Celebrate the New Year with a Detox!

I LOVE THE holidays, especially the quality time you get to spend with family and friends. To me, it truly is a magical time of year.

I also enjoy the holiday baking, cooking, and, yeah, well, the eating.

This year, for the most part, I didn't hold back, and merrily ate and drank whatever I pleased. I enjoyed every morsel and every drop, but now I know it is time to pay the consequences for overindulging.

Sure, when you're younger, you might put on a few pounds and think, "Oh, I can get this off." But, honey, when you get older (and I'm older), especially if you're not engaged in daily exercise, (and even that's not enough), it's easier to put the weight on and much, much harder to take it off.

With that said, I started the New Year firmly rooted in reality, and I've decided to start a detox plan. It's exactly what I need after overworking my digestive system during the holidays.

Unlike commercial detox plans, mine is more of a hybrid model and simpler to do.

Breakfast

My detox breakfast plan is simply 12 or 16 ounces of a raw vegetable juice, raw fruit juice, or a smoothie. After that, I'll drink unlimited hot herbal tea or lemon water with a dash of cayenne pepper. That will usually hold me until about noon, when I'll need something a little more substantial.

Lunch

For lunch, I'll have homemade soup or stew with a small side salad. Making homemade soups or stews sounds intimidating to some, but it really isn't. In as little as 30 to 40 minutes, you can make a delicious and nutritious soup you can eat throughout the week and/or freeze for future meals. The main thing is having the ingredients on hand.

So, go ahead and pick up some boneless chicken breast, onions, garlic, celery, carrots, potatoes or egg noodles. Believe it or not, the soup will fill you up. Make a side salad with dark leafy greens like spinach or kale plus red onion, beefsteak tomatoes, and your favorite dressing, and you're good to go.

In-between Meals

Water, herbal tea, or my lemon water/cayenne drink will keep me full between lunch and dinner.

Dinner

Dinner can simply be three to four ounces of lean protein (fish, chicken, beef, etc.), steamed vegetables, another small side salad, and a piece of fruit for dessert. Sparkling water with a slice of lime will satisfy your desire for a bubbly beverage.

Naturally, I will also continue my daily exercise regimen, a combination of weight training, cardiovascular, and yoga. If you want to get started and exercise as a new part of your lifestyle, start with a walking program and gradually add in weight training and flexibility exercises.

In as little as three to four weeks, you'll be on track with healthier eating habits and regular exercise, too. What I love most, and you will, too, is the increased energy you will have from eating fewer, but better-quality, foods. Combining raw juice, soups, and salads is a great way to start the new year on the right nutritional foot, as well as shed a few unwanted pounds.

Can't believe it? Well, I dare you to give good nutrition a try and combine with regular exercise for a leaner, healthier, and more energetic 2017.

Kimberly Garrison is a wellness coach and owner of One on One Ultimate Fitness in Philadelphia. Her column appears on the first and third Wednesdays monthly.