How to Hit Reset Your Diet in Just Two Weeks
- Written By:Amy Shapiro, MS, RD, CDN
Welcome back to the real world! I often think of September as the “real new year” after an indulgent and less structured summer season. At Real Nutrition, our theory is “you can have everything you want, just not all at the same time.” We’re here to share some of our top tips to, shall we say, reboot and reset your nutrition this fall. All are easy to apply, quick acting and results driven. No, you don’t have to do this forever, we suggest two weeks of some serious focus and then revisit whenever you feel it’s needed. Your tool kit is below:
Cut back on the cocktails:
Rosé all day might be your summer motto but come fall we recommend cutting back. If numbers work for you, limit yourself to less than seven drinks a week (ideally not all in one night). If you are more of a situational drinker, rules such as “no drinking at home” work well, too (personally that is my strategy). Remember: alcohol contains non-nutritive calories and can also weaken our healthy eating intentions and therefore lead to bloating, weight gain and of course unproductive mornings.
Support your body’s detoxifying systems:
Our bodies are built to remove toxins and regularly “detoxify” our systems naturally, which means there is no need to go on a hard and fast juice cleanse. However, it is helpful to add nutrients, foods and herbs to your diet that help support our liver, kidneys and GI tract to ensure adequate detoxification, health and elimination. Some of our favorite ways to accomplish this include: staying hydrated since fluid helps to remove toxins (added bonus if you start your day with water and the juice from half a lemon), adding bitter greens like dandelion or mustard greens to your diet or sipping a dandelion tea, supplementing with chlorella or spirulina to help bring oxygen to your blood and, of course, to eat a high fiber diet full of veggies, fruit, whole grains, nuts and seeds.
Pass up processed foods:
We know they are convenient and easy but we also know they are often full of sodium, refined sugar and preservatives (even if they seem healthy). Take this time to food shop for ‘whole foods” like fruit, cheese, nuts, veggies, hummus, seaweed and eggs. This will not only prevent you from eating on auto-pilot, it will also help you to become more mindful in your eating practices, too. Instead of grabbing that cookie from the conference room, pause, take a beat, and grab a piece of fruit instead.
Water, water, water:
I know we say this all the time, why? Because water makes up over 70% of our bodies! To detoxify we need to help our organs flush the toxins out of our body. The easiest way to do that? Fluids! Simple fluids in = fluids out. Yes, even when you feel like you are retaining water, the best way to “de-puff” is by drinking more water. Usually we recommend half your body weight in ounces, however feel free to up that a bit during this time! You’ll have to take a few extra trips to the bathroom, but what easier way to get in more steps!
Sweat it out:
We are not fans of over exercising by any means but we do recommend living an active lifestyle. This can include all types of exercise including cardio, strength training, pilates, yoga and plain old walking, too. But, when we are in need of a reset, there truly is nothing like a great sweat! Sweating actually helps you to eliminate toxins through your biggest organ, your skin! Go take a sweaty class (spinning, hot yoga, dance, etc) or even spend some time in an infrared sauna (we are obsessed with Higher Dose) — my personal favorite way to sweat and fight inflammation at the same time.
Populate your gut:
Too many indulgent nights of less healthy foods can lead to an unbalanced microbiome. The healthy bacteria found in our stomach and digestive tract helps us digest foods, fight illness and assist with weight loss. We balance gut bacteria by eating fermented foods like kimchi or sauerkraut, sip kombucha (we're big fans of Bears’First) or dabble in yogurt (Siggi’s, Lavva, Chobani are all great options). We recommend adding one of these foods at least once a day for the next two weeks...or even longer! If that just isn’t you, then a probiotic will do the trick. Baseline recommendations are to look for a supplement with 30 billion CFU from at least four different bacteria strains (it should list it on the bottle). Don’t forget probiotics need fiber to proliferate, grow and thrive so make sure your plate is at least half filled with plants at every meal. We promise, it’ll do your body good!
Make a “late night, no bites” rule:
We are advocates of eating cut off times at night. Why? Because after dinner, you are often eating out of boredom, not hunger and at this time of the night, you don’t usually require more nutrition. Our recommendation is to stop eating at least 3 hours before you go to bed. If that seems hard, remember it’s only for two weeks, however we suspect you might continue this practice long after that time is up. You might just find you sleep better, drop pounds and wake up hungry for breakfast. After the dishes are done, get out of your kitchen, make a cup of tea, brush your teeth, and move on.
These are just a few of our favorite, fairly low stress, healthy tips we know you can get started on right away without much prep or deprivation. And of course if you are someone who likes or needs more support, we are here for you and always have your back!