Happy New Year to everyone. I am currently convalescing from a bout of (man) flu. Like most men, being ill sees me regress to being a large six-year-old wandering around in a dressing gown - forlorn, frustrated and adamant that my illness is, just a little bit, worse than anyone else's.
Being incapacitated has meant that I have devoted even more time than normal to reading the array of newspaper and magazines health guides for 2015 - detoxing, exercising and dieting has never been this complicated, costly and time consuming.
As someone who has a bad habit of gilding the lily myself, here is a simplified guide to what you should do:
1) Nothing changes if nothing changes
Most people have limited time to exercise. If you are fortunate enough to have a trainer, they will do the planning for you. If not, repetition can be an issue. If you are sedentary, walk for 20 minutes a day at lunch. If you normally walk, try yoga or spinning. If you normally run or do weights, try TRX or pilates classes. You may even find that you enjoy your new choice and it will certainly benefits your primary activity. I recently attended a Barre class at my local gym and I really enjoyed it.
2) Add a rep a day
Choose a lower body exercise, say a split squat, and do one rep on each leg. Every day, add a repetition a day until you have got to 10 reps per leg. Then add an upper body exercise, a dip using a chair, and add a rep per day i.e. Mon 10 lunges and 1 dip, Tuesday 10 lunges and two dips. When you get to 10, add a cardiovascular exercise like jogging on the spot. Repeat this lower, upper, CV sequence of exercises adding a rep a day. You can pick exercises that don't need any equipment or much space.
3) Eat for your type
If you tend to feel stressed/tired/wired, don't cut out carbs - cut out coffee. Aim for a balanced diet diet with slow release carbohydrate sources. Also try soothing exercise: yoga and meditation. If you put on weight around the waist and upper back, do cut down on carbs and replace with more fats (avocado, nuts, eggs, cheese, butter, fish) and many more vegetables. Stick to shorter, sharper bouts of exercise and prioritise resistance training.
4) Don't do a fad detox
Cutting out/down on alcohol and refined foods is a great idea for anyone at any time. Your liver and kidneys are very efficient at detoxifying and do a good job. Juicing can diminish the nutrient value of foods and leave you hungry and cranky. You will only lose water weight due to cutting out carbs and salt. Take it easy on yourself and, initially, follow the basics - move more, drink less. This will work for everyone to a point and then it becomes more complicated.
5) Look after your gut
If you suffer from indigestion, eat a rich diet, grains and drink a lot of coffee you may have an imbalance of gut flora. Try fermented foods and a good pro-biotic for a month. It will make you leaner and happier.