The holidays are a wonderful time for family, friends and food. But overindulging in these celebratory traditions is easy to do. The post-holiday time, especially during the new year, is often one of getting back to a normal routine. But getting back on track can be a difficult process, especially if you don’t have a plan or are not sure where to start. Let these steps help you get your life back in balance.
Don’t punish yourself
Holiday indulgence can lead to a lot of guilt and shame after all is said and done. Diets get forgotten, gym time gets put off and maybe a few extra pounds decided to come and stay for awhile. The first and most important thing when trying to readjust to a normal schedule is to control your response to the post-holiday slump. Don’t let yourself get bogged down in negative thoughts and emotions. This often leads to depression, attempts to force a dramatically healthier mindset and setting unachievable goals that will make you feel even worse if you can’t meet them. Instead of reactively working against the consequences of your holiday health choices, make a plan, set goals and start small with getting back into a normal stride of everyday life.
Rich and delicious food is one of the main Achilles heels of the holiday season, and leftovers are practically inevitable. Set limits on how much of your favorite leftovers you can eat at once, and integrate them into a meal plan. Then go shopping and make sure you stock up on healthy foods to help you get back into the right eating mindset. Keep snacking to a minimum and begin to eat regular, balanced meals.
Curb, but don’t cut, carbs
You may be tempted to toss the carbs out the window since the holiday season is full of them. However, that will only cause your body to use the rest of your nutrients (i.e. protein and fiber) to pick up the slack of providing you with energy. Eat foods high in fiber and lean protein and match them up with reasonable amounts of whole grains. If you have any carb-loaded foods leftover from your holiday feasts, get rid of them or adapt them little by little throughout your meal plan.
Drink plenty of water
Water is not just essential for life and hydration. It also gives energy, lubricates the joints, helps with digestion and more. After the holidays, get yourself a bottle or glass of water to keep with you, and start drinking from it regularly. This is especially important if you’re getting into an exercise routine. Getting dehydrated can lead to cravings, particularly for sugar and snacks. Drinking more water will also help keep you from reaching for unhealthy sugary drinks when you’re thirsty.
If you’re trying to return to fitness after the holidays, you don’t have to start by hitting the gym with an intense workout. Start simple, by taking a walk or going for a run once a day or every other day. The point is to get moving, and you can work your way up from there. Getting active in this way will help reacclimate your body into its normal routine. It will also release hormones to help alleviate stress and anxiety, prevent sickness and prepare your body to be healthier. When you’ve eased yourself back into exercise, you can start making new fitness goals and pursuing them.
Make achievable weight goals
A common temptation after the holidays is to drop as much weight as possible. But instead of prioritizing that goal, make your first goal to maintain the weight you have and not add any more. Once you get active again and start eating better, weight loss will begin to follow and you’ll start to feel better. Don’t set an impossible weight loss standard, however. It will only discourage you and make you want to go back to old habits.
Renew your motivation and find accountability
Take some time after the holidays to recommit to your personal goals, and then find someone to keep you accountable to them. Sitting down, maybe even with a pen and paper, to recommit and plan for success will make you far more likely to actually reach your goals. Plus, with someone else on your team rooting for you and encouraging you whenever you make a mistake, you’ll be far less likely to return to old habits and the indulgence of the holidays.
If you need help getting your health and lifestyle back on track, contact us at Community Access Network today! Our staff would love to help you plan out your future well-being.