In case the longer days, bare legs, and the extra pep in your step haven’t tipped you off, we have made it to spring. The seasonal affective disorder veil has lifted (hopefully) and the outlook is sunny (literally!). But just as we’re ready run off into the (late!) sunset, our bodies feel heavy and stiff, reminders of too many skipped workouts and nights of comfort food under the covers (ok, and some champagne on top of that too).
“Cold temperatures correlate with comfort eating, our natural inclination may be to add on extra pounds, and of course the holidays completely throw off our routines adding a lot of stress that wreaks havoc on the body,” says certified holistic nutritionist Elissa Goodman. “Spring-cleaning is associated with the home, but it is very fitting for spring being the perfect time of year to clear the unnecessary from our diets and lifestyle as well.”
Basically, it’s time to spring clean your body like it’s your unkempt closet. Read on for more expert tips for hitting the reset button on your body.
Lethargy is not a good look on anyone and the darker, colder months can leave us feeling a little hazy. Fortunately, the prescription for that is right outside our doors, literally. “The weather is sunny and warm, so start taking a daily walk,” suggests registered dietitian nutritionist Lisa De Fazio. “It will get your endorphins going and gradually get you back in the mood to get healthy.”
Sip Lemon Water
There’s a reason so many celebrities claim lemon water as the holy cleanse grail. “Drinking lemon water is crucial to cleanse and hydrate our systems,” says Goodman, who recommends a minimum of three 16 ounce glasses of water with lemon a day: first thing in the morning, after lunch, and after dinner. “This will help alkaline the body, improve digestion, and stimulate the liver," she adds.
We would never advocate completely forgoing comfort foods—mac and cheese is necessary all year-round—but the arrival of warm weather produce at supermarkets makes spring a great time to up your fresh fruit and vegetable intake. De Fazio recommends stocking up on your favorite varieties and incorporating them into at least two meals a day, as well as any snacks. And if you prefer to sip your greens, then make a daily green juice. “The enzymes, vitamins, and minerals, help the body get important nutrients without having to go through the digestion process,” says Goodman, who suggests leafy greens like kale, chard, endive, and spinach, which are particularly good for cleansing, and adding extras like chia and/or flax seeds for fiber and protein.
Do a Gut Check
If you’re coming out of winter with brittle hair, eczema or other skin irritation, achy joints, or increased anxiety, your gut might be to blame. “The health of our gut is the center of our overall health,” says De Fazio, adding that in addition to causing physical issues, it can also affect depression and our mental health when unbalanced. And Goodman agrees. “Most diseases being diagnosed today can all be traced back to an injured and irritated gut,” she says. The solution? Possibly probiotics. “Probiotics are a must in my book,” says Goodman. “They are crucial for maintaining some sense of beneficial bacteria balance.” Just run it by a doctor who can advise you based on your health best.
Supp it Up
Supplements are a great way to make sure you’re getting the recommended levels of crucial vitamins and minerals. And some, in particular, are great for helping along that refresh of your post-winter mental state. “Most women don’t get adequate B vitamins, which are critical for moods and energy,” says De Fazio. Magnesium is another superstar, according to Goodman. The mineral "is extremely important for our metabolism, enzyme function, and energy,” she says.
If you haven’t been reminded in a while, working out can do wonders for both your body and your mood. “When we exercise, endorphins release in our body and have a ripple effect on everything we do,” says Goodman. “It’s one of the fastest ways to clear stress hormones out of our system that can cause health issues and be a barrier for proper cleansing.” That doesn’t mean you should throw yourself on to the nearest treadmill and push as hard as you can, though. “Consistency is more important than intensity,” says De Fazio. “Talk a walk or go to the gym and aim for 30 minutes of cardio approximately five times per week.”