Returning to healthy habits after the holidays

During the summer we have allowed ourselves the luxury of eating what we wanted when we wanted, in greater quantities, with an increase in sugars, fats and alcohol. And we’ve all noticed that on the scales.

That’s why we want to take a moment to share some recommendations with you that will allow you to recover from the excesses of summer and return to the weight you had before the holidays: drink at least 1.5L of water a day, do not over-indulge in alcoholic beverages, eat frequently but only a few times a day, avoid snacking on pastries, eat slowly and chew food well. It is important to opt for healthy and fresh foods, preferably wholegrain, avoid precooked or excessively processed, fried, battered and breaded foods whenever possible.

Tania Mesa – Nutritionist and Nurse from Neolife

To resume a balanced diet and a healthy weight, you must return to the sacrifices you made before you went on holiday and renounce fast and harmful weight loss

WE RETURN from our holidays and rediscover the reality of everyday life: we have enjoyed our holiday to the fullest or at least tried everything we could before returning home, we found ourselves forgetting our everyday obligations that we normally adhere to, and that is why we allowed ourselves the luxury of eating what we wanted when we wanted, in greater quantities, without schedules, with a general increase in excess sugars (ice cream, pastries, soft drinks), fats (tapas, fried foods, sandwiches, barbecues), alcohol etc. without forgetting that we have stopped exercising or have done less than we should whist we were on holiday – we have neglected our diet and now we have returned home with excess baggage.

But the surprise comes NOW when we return home and get on the scales. Before taking drastic measures as a result of your holiday, you should consider how best to return to a healthy weight and enjoy the benefits associated with a balanced diet. It is likely that you will have to make small sacrifices similar to those you made prior to going on holiday and we know that when we do our bodies and minds will feel better for our sacrifices. You should not be tempted into any plan to lose weight quickly or to attempt any diets or methods that are not the healthiest solution for your problem.

Returning to healthy habits

Next, I will share some recommendations with you about how you can recover from the excesses of summer and return to the weight you had before your holiday:

  • When we are on vacation our bowel movements do not function as regularly as when we are at home and the intake of fibre often decreases as does the level of exercise we undertake.
  • Similarly, we do not drink as much water All this causes us to suffer from fluid retention, which causes us to increase in volume considerably and feel bloated, heavy and irritable. As a result, we must remember when we return to our routine, that it is necessary to drink water (a minimum of 1.5L a day) or infusions (herbal tea) so that our body and our skin remain properly hydrated. This in turn will help our liver and kidneys to detox from the summer indulgence.
  • Reduce salt intake. By doing this we will also avoid fluid retention and encourage the elimination of any liquids we have already retained. We can use herbs and spices as an alternative when cooking to ensure your dishes are even tastier.
  • It is important not to fall into the temptation and reach for the refreshing drinks or juices, not even light or sugar-free drinks because although they do not provide kilocalories, their sweet taste increases the insulin level in blood, activate your appetite and lead to the accumulation of fat.
  • Reorganise our schedules. It is important to consume small amounts of food every two / three hours. Or, failing that, adhere to a fasting or intermittent fasting plan as this will help you re-establish a healthy weight, not to mention the multiple benefits that fasting brings to our health (discussed previously in the article “Intermittent fasting could improve health and increase longevity”).
  • Avoid dining late. Our dinners should be light and easily digested so that they do not interrupt our night’s rest.
  • Eat slowly, small amounts, but often. By eating small amounts you not only facilitate the absorption of nutrients but such activity is essential to stimulate your metabolism and promote the feeling of fullness, which prevents us from reaching for foods when hunger strikes.
  • Another good option is to opt for whole grains, which are healthier and provide more fibre (especially if you include the seeds), which produce a greater feeling of fullness, so you are likely to eat less.
  • Do not snack between meals. Many people find it incredibly difficult not to snack on something more “rich, salty, sweet…” between meals. The key is to takes steps towards creating a positive habit little by little to not do the act or at least replace the act with healthier snacks: if you want to drink something, drink water, instead of crisps opt for pickled vegetables or cockles.
  • To remove the empty feeling in the stomach that occurs mid-morning and in mid-afternoon it is important to change your habit. Salty snacks or sweets are not the only thing that can satisfy our anxiety during work hours: when at work it is the ideal moment to enjoy the taste of a good orange, a ham and tomato or turkey burrito or a delicious yogurt with three or four nuts to take away the hunger.
  • If you find it a real sacrifice to stop eating sweets, you should not move to suddenly exclude them from your diet as this will be associated with frustration and anxiety. It is better to allow yourself to enjoy a small treat a week or to control the amount you eat.
  • Plan your weekly menu so that your shopping list is fixed and you do not end up placing items you should not in your basket. Follow the recommendations and only make purchases after eating; this way you will be shopping when you feel less anxious and have less unhealthy cravings.
  • Eat the same, but better. You do not need to stop eating or eat a spartan diet to lose weight. Our patients at Neolife know that the trick is to eat just enough to satisfy you (we do not weigh food), but yes, avoiding saturated fat, precooked meals, fast food and sugars is advised. Our diets focus on the importance of fresh products principally because they provide us with less Kcal and many more nutrients, that is to say, you “gain less weight but feed on more”. We are aware of the benefits of the Mediterranean diet and we apply the fundamental principles: do not over-indulge in animal proteins, increase the intake of legumes and cereals (whole grain), eat more fish, dress each meal with olive oil, eat fruit (2 pieces maximum per day, avoiding packaged/processed juices) and vegetables, the latter can be eaten cooked but also raw, in salads.
  • If you go out to dine at a restaurant, ask for the “healthiest” option. Share the salad; ask for meat or fish, for example, grilled (the best cooking methods are en papillote (in parchment paper), boiled, steamed, grilled or baked. You should avoid fried, battered and breaded); accompany your selection with vegetables; and if you must order a dessert, share it with someone.
  • Physical exercise is the best way to maintain good health and lose weight. Together with the correct diet, this should form the basis of your lifestyle. If you already were active in sports, you should return progressively to the sport and resume a routine, taking care to avoid injuries. If you are new to sports, now is the time for you to start a new activity. At Neolife we will help you adapt your physical activities on a regular basis and we will always take into account your needs and the most appropriate way for you to achieve your goals.
  • We do not endorse reliance upon low-fat or light foods because these do not always reduce your caloric intake. Many times these products eliminate fats and sugars, but replace them with other types of sweeteners or lipids that can increase your energy intake. It is very important to read the nutritional information on the product in full before considering it as the magical saviour of ​​your diet (we recommend reading the previous articles on the interpretation of food labelling: “Do we really know what we eat?” and “Do we really know what we eat? (II)”).

Another belief is that in winter “we need more calories than in summer” because of the cold weather. This is a widespread belief, but totally untrue. During winter, as we are ‘covered’ by clothes, it is common for us to neglect our diet and let the extra kilos reset on our body. This causes alarm for most of us when the good weather appears again in the summer. So, why do we not start taking care of ourselves right now? If we do this then any change to our habits would be less radical and we would gain ground before spring arrives with the good weather. In short: you have to keep yourself properly hydrated and drink at least 1.5 L of water a day. You should not over indulge on alcoholic beverages. You should eat frequently but only a few times a day and avoid snacking on pastries (we can eat a sweet once in a while, but only when our goal is not to lose weight).

You should eat slowly and chew food well. Opt for healthy and fresh foods, preferably whole and avoid pre-cooked, over-processed, fried, battered and breaded… You should reduce calories little by little until you return to your usual diet and exercise regime to ensure you consume suitable amount of energy. You should not relax in the autumn and wait until next summer. You must start now! Above all: do not get become obsessed or stressed, never be discouraged and be persistent; If you skip a meal there is always time to make up for it during the next meal. In a short time you will see how you can achieve the results you expected. And remember that at Neolife we will be happy to redirect you should you need help this autumn.