By Susan K. Manez MS, RD, CDN
If visions of sugarplums are dancing through your head and you’re ready to settle in for a long winter’s nap, it may not just be your nostalgia for Christmases past. The cause for your malaise is the overindulgences at the many holiday parties and gatherings clouding your brain. You may be in somewhat of a sugar “stupor” caused by the treats aplenty that fill our surroundings during the holiday season. While it’s certainly best to stay on track and focused all the time, this is not always feasible or likely over the holiday season. We may often find ourselves giving into indulgences when the foods around us are way too tempting. This can create a diet and exercise “rut” that we find ourselves in and often end up having to dig out of when the holiday hubbub finally comes to a halt.
So where do we start on our journey to get back on track? Start before you even get off track by making a post-holiday game plan. Think about what strategies you’re going to employ to help get yourself out of the holiday diet rut. Your plan does not have to be elaborate or ground-breaking, but rather simple ideas that will help you focus on your short and long-term goals. Think about strategies that worked for you in the past and don’t do it alone. Number one on your plan should be to make an appointment in our office to meet with one of our nutrition team members. We are well equipped to jumpstart your weight loss efforts and keep you on the path to successful long-term weight loss.
Start Journaling- Food journals have been proven time and time again to be one of the most important tools to promote long-term weight loss and weight maintenance. Journaling is not only something to help you get back on track, but is a great way to keep you on track all year long. You can either go old school with a notebook or daily planner or get more hi-tech and use a fitness app. One of my favorite apps is MyFitnessPal, and it’s free! Be sure to log in your journal every day and ideally while you’re eating, rather than waiting until the end of the day when some important calories may have been forgotten.
Avoid Skipping Meals or Mindless Snacks- Skipping meals and snacks to reduce your daily calorie intake is counterproductive. You are more likely to overeat, eat quickly, and/or eat poor choices in response to skipped meals. Instead stick to your meal plan, consume lean protein at each meal and plan 1-2 healthy snacks per day to avoid excessive time and hunger between meals.
Hydrate! Hydrate! Hydrate!- Be sure to drink plenty of water and very low calorie beverages all day to remain properly hydrated. Lack of adequate fluids can lead to feelings of hunger when actually you are just thirsty. Be sure to avoid the temptation to rack up the calories with sugary drinks and/or alcohol.
Give Yourself a Break- The holidays can be a physically and emotionally draining time of year. With all the running around and temptations galore, it’s easy to find yourself stressed out and reaching for yummy treats that can add inches to your waistline. Allow yourself some slack if you find yourself slipping off track. Use these experiences as a way to learn from your mistakes and vow to get right back on track, rather than beating yourself up and continuing on a negative path.