It’s the most wonderful time of the year, full of friends, family and an endless supply of food. Even if you were really focusing on being healthy, you probably ate more calories in a few days than you normally would in a week. I know I’m guilty of this! It happens every year, and it’s almost unavoidable (my mother’s house is COVERED in cookies). But it happened, so stop making yourself feel like a horrible human for having your cookie and eating it too. Let’s talk about the dos and don’ts of how to bounce back from it in a healthy way:
Do: Lay off the sweets now that the holiday is over!! I know this is tough – I used to justify it by telling myself that it only comes once a year but it came and now it’s gone. I’m not saying to avoid leftovers completely, just remember that you don’t need a cookie with it!
Don’t: Keep eating like it’s the holidays and tell yourself you’ll stop after New Years! You probably won’t actually stop after New Years, unhealthy habits form really quickly and they’re so hard to break. If you’re like me and have a sweet tooth you must have some self-control between Christmas and New Years, otherwise it’s way harder to bounce back from and you’ll spend months trying to lose the pounds you picked up in that week.
Do: Get back to the gym!! You heard me, once the holiday fun is over you need to get back to your fitness routine. Habits are hard to form and easy to break so don’t throw away all of your hard work by not going for a few weeks!
Don’t: Push yourself too hard in the gym to lose those “holiday pounds” I hate when I see people so obsessed with dropping two pounds they think they gained over the holidays that they spend hours on the elliptical and almost die. It’s not healthy, it’s not cute, and it’s probably not going to be super effective because you’ll be too exhausted to go consistently. I fully support stepping up your workout but this may not be the best time to do it. Get back into the swing of things first!
Do: Focus on your eating schedule! Everyone has an eating schedule (whether you realize it or not) and that eating schedule probably changed over the holidays. I eat on an intermittent fasting eating schedule where I get all of my food in 8 hours of the day and fast for the other 16, but over the holidays I ate for a longer period of time. My first step in bouncing back has been to get back to my 8/16 routine because my body is used to this and it forces me to eat healthier to get all of the nutrients I need in a shorter period. So if you eat three meals a day with no snacks then get back to that and stop snacking, if you’re a six small meals type of person then shrink your portion sizes.
Don’t: Starve yourself I hate this method of weight loss where people think that by not eating much, or at all, they can drop pounds and get to their goal weight. It’s not healthy, it’s not sustainable, and it’s the beginnings of an eating disorder. I’ve dealt with eating disorders and can tell you from personal experience that it is not something you want to mess around with. I know you want to fit into your NYE outfit, but I promise you that no outfit is worth it.
Do: Drink lots of water!! With all of the holiday beverages and caffeine to keep you going through family Christmases, you probably didn’t drink a ton of water over the holidays. Drinking water is so important for curbing cravings (which is a big deal when you’re surrounded by cookies). It also helps with the “you’re not hungry you’re just bored” phenomenon, so if you’re getting weird snack cravings grab a big glass of water instead!
Don’t: Be that person who complains about their diet 24/7 We all know that person and there is no place for that nonsense in the holiday season. I know it’s hard to say no when everyone else is eating cookies but a simple “no thank you” is way better than letting your entire family know about how fat you think you are and how few calories a day you think you should be eating. And if you’re having a full conversation about how hungry you are but you’re ‘watching your calories right now’ then you need to rethink your diet because clearly this is not working well for you!!
Do: Take the time to enjoy your break and spend time with the people who matter to you! If you have to choose between the gym and spending time with your people, choose your people. You can’t do this fitness journey by yourself and you need the people in your life as your cheerleaders so SPEND SOME QUALITY TIME WITH THEM!!! Don’t be one of those people who lives in the gym if that means missing out on quality time with the people you love. You have to be a whole person, not just a fitness fanatic!