The holiday season is all about spreading goodwill, spending time with family and friends, and gorging on sumptuous food and free-flowing booze. Needless to say, it is definitely the most wonderful time of the year—but probably not for your waistline.
While there are plenty of ways to avoid overindulging this season, it would be unrealistic (and not much fun) to restrict yourself at every single holiday party. Therefore, the best thing you can really do is to combat the effects of overindulging by immediately getting yourself back on track.
So how do you bounce back after a holiday binge? Here are a few tips:
Had a little too much to eat at last night’s party? Forgive yourself and forget it ever happened. People tend to feel guilty and ashamed after eating too much, which can sometimes lead to even more indulgences—particularly for those who are prone to stress eating. It’s also not uncommon to find yourself making excuses to continue binge eating over the next few days, since you already “fell off the diet wagon” anyway. But this is the worst thing you can do, as it will set you down a slippery slope that will make it much harder for you to get back to your healthy lifestyle once the holidays are over.
The best way to bounce back from a relapse is to simply forget about all those excess calories and start fresh the very next day. Developing good relapse skills is key to maintaining a sustainable weight loss or weight management plan, so learn to deal with these bingeing episodes with more positivity and less regret.
It can be very hard to refrain from checking your weight around the holidays. If you can help it, avoid that scale! Not only will it make you feel bad, make you overly conscious, and possibly discourage you from bouncing back, but it gives you inaccurate readings as your weight is expected to fluctuate around this time.
If you must monitor your weight, try to keep yourself from taking it all too seriously. Don’t judge yourself or beat yourself up every time the numbers increase.
Whenever you overindulge, it’s important to start fresh and provide your body with much-needed nutrients by eating extra healthy over the next few days. To give yourself added motivation to eat healthy after indulging on all those delicious (but unhealthy) dishes, make it a point to eat your favorite healthy foods afterwards.
Stay away from leftovers and focus on eating whole foods like vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, whole grains, and lean protein. These can help you reset your palate from all the overeating and effectively reduce your cravings for sugar and oily food.
Everyone can get really busy over the holidays, which can make it difficult to find the time to head to the gym. But with all those holiday parties (and cheat meals) on your calendar, this is certainly no time to get lazy with your fitness routine. You may not be able to stick to your diet during the holiday season, but you can at least stick to your exercise regimen.
If you’re too busy to get a workout in, try to sneak in a few minutes of exercise whenever you can. Aim for at least 30 minutes of overall physical activity per day. It also helps to choose the workout routines that you find the most enjoyable, as this makes it feel less like a chore.
Staying active is crucial if you want to get back on track after those holiday binges. Burn as much calories as you can by maintaining constant movement throughout the day—even during your idle time. Whether you’re reading a book, watching a movie, or working at the office, it’s important to keep moving. You can do this by using a piece of desk exercise equipment like the SitFlow desk swing, which allows you to get in some movement even while you sit in front of the TV or while working at your desk—and with zero mental distractions, too.
Aside from helping you manage your weight during the holiday season, there are many benefits to using these types of equipment that can help you improve your overall health and wellbeing. According to a recent study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, it’s not enough to exercise every day. We also need to lessen our sedentary time as it puts us at greater risk of suffering heart diseases and many other health issues.
It can be tempting to skip a meal especially after overeating the night before, but more often than not, that actually causes you to binge again because you are more likely to overeat and make bad food choices once you reach that point of extreme hunger. And of course, an even worse consequence with skipping meals is that if you do it often enough, it can significantly slow down your metabolism.
Instead of skipping a meal, the better and healthier choice is to eat a smaller meal loaded with healthy fats, protein, and fiber-rich food. This allows you to eat a much smaller meal while still getting in the necessary nutrients and keeping your hunger at bay.
When it comes to effective weight management, fiber is your friend. Felicia D. Stoler, M.S, R.D., registered dietitian and author of Living Skinny in Fat Genes, shares that she increases her dietary fiber intake after every overeating episode to help get herself back on track.
Fiber also offers many healthy benefits such as lowered cholesterol levels, a healthy digestive system, and controlled blood sugar levels.
As a rule of thumb, aim for around 25 to 30 grams of fiber a day. This should fill you up more easily, and with much less calories.
There are obviously many things that you can try to help yourself get back on track after overindulging on food, but the last thing you want to do is to use any type of medication that claims to promote weight loss. Like fad diets, they either “work” as a placebo, don’t work at all, or may even be harmful to your health.
Of course, as long as it’s safe and FDA-approved, there’s nothing wrong with taking weight loss medications if it does truly work for you and if you’ve obtained the approval of your doctor. But at the end of the day, it’s not a sustainable way to keep the weight off, and it certainly isn’t a healthy solution to combat holiday weight gain.
Aside from food, you’re likely to drink a lot of wine and beer over the holidays. This makes you even more dehydrated than usual, which can make your body retain more water and add some extra pounds to your frame—which is also known as water weight.
Drinking lots of water (and avoiding food or drink that’ll make you dehydrated, such as salty foods and alcohol) will help you shed that excess water weight. At the same time, the water makes you feel full throughout the day, which helps you avoid any mindless snacking.
The sooner you resume your healthy eating habits, the better. Once the holidays are over, ditch the unhealthy food and load up on what you know is actually healthy. This should make it much easier for you to let go of fatty food and sugary treats. You can still reward yourself with a cheat day or cheat meal, of course, but make sure to keep yourself in check. It’s normal to overindulge during the holidays, but once there are no more back-to-back parties to attend, you no longer have an excuse to partake in unlimited cheat meals!
Holiday feasts are pretty much unavoidable this season, so go ahead and enjoy yourself. As long as you keep these tips in mind, you should be able to get back on track in no time.
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