As we say goodbye to the Raya holidays and get back to the daily grind, we are left with sweet memories of time spent with loved ones, great laughs and perhaps, an uncomfortable feeling of bloat and guilt. We know the holidays aren’t complete without catching up with family and friends over good food, but from kari to pancakes, this isn’t always the friendliest to our waistlines. So now that the feasting is over, we’ve asked our dear friend, doctor and fitness enthusiast, Dr. Nadiah Rasid (also known as Dr. Diah), to share her best tips and insights to feeling re-energised and ready to get back onto your health and fitness goals!
Step 1: Let Go And Move On
Yes, you overate but hey, don’t fret! It was the holidays and there’s no reason to feel bad about enjoying it with family and friends. You are meant to overindulge on the Raya rendang or eat a few too many plates of Ipoh's famous chicken rice! Take a deep breath, let go of the guilt and move on with a refreshed, positive attitude. Instead of sitting down in negativity, take the time to do something to care for yourself. For example, take a bubble bath, write about all your favourite moments from the holidays or put on an outfit that makes you feel extra confident and comfortable. Remember, it all starts in the mind.
Step 2: Drink Water. Lots of It.
While water is a must on any other day, it is especially important after a week of overindulging in excess salt and sugar. Drink a glass of water as soon as you wake up, drink 2 glasses with every meal you have and carry around a water bottle ready to be refilled so you can rehydrate your body throughout the day. It is recommended to drink at least 2 to 3 liters of water a day. If water’s too bland for you, add some fresh lemon, cucumber or mint into it. Not only does it taste better, it also helps stimulate digestion.
Step 3: Eat A Healthy Meal
As uncomfortably full as you feel, you need to eat! Start the day with a good, wholesome breakfast. “Sip a warm cup of green tea before you begin eating. This stimulates your digestive system, without shocking it,” says Dr. Diah.
This is an example of her breakfast, eaten in this exact order:
1-2 tbsp of palm kernel butter / coconut oil
1 cup of electrolyte drink (her choice is Electrolyte Synergy)
200-250g of chicken breast
Salad or any form of vegetables
2 glasses of water
She explains that starting your breakfast with highly saturated fats, or ‘good’ fats, such as palm kernel butter or coconut oil converts body into a ketogenic state. This forces the body to burn fats rather than carbohydrates and regulates satiety, keeping you full for longer. Best of all, it reduces any cravings you might have. You wouldn’t want to end up succumbing to cravings for more carbs when you already feel bloated.
Then, drink some electrolytes as this will keep the body hydrated throughout the day. It balances the level of sodium, potassium, chloride and magnesium in your body. This will assist your body in using nutrients more effectively.
Protein, such as chicken breast or fish, is then consumed. Research has shown that by having protein in the morning, you are more focused and more likely to make good food choices throughout the day. This is because the neuropeptide-Y in your gut is stimulated, which indirectly reduces cravings for unhealthy food. Accompany your meal with fibre-filled vegetables and with 2 glasses of water.
“If there is one thing that anyone should want to avoid, it’s any form of processed food. Eat what nature has given us and enjoy it slowly!” Dr. Diah says, with a laugh.
Step 4: MOVE (Even If A Little)
When asked for her 5 best workout moves, Dr. Diah suggests the following beginner-friendly, no-equipment moves you can do at home!
Tip: You should squat down until your bum is at least below your knees. The body should be upright. You may extend your arms forward for balance. This is how we are able to protect our knees and maintain the natural position.
Tip: If it’s too hard to do it on your toes, you can do it on your knees. Keep your elbows close to your body. Tighten your core, don’t arch nor bend your back.
Controlled Stationary Lunges
Tip: Knees should always be slightly in front of your toes to keep it protected.
Knees to Chest Crunch
Tip: Curve your body and tense your abs as much as you can for maximum effectiveness.
Tip: If you find a full burpee too difficult, you can do it step-by-step, without the jump.
One thing that Dr. Diah recommends is to make some modifications to your workout when you’re still easing into it. For example, you can halve the length of your usual workout, from 4 sets to 2 sets. You know your body best and what you are capable of, so do what you feel is best for you.
Step 5: Hit Reset and Restart
It is never too late to hit reset and restart. Take time to reflect on your goals, adjust them a little and write them down. Take it one day at a time and slowly build your routine up again. From a day, to a week, to a month, before you know it, you’ll be right on track, stronger than ever! “Focus on your short-term goals first. Set just one or two goals and make sure you hit it at the end of the day,” advises Dr. Diah.
Remember that the journey is what matters, not the destination. The key to getting back on track is all in your mind!
Follow @dr_diah on Instagram for more health and fitness tips!