Feeling guilty from over-indulging? Talking shop on how to get healthy after the holidays.
Another Halloween has come and gone and that means Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s are right around the corner. The American average holiday weight gain is surprisingly not that high. Although most people guess we gain 5 to 10 lbs each holiday season, Americans gain an average of 0.5 kg (just over a pound) over the holidays, most of it fat mass (1,2). That being said, individual weight gain is highly variable and those who are overweight or have obesity are more likely to gain more weight (up to 5 lbs) than their normal weight counterparts (1,2).
Though the average one pound weight gain isn’t super significant, it’s been suggested that holiday weight gain accounts for at least half of, if not all, annual weight gain.
How to Get Healthy After the Holidays
So let’s say you’ve overindulged and you’re ready to get back on the health bandwagon – where do you start?
What Not To Do After Overindulging
There are a few things that you definitely should not do if you’ve overdone it:
- Do not go on a “cleanse” or “detox.”
- Do not go on a crash diet.
- Don’t skip meals or go days without food to “repent.”
- Don’t punish yourself at the gym.
Why not? These are impulse reactions that don’t teach healthful habits for the long-run and could be potentially harmful. (Also – cleanses don’t “remove toxins,” big thanks to your liver and kidneys. We’d all be very ill if we had toxins running amuck on the reg. Next time ask someone which toxins they’re referring to; it’s always a good laugh.) Remember you only have one body and you need to take care of it. If you have kids, remember you are a role model.#Holiday #weight gain on your mind? Nip it in the bud! Click To Tweet
What To Do After Overindulging
Now that we know what not to do, here’s what you ought to do after splurging:
- Forgive yourself. You have complete permission to not be perfect. Beating yourself up over yesterday’s crimes (or even last hour’s crimes) isn’t going to do you any good. Pick yourself up and brush yourself off.
- If you had healthy habits before, back to business as usual. Did you usually start each morning with an early morning run outside and a nice breakfast before heading to work? Pack your lunch each evening? Get back into your routine.
- If you haven’t had healthy habits before but are ready to make some positive changes, here are the best no-fail tips:
- Eat 3 meals every day and minimize snacking. Start each morning with breakfast and bring your lunch to work. Whole foods are more filling than meal replacements and bars or shakes, and usually more nutritious. (It doesn’t need to be super complicated. Check out my Instagram or Pinterest page for ideas. Personally I love a simple breakfast and for lunch either bringing leftovers from dinner, throwing a salad together or a bringing a sandwich packed with veggies paired with fruit).
- Eat at least two servings of veggies each day. Vegetables aren’t the sexiest food on the block, but they are super filling (fiber), have a host of vitamins and minerals your body needs and are naturally low calorie.
- Exercise almost every day. Just getting started? Start walking. Been working out? Make it more challenging. If you leave your work out each day feeling like you could have done more, do something different to challenge yourself. Definitely take some easier days so you don’t burn out, but if every work out feels like a stroll in the park it might be time to switch it up.
Although food has a bigger impact on keeping calories in line than exercise does, exercise is still a vital piece of the health puzzle. I also find that when my clients are exercising they are more likely to make more healthful choices overall.
Staying On Track
Staying on track is all about rinse and repeat. Your success completely hinges on your ability to brush yourself off when choices aren’t perfect and getting back on the horse. If a healthy habits checklist is helpful for you, you can use my Daily Habit Tracker here. If you like to food log, try the MyFitnessPal app. Working one on one with a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (like me!) who can individualize your needs and help with long-term behavior change can be very beneficial for someone who is serious about long-term changes.
How do you get healthy after the holidays?
When do you feel most successful managing your health?
When do you most frequently fall off the health bandwagon?
Disclosures: None. This post was not created in partnership with any product or brand.