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With the clocks due to go forward and the first few sunny days appearing, it’s official – spring has sprung. If winter has put you in a funk – put down your Breaking Bad boxset and step away from the onesie, it’s time to revitalise your diet and get out of that workout slump, says Mea Perkins

Spring is an ideal time to give your dietary habits an overhaul as you can take advantage of all the seasonal spring foods – which can be fresher, cheaper and richer in nutrients. If it’s your exercise habits that need to be kicked in to touch, make use of the longer days and milder weather. To help inspire you to make positive changes to your lifestyle as the seasons change, we nabbed some time with wellness warriors; Leah Kim, Nikes Global Yoga Ambassador and Food Psychologist, Dr Christy Ferguson. Here are their top tips:

  • Avoid overwhelm “Take it easy on yourself” Leah advises, “if you’re basically coming out of hibernation, ease back into a routine of more exercise balanced with good sleep.” The same goes with your diet says Dr Christy, “never start a healthy eating plan on a Monday as it often leads to that ‘all or nothing’ mentality. If you eat something that’s not part of the plan, that’s okay! Don’t think of it as ‘falling off the wagon’ – shift your mind set and just carry on as planned to avoid regressing completely.”
  • Prioritise “I write my yoga/ exercise time into my diary like I do with all my other plans,” says Leah, “I set myself up for the week ahead, whether it’s blocking off time for my home practice, or seeing what classes I might like to attend. I treat my time with and for myself with just as much importance as my other appointments and obligations.” 
  • Get your blood sugar level back on trackIn the winter our serotonin levels drop,” says Dr Christy, “so this usually means we spend our time sitting on the sofa eating carbohydrates or highly refined foods, or reaching for that biscuit at work, which spike our sugar levels to boost serotonin temporarily. The spike in our blood sugar levels mean we get too much glucose in our system which then just gets stored as fat. Break the cycle and choose foods with low glycaemic loads (eggs, avocado, quinoa are just a few examples) which release energy slowly to avoid energy crashes. If you struggle with cravings, try a supplement such as Chromium – it’s good for blood sugar balance and will help with the transition if you’ve got into bad habits over the winter.”
  • Go green If you needed any more persuasion to eat these vegetable powerhouses, Dr Christy says, “leafy greens such as kale and spinach also increase energy levels due to their low glycaemic load are and are loaded with essential nutrients such as magnesium, betaine and potassium– they have a low sugar content too.” Leah agrees, “I can’t say enough about eating greens to keep me energised, alert, and feeling balanced.”
  • Don’t overload at breakfast “During the night when we sleep, our body is in fasting mode, so I believe that we should break that fast nice and gently to help support our digestive system” explains Dr Christy. “One of the best things to wake your body up with is a green juice, it’s very alkalising on the system and you can introduce it to your body slowly throughout the morning. It’s extremely hydrating and a good way to get nutrients in, which will give you energy throughout the day. My perfect morning juice includes cucumber, a squeeze of lemon, spinach, apple, ginger, celery. If I want something a bit more substantial, I’ll eat grass fed chicken eggs, or gluten free cereal with dairy free milk.”
  • Substitute and upgrade “Don’t think of it as cutting out foods, rather upgrading the quality of your meals and snacks,” suggests Dr Christy, “this way you won’t feel like you’re embarking on a radically different diet, and are more likely to succeed. Use substitution by thinking of the foods you really like the taste of, and then improve the quality in terms of what they offer. If you love chocolate, reach for a handful of berries the next time you get a craving. Coming into season from May, Berries have the luxurious, treat feel that we associate with chocolate. The lowest calorie fruits, they are full of antioxidants and fibre making them an ideal chocolate replacement and healthy grazing option. Good quality protein will give you the amino acids you need to make serotonin and colourful fruit and vegetables will provide good quality anti-oxidants – so always make sure your plate is 70% colour.” 
  • Refresh your tea cupboard “I love Yerbe mate for cleansing the system and increasing energy,” says Dr Christy, “it’s more potent than green tea, so definitely an acquired taste but those who like it swear by it.” For Leah, “matcha tea is my daily ritual. I also love a slow-juiced green drink of mostly veggies, and a superfood green powder – any brand without fillers; you can get a nice one in the UK called Kiki.”
  • Keep your regime rolling This doesn’t mean do the same routine every day explains Leah, “but if you can maintain the consistency of being active, exercise naturally becomes something you will crave from the inside. Then even if you have no motivation, your body will take over from you. Usually once I get moving on my yoga mat, it’s as if my body knows what is happening and is happy to be there, even if I don’t do a long or strenuous practice.”
  • Add a dose of yoga “What I love about yoga is it works not just the outer body, but the inner organs, the cells, and the energy body.” Leah adds, “There’s a natural detoxification process that happens when you do yoga poses, and also when you sweat. So yoga effects change on both the outside and the inside, and the deep, inner changes are what’s reflected in clearer skin, brighter eyes, and healthier hair.”
  • Have fun! “It’s important to ENJOY whatever exercise you choose to do,” Leah says, “if you dread getting on the elliptical machine, it will be so much better for you to find something different, that you actually look forward to. I believe there’s something for everyone, be it working with a trainer, taking a class, going for a run, or getting involved in a sport.”
Christy Close Up With Polka Dot Apron 2

Dr Christy Ferguson

To meet Dr.Christy Fergusson and Leah Kim, head down to Be:Fit London on 28-30th March at the Old Billingsgate, London. Visit www.befitlondon.com for tickets

Main Image: Leah Kim

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