It is this glorious time of the year again: the birds are singing their hearts out, flowers are blossoming everywhere, the air starts to have this mild, slightly dazzling wild taste to it, the sun is shining warmer and brighter and the whole universe seems to shout: rejuvenation! It is spring-time. One of my 4 favourite seasons of the year.
And with spring often comes the desire to let go, to renew, to cleanse, lose and refresh. As we are daring ourselves out of our all too comfortable winter-zones and hiding places, we are also getting ready to relinquish habits that are not in line with the so much lighter, more vibrant and radiant, blossoming US.
Here are my top 5 habits that all too easily might have crept into your lives during the darker and colder months of the year, but which might not have served you as well as you thought they would. It is time to kiss the following, less healthful ways and routines good bye. Spring is shouting it from its rooftops.
1.Ditch the sugar
Somehow it happens every winter again. Those nights are getting longer, the days shorter, there is this freezing chill in the air and we start to crave comfort foods. Above all, those that stimulate our brain to release happy hormones to make up for the warmth and light – and before we know it, we find ourselves eating sugary desserts and treats. Once we have started with this sugar craze, things seem to spiral out of control and we crave more and more of it. Before we know it, we find ourselves trapped in a vicious cycle of sugar hits.
But not with us. After all we are heading into springtime now with new strength and determination. Sugar, you better watch out for us – there is no way, you are getting the better of us. We are taking back control of our lives instead of you controlling us.
So, as a first stop take a good and careful look at all the sugar in your life. And I mean a real look. Start reading your labels and divide all those grams of the white poison into teaspoons. And then simply break up. Your relationship with sugar is no more. No-one is allowed to be cruel to you and harm your gorgeous, best self, so why would you sugar allow to do it. Instead nurture yourself with bountiful amounts of delicious fresh fruits and sweeten your occasional treat with a little rice malt syrup or 1-2 Medjool dates.
2.Dump the alcohol
Does the following sound any familiar?
It has been a long busy day and you cannot wait to get home and start to relax. To wind down and celebrate the beginning of bliss, you are doing so with a nice glass of red wine. But as the alcohol slowly releases into your blood, it is not a feeling of calm, rest and recover that is settling upon your central nervous system. It is more a sense of depression and heaviness which totally messes with the delicate natural balance of your nervous system, your sleep, mood and liver. Not good.
As if this was not already reason enough to quickly bail out and completely drop this alcohol drinking habit for the next month or so, booze is also full of calories. Seven kilocalories per gram of alcohol to be exact. That is a lot of extra energy consumption with no nutritional benefits. And it is those liquid energy units that will too quickly end up on your waistline.
So, next time you are stepping through this door of yours and into home-zone, poor yourself a delicious cuppa of nurturing herbal infusion which will preserve your sparkle, support your restful sleep and rejuvenation, boost your liver health and keep your stomach flat and waist slim.
3.Move more – Replace electronics with the outdoors
Enough of the indoors. Spring is the time to throw yourself head first outside again. The air is still crisp and fresh, the perfect time to find your active-you again before it gets too hot. Find your sneakers from underneath the bed and indulge yourself into your favourite form of propelling your wonderful and unique physical self forward. Cycle, run, jog, walk, do yoga, stem weights, or skip…whatever you do: move.
Unfortunately, coming out of hibernation state is usually associated with a few extra kilos that urgently need to be shifted. So, this is exactly what you are going to do now with as much passion and enthusiasm as you can muster and as often as you can possibly squeeze into your busy timetable.
And yes, we are living in an age where electronics have totally taken over our lives. Reality is that we are glued to screens more often than not. And in a very inactive way. Not only is over-indulging in electronics unhealthy for the sharp functioning of our minds, the muscle-skeletal strength and posture of our bodies and restful sleep cycles, but eating in front of our various screens also means we are ignoring our body cues of hunger, fullness and satiety and are constantly over-eating.
But let’s make this blossoming seedtime of the year all about indulging our senses the old-fashioned way. Let’s breathe in all those enticing sweet perfumes of the flourishing flowers, observe those clear Azur-blue skies, dotted with white feathery clouds and listen to all those godly creatures stirring with aliveness.
4.Consume more greens instead of trying to eat less
Unfortunately, it is the common belief that in order to be able to lose weight, it is essential to restrict calories and foods you love and fully emerge yourself into the next diet. While it is for sure true that eating a little less of those wintery comfort foods, eating too little, is not the solution. Instead it brings many more problems. Such as a slowed down metabolism and the readiness of your body to hold onto fat or store fat more easily. Yuk.
So, this spring, instead of reducing what you are eating in drastic ways, replace your packaged and convenience foods with all the fresh foods you can find. Buy up a total storm of fresh vegetables and fruits, wholegrains, fatty fish, eggs, nuts and seeds and eat yourself beautiful.
To help your body’s digestion and enzyme production and boost your liver function try to eat a balance of cooked and raw vegetables and nourish yourself with all the beautiful colours of the rainbow. Try out lots of new vegetables, you have never heard of or seen before and surprise yourself by how much fun eating wholesome foods really is. And while we are already at it: make an effort to drink more water too. Add some lemon, ginger, herbs or frozen berries for more taste and variety.
As we are saying good-bye to big jumpers, long cardigans and our beloved Uggs, let’s also remove those fast-food or favourite order-in- menus from our freshly re-invented spring lives. Breaking the habit of regularly consuming too much salt, too much sugar and too much unhealthy fats in too big portion sizes than good for us, has something incredibly liberating. Not only for our thighs, bellies, hips, buttocks and poor organs such as kidneys and livers, but also for our addicted minds. Let’s be honest it does not feel good, to not feel in control of your body’s needs and wants but let those fast-made meals with little love control you.
Instead start nurturing your gorgeous bodies, minds and souls with home-prepared meals again. I know, the thought might be over-whelming. You don’t have any time or nerve for this. But let me tell you, cooking up your own healthy-licious and beautifying meal can be as quick as waiting for your oversalty pizza swimming in artery-clogging trans-fats. Being in charge of what goes into your bodies, how the meal is prepared and tailoring your dishes to your individual needs, taste-buds and wants can be the most empowering act of self-love of all. No boring diet with unwelcome yo-yo effect needed. And if you want it to be, you can even make cooking your very own form of meditation. Talking about time – effective. I don’t think it can get any better than that.
So, this prime, when you are looking to change your winter-body into the gorgeous spring-you, stop researching all those latest ways on how to best detox and diet. Instead have a look at some of your winter habits that do not really contribute to looking and feeling the best version of yourself and then let go of them. I promise you the results will be much longer lasting and much more fun lived than embarking on yet another fad that is not sustainable and, worst-case scenario leaves you feeling even heavier than before.
Sometimes it is just as simple as to step it down a notch and go back to good old-fashioned basics. Our grandmothers, even if sometimes a bit too conservative or set in their funny own ways, did have many of a point when it comes to healthy living and eating, and I do not recall any grandparents of any of my friends struggling with obesity or overweight as unfortunately too often is the case now.