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Post-holiday recovery

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Feeling sluggish after the holidays? Here are seven tips that will start your New Year off right and have your feeling slimmer, younger and more energetic.

Prioritize your sleep

When your sleep is insufficient, your cortisol and hunger hormones both surge, causing a corresponding increase in insulin, which packs on belly fat. You also experience decreases in the fat-burning and appetite controlling hormones. If you have trouble falling and staying asleep, try taking 1-3 mg of melatonin 60 minutes before your desired bedtime.

Keep a daily food journal

 Accountability provides an effective babysitter when it comes to your daily actions, even if you are the only one looking at it. A researcher from a 2008 study says that people keeping a food diary six days a week lost twice as much weight as those who kept food records one day a week or less. I recommend buying a small notebook that you can easily fit in your bag or purse, and recording your wellness habits (the good, bad and ugly) on a day to day basis.

Eat protein at every meal, the size and width of your palm

If hormones are the driving force behind your appetite control or desire to eat, protein is a seasoned driving instructor. Consumption of protein causes the release of PYY (the hormone that tells your body you’re full), so eating protein regularly throughout the day will keep your cravings under control and your desire to overeat in check.

Eat one to two servings of raw nuts, nut butters and/or seeds daily

A review of 31 studies on nut consumption found that those who added nuts to their diets lost more weight and reduced their waist size. Even though they are calorie dense, they are just as high on the satiety scale making them the perfect adjunct to a meal with protein and veggies or a fat source in a smoothie.

Consume one tablespoon of extra-virgin olive oil daily

Besides helping us lose weight, balance our hormones, reduce inflammation and keep insulin under control, olive oil also breaks down the fat cells we already have according to a study in the British Journal of Nutrition. Each one of your meals should have a healthy fat so make sure that one of those includes extra virgin olive oil.

Drink eight or more glasses of alkaline water daily 

Researchers from Germany reviewed evidence from 11 studies that investigated the link between water intake and body weight. Water drinkers appear to shed the pounds faster than their less hydrated counterparts. I recommend having a glass of water before each meal. Choose alkaline water or reverse osmosis for maximum health benefits.