Returned home with more than you bargained for after a restful break abroad? You needn’t beat yourself back into shape. BODYISM founder James Duigan reveals how you can lose weight sensibly and sustainably – and feel transformed in just two weeks
Don’t beat yourself up for letting yourself go on holiday. It can actually be truly beneficial for your body. Getting away from stresses at home allows you to spend more time enjoying your meals. You’ll eat slowly and calmly. You’ll metabolise your food better, digest better and have the perfect chance to really listen to your body.
Once you’re home a return to routine gives you the perfect opportunity to address the four pillars of mindset, nutrition, movement and sleep that make up the blueprint for a healthy, happy body.
Addressing all four evenly and intelligently will get you back on track in the short term and provide you with the tools to feel healthy and happy in your body in the long term too.
So, you want to shift your holiday weight? First, ask yourself why? Asking the right questions is crucial to finding the right answers. Always start with your “why”. “Why do I want to lose weight?”, “Why do I want to eat well?”, “Why do I want to feel healthy?”.
Find that motivation, that purpose and the first day back in your gym kit will feel that little bit more manageable. If you still can’t bear to slip on your exercise shoes, think about starting small. Simply move your body. Walk around the block. Walk half your way to work. It’s a marathon, not a sprint after all.
You already know what’s healthy and what’s not – the problem is whether you can resist temptation. The typical solution is to go on a diet. But diets do not work. Diets are based on denial.
Instead of thinking about what you can’t have, focus on what you can. So often, health is focused on giving things up, when actually it should be about enjoying amazing food which improves how you feel — and once you’ve experienced that, there’s no going back.
Bring abundance into your diet. Eat lots of colours, dark green veg, bright red peppers, vibrant orange sweet potatoes, the rainbow of beans, legumes and fruit. Enjoy a varied diet to fill your body with all the natural nutrients, minerals and vitamins it needs to feel happy and healthy.
Movement is medicine – not just for the body, but for the mind too. You can make significant progress with your body, without damaging it, by simply working these three aspects of movement intelligently: balance, strength and cardio.
You can find several movement circuits in my new book, Blueprint for Health, that will set you on your way to a healthy body. But, until you get a copy, start including bodyweight exercises and stretches into your daily routine. Start with half lunges, squats and wall presses to improve your circulation, your strength and your metabolism.
Sleep is your body’s opportunity to regenerate, recharge and replenish. It’s when everything you did throughout the day gets processed — physically, mentally and emotionally. A good night of deep, nourishing, quality sleep has the power to transform your mind and body.
So what should you do to get a good night’s sleep? First, make sleep a priority. Recognising how important it is, will make you value how important it is. Next, embrace your post-holiday return to routine. Create a familiar pre-bed ritual that your body and brain recognise so you start to unwind long before you’re under the covers. Third, try to live by “the caveman approach”. When the sun goes down in the evening, dim the lights in your home and limit the use of electronic devices. This reduces external stresses and stimulation on your mind and body, calming you down before bed.
If you can apply a few of these suggestions, within just a few weeks I guarantee you will feel more energetic and less anxious. And, believe it or not, the decrease in stress can also lead to a flatter tummy, too!
Note: A longer version of this article was first published in The Daily Telegraph on Monday 4 September, 2017.