By Rennie Aranda, Skinny Gene Registered Dietitian
You’ve opened all the presents, attended all the fun holiday parties, and recovered from the food comas. As the holidays wind down, so do the temptations of all the holiday goodies. Before the fatigue settles in from weeks of indulging in sugary, fatty desserts, skimping on fruits and vegetables, and skipping days at the gym, get back on track to healthier habits in the New Year with these tips:
New Year, Healthier You – Ways to Recover from Past-Holiday Splurges
- Positive mindset. A huge part of keeping our motivation up after the holidays is upholding a positive attitude. Instead of dwelling on any excess weight gained over the holidays or thinking of the foods you are trying to limit/restrict, focus on the good experiences you had during the holiday season and what you can eat for good health. This will help you stick to healthy habits and achieve the goals you’ve set.
- Plan exercise time in advance. It is much easier to stick to an exercise regimen if you schedule ahead. Take it slow at first, and then gradually increase your time and/or intensity of the exercise in order to burn calories at a faster rate and build a healthy body. Always consult with your doctor first to make sure your exercise plan is right for you. Aim for at least 30 minutes of physical activity almost every day. Sign up for your favorite charity walk, buddy up, or use a pedometer to help keep up motivation.
- Eat breakfast every day. Having a nutritious, fiber-rich breakfast helps give you more energy, leads you to make healthier choices throughout the day, and helps keep you full to prevent overeating at later meals. Try oatmeal with fruit, or half a whole wheat bagel with peanut butter to jump start your day.
- Fill up on fruits and veggies. Fill half your plate with fruits and vegetables and you’ll feel fuller more quickly while cutting down on calories without feeling deprived. It is ideal to consume at least 5 fruit and vegetable servings a day (about 3 servings of vegetables and 2 servings of fruit). These vitamin-rich foods boost your fiber and antioxidant intake and help keep you from overeating. Replace an empty calorie beverage or snack (such as soda or chips) with a fruit or vegetable such as an orange or celery sticks. Spice up your fruit and vegetable snack with herbs and spices, or a low-fat dip instead of using butter and/or salt to flavor them.
- Take it slow and be prepared for lapses. Trying to tackle every health resolution you’ve set for yourself all at once is a recipe for disaster. Spend a few weeks just trying to achieve one to two goals at a time. Add a couple more goals to your list as you establish new good habits. Permanent changes take time to implement so no need to rush them. No one is perfect. If you temporarily get sidetracked from your goals, don’t use it as an excuse to throw in the towel. Every day is a new chance to start over, so get right back to working towards a healthy lifestyle.