasta, for 7-14 days. This can dramatically reduce your waistline! Focus instead on strengthening, toning, protein-rich foods such as organic or grass-fed meat, chicken or eggs, or alternatively wild fish such as salmon or tuna. Alternatively add quinoa or halloumi to a salad. Alongside healthy, energy-rich fats, such as avocados, nuts and seeds, you will be nourishing your body, dramatically helping to stabilise your insulin levels, while whittling away at your waist!”

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