Dylans Top 10 tips for Easter.. Stay on Track

The top 10 tips to ensure you don’t undo all your hard work in the gym this Easter holidays!

By Dylan Willis The Easter break is a great time to take a few deep breaths, enjoy time with the family and the inevitable food that comes with it. That doesn’t mean you have to throw the baby out with the bath water. All the hard work you have put into the gym over the last 3 months can be undone with 2 weeks of making bad decisions. Some of you will be taking an extended break with school holidays immanent. During this time it is easy to fall back into old habits and subsequently create a vicious cycle that can be hard to break. Of course that doesn’t mean you have to dine on celery sticks over the break – we like to have our cake and eat it to! So here are the top 10 things you can do over the Easter holidays to enjoy yourself but negate the effects of over indulgence.

Easter tip number 1: Use cinnamon to sensitize yourself to the effects of insulin. Taking ground cinnamon in your tea or coffee (preferably without milk and sugar), or even sprinkled on hot cross buns etc will go a long way to balancing your blood sugar levels, thus keeping your love handles in check! Easter tip number 2: Use lime and lemon in your water to make yourself more alkaline. The more alkaline you are the less cortisol (stress hormone) you produce. One of the reasons elevated cortisol prevents fat loss is by putting the body in an acidified state. By using lime or lemon you can help reverse this effect therefore increasing your fat burning potential! Easter tip number 3: Choose red wine when drinking alcohol. Red wine contains an antioxidant called resveratrol that if taken in moderation has been shown to reduce your risk of coronary heart disease. Another benefit of the resveratrol in red wine is it’s role in decreasing inflammation, this is especially important if you will be indulging in foods you may be intolerant to.  For you guys out there, the bad news is that beer is a form of liquid castration and will rapidly deplete your testosterone levels! Easter tip number 4: Take fish oil with every meal to decrease insulin resistance. Fish oil, high in omega 3 fatty acids has numerous health benefits ranging from decreasing inflammation, improving cognitive function to assisting in cardiovascular health. One of the ways in which fish oil will help you fight off the bulge this Easter is to help blunt the insulin response when consuming high carbohydrate or sugary foods. Basically, fish oils help your blood sugar to rise less rapidly and make the sugar less likely to deposit in your fat cells! Easter tip number 5: Eat fat to lose fat! Despite popular belief (especially in the mainstream media) fat is not the devil it is made out to be….and don’t get me started on cholesterol! Sure there are ‘bad fats’, namely trans fats in the form of fried foods and hydrogenated oils but ‘good fats’ are vital building blocks for our cells and hormones. In the same way fish oil (see tip number 4) blunts the insulin response of high carbohydrate or sugary foods so to do high fat foods such as full fat butter & cream, avocado’s, nuts and coconut oil to name a few. The less fat you eat, the more likely you are to binge on high carb foods this easter causing rapid rises in blood sugar levels. The result: unwanted kilo’s and a pair of love handles to burn off when you get back in the gym. Easter tip number 6: Drink green tea. If indulging in regular alcohol use over the holidays (or anytime for that matter), consuming green tea will help fight the associated inflammation and also help manage your insulin levels due to its powerful antioxidant profile. Another benefit of green tea includes detoxification. Consuming green tea during periods of regular alcohol consumption has been shown to detoxify the liver, resulting in less fat storage in the liver that is a common problem associated with excessive alcohol use. Finally, green tea also has a direct effect on your metabolism. One cup of green tea can raise your metabolism by 3% making in a great fat burning tool! Easter tip number 7: Consume fiber with water before meals to feel fuller and ultimately consume less calories. Ok, so we’re not one for counting calories but the simple fact is overconsumption can lead to weight gain, especially if training is not as consistent on holidays. 5-15 grams of fiber in the form of flaxseeds, citrus pectin and psyllium husks are the best choices. Not only will fiber suppress your appetite but it will also stabilize your blood sugar levels. Avoid wheat based fiber where possible. Easter tip number 8: Enjoy grapefruit juice with your morning coffee to extend the half life fat burning potential of caffeine. The polyphenols in coffee (we’re not talking skinny soy latte’s here) are known to increase insulin sensitivity. Grapefruit juice contains a molecule called naringenin. If consumed prior to physical activity with your espresso or long black you can burn fat for longer during the day! Easter tip number 9: Eat a high protein breakfast within 30 minutes of waking. The first thing that goes in your mouth sets your neurotransmitters for the day. Even if the rest of your day might not go according to plan, if you can mitigate the insulin response for as long as possible after a meal you can minimize the effects of bad foods later in the day.Easter tip number 10: Live life by the 80/20 rule. The 80/20 rule can apply to all areas of your life but is best applied to your diet the following way: Do the right thing 80% of the time and you will get away with the other 20%. Enjoy all that life has to offer on days like today but get back on the horse tomorrow. Don’t let a bad day turn into a bad week, perpetuating a vicious cycle. Enjoying a ‘cheat’ or ‘treat’ meal at least once every 5 days has been shown to be a very effective method of achieving optimal body composition. This method has been shown to help you speed up fat loss by creating a ‘metabolic disturbance’. Give the body the same stimulus day in and day out (diet or exercise for that matter) and it will adapt. Adaptation is your fat loss enemy! Mentally it also keeps you on track as knowing you have a ‘reward’ around the corner allows you to see light at the end of the tunnel. A zero tolerance philosophy long term just doesn’t work…and isn’t any fun either! Enjoy your Easter holidays but remember every action has a consequence.