The January slope is not just a matter of numbers and budget. The slope that almost all of us must climb in these first days of the year to recover order in our lives after so many excesses also affects our bodies and our health.
Throughout the almost four weeks that we have been celebrating Christmas, we have made the three mistakes that specialists point out as disastrous for physical well-being: uncontrolled amounts of food, leading a sedentary lifestyle and not sleeping the necessary hours.
Karen De Isidro, a dietitian-nutritionist, assures that, after the holidays, every year, the consultations follow one another without interruption, full of patients who want to regain energy, return to their weight and recover digestive health. However, the expert points out that, fortunately, we are increasingly aware of how important it is to eat well and how important it is to take care of your diet.
These are the recommendations that De Isidro and other specialists offer to return to normality and recover health after the binge and abuse of Christmas.
1. Say no to miracle diets
They promise to say goodbye to the kilos in very short periods, easily and effortlessly, but specialists are blunt with them: “This type of diet promotes nutritional deficiencies or an increased risk of complications in people with other pathologies and, on many occasions, , the weight lost due to excessive caloric restriction, loss of body water and even muscle mass is regained, with barely the fat component being affected”, warns Dr. Cristina Santurino Fontecha, professor of the Master’s Degree in Nutrition and Health of the International University of Valencia-VIU.
The specialist groups these diets into:
Unbalanced hypocaloric diets, which represent an extreme caloric deficit, contributing between 600 and 800 kcal daily.
Dissociated diets, in which carbohydrates and proteins or fats cannot be mixed in a meal, an illogical foundation and without scientific evidence.
Exclusionary diets, which are based on eliminating some macronutrient from the diet.
And other diets such as monodiets —in which you only eat one food throughout the day—, the blood group diet or the alkaline diet.
“Right now the body is not prepared to eat little or very little, which is what the restrictive diets that are now followed dictate. Because the body rebounds and in the end we are hungrier, more frustrated, more anxious, it can give us headaches”, agrees nutritionist Karen De Isidro. “After the excesses, the body needs little by little to balance that imbalance that has occurred, especially glucose. You also have to avoid weighing yourself because there are people who are already on the scale on the 9th and you have to avoid depression and frustration. My recommendation is that we return to the routine little by little, with a bit of organization and return to the diet that has to be with vegetables, seasonal fruits, fiber. At the end of the month we can weigh ourselves because we are more or less carrying out a routine and the weight is already reliable”.
2. Return to a healthy and balanced diet
It’s time to recover healthy and balanced eating habits. A healthy diet has to be based on fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains, nuts, virgin oils, lean meats, fish and eggs. Of course, ultra-processed products, oils and refined flours, salt and additives must be restricted or eliminated.
At this time, it is critical to “limit all sugars.” “No cookies, pastries… the usual but now even more, more consciously. Stick to fresh foods, green leafy vegetables, seeds, healthy fats such as avocados, whole grain breads, legumes, and foods rich in fiber that are necessary for glucose to balance, which is what goes awry with excesses,” De Isidro warns. .
During these first weeks, recovering these new habits and routines can be difficult, so it is important, explains the nutritionist, to be aware that planning is the key. “And of course, not focusing on the short term but on the medium term. Every day, when it is easy for us. There are times when we go to what is most difficult for us, for example, breakfast. Well then, it’s better not to start there and do it then with dinner: you make your vegetables, your protein on the grill… That will allow everything else to be repositioned ”, she advises.
3. Take care of the microbiota
De Isidro recommends paying special attention to our microbiota which, with binge eating and excess sugar and fat, can become unbalanced and damaged.
“These days many people come to the office with digestive problems: bloating, decomposition, constipation, gas… Well, now it’s time to take care of her by taking digestive breaks, which is what we have not been able to do. When we are bloated, it is very important to eat only 2 or 3 meals a day, and not the 4-5 that are usually eaten. When the microbiota is not right, we notice it. It is very important to educate that nothing happens if we eat two or three times a day, and nothing happens because you skip breakfast or dinner”, concludes the nutritionist.
4. Move as much as possible
“We do not have to compensate, we must return to a healthy diet as soon as possible, and not stop eating or suddenly go on a very extreme hypocaloric diet. Nor should we pay attention to detox diets, since they do not work, our own body is already in charge of that function”, recommends Marcos Lorente, personal trainer of Team Fit Madrid“.
In addition to creating consistency and being faithful to a good diet, Lorente recommends moving as much as possible: “If we cannot walk for an hour straight, we must try to do two stretches of half an hour or three of 20 minutes, the important thing is to be on the move at throughout the day and introduce high intensity intervals little by little.
Karen de Isidro highlights the importance of strength sports, especially. “It is very beneficial to activate the muscle due to the many metabolic reactions that occur: satiating effect, regulation of sugar levels, weight loss… There are numerous studies that have recently highlighted the benefits of lifting weights at a hormonal level and as prevention of osteoporosis, to alleviate back pain and even improve anxiety and depression”, he clarifies.
5. Make sleep our ally
“Sleep is a healer, with sleep we recover and it is essential for the metabolism to function properly,” explains the nutritionist. And it is that, if we do not sleep our “metabolism stagnates”. In addition, lack of sleep is closely related to drops in sugar that ultimately make us feel more tired and hungry, which invites us to eat foods rich in sugar, which is what the body asks of us. “That is why it is also very important to rest and sleep the necessary hours,” she concludes.