Vacations, weddings, and holidays are all times during the year when we are prone to over-indulge. And while a “treat”/”cheat” day never hurt anyone, the holiday season often means several days of extra desserts, delicious meals, and disrupted schedules. Poor nutrition, lack of routine, disrupted sleep, and anxiety can leave even the most disciplined person feeling lethargic and overstuffed.
If you woke up this morning–the day after Christmas–still feeling full from that extra slice of pie, then you may be itching to get back on track and “undo the damage”. Now, before you totally panic, step one is to RELAX. You didn’t undo months of hard work this week and you don’t have to run a marathon or eat nothing to compensate. Your body is looking to find homeostasis again. And going to extremes will not get you there faster. If you’ve had an off week, expect to take a week before you go back to feeling your normal self again. AND THAT’S OKAY… as long as you get back to re-establishing good habits.
To get you there faster and in a healthy way, here are a few tips to getting back on track nutritionally after the holidays.
- Set a schedule. Get back to your routine as quickly as possible. If you can’t return to your normal schedule because of travel, or vacation time, or family visiting, then you want to do your best to artificially create some of that routine. Schedule meal times. Schedule a workout. Set an alarm to wake up, and more importantly, set an alarm to go to bed. Limit caffeine and alcohol before bed. If you want your body to behave like normal, you have to give yourself a reasonable schedule.
- Drink more water. There may have been coffee, hot chocolate, eggnog, and punch…but if you’ve been reaching for those drinks instead of water, you’ll feel it. Get back to drinking a regular amount of water throughout the day. This one thing will make a world of difference.
- Don’t over-restrict. If you ate an extra meal yesterday, don’t try to compensate by skipping a meal today. Add in quality fruits and vegetables today, get plenty of fiber, and a little extra protein. Skip the dessert or extra serving of bread. (Or, if you have specific dietary needs, get back to your nutritional guidelines as prescribed by your dietician or surgery guidelines.) You want your blood sugar to return to normal so that you feel balanced again. Over-restriction will make that take longer, will leave you hungry and grumpy, and can set you up to over-indulge again.
- Check in with your support team. Ultimate Bariatrics has a private Facebook group you can join if you want an encouraging group. Of course, if you have any nutritional questions or medical questions, please contact your doctor or dietician.