We all enjoy some indulgences over the holidays. For some of us, that might mean a piece of pie after a family gathering. For others, it might mean a sampling of every pie on the buffet, cookies, eggnog, and more not just at the one celebration, but at every gathering and office party for the whole month of December.
If you find yourself in the latter camp, it may be hard to get yourself back on a healthy eating plan. However, after looking at the scale – which you tried to avoid all month – you may realize that you can’t keep putting it off. Now is the time to get back on track. Here are a few tips for how you can get yourself back on a healthy eating plan after the holidays, so you can take off the weight you gained and focus on healthier habits.
Depending on how far off your regular diet you went over the holidays, it may take some time to get back to where you were. Don’t try a radical makeover overnight. Instead of declaring that you’ll never eat another carbohydrate again, or that you won’t eat anything except raw fruits and vegetables, try focusing on making one small change at a time.
Decide to drink more water or to eat more vegetables, for example. Once you have implemented that change, then start on the next.
2. Add, Don’t Subtract
When you focus on what you can’t eat or what you shouldn't eat, unhealthy foods start to seem a lot more alluring, and they start to have more power over you. Instead of focusing on what you have to take out of your diet, focus on what you can add to it, such as more healthy fruits and vegetables, lean protein, whole grains, and all-natural sweeteners.
By adding more of these healthy foods to your diet, you fill up on the good things and have less room for unhealthy foods. You can still have those unhealthy foods – just in moderation!
3. Keep Your Pantry Well-Stocked
Many people fall off their healthy diet because they find themselves crunched for time and reaching for whatever is easily available. By keeping your pantry well-stocked, you can ensure that you always have healthy snacks and foods on hand to combat cravings.
Be sure to stock up on staples like whole grains and fresh produce, but also ensure that you have enough healthy, ready-to-eat snacks available as well. Nuts, dried fruits, and whole-grain crackers are always great choices for easy, healthy, snacking.
4. Plan Ahead
Always plan ahead for dinner and other major meals – you’ll be much more likely to eat out or to grab fast food when caught unprepared. Create a weekly meal schedule so that you know what you’ll be eating each day. Having a plan will help you stay on track and you will be less likely to improvise.
Getting back on track with your healthy eating plan after the holidays doesn't have to be hard. You just have to start small, and make a plan that allows you to focus on making long-term, positive changes, and you'll be back to your healthy ways in no time! (Just don’t let Valentine’s Day sidetrack you…)
Bridget Sandorford is a freelance writer and researcher for Culinaryschools.org, where recently she’s been researching culinary school rankings. In her spare time, she enjoys biking, painting and working on her first cookbook.