How to Get Your Diet Back On Track After the Holidays or Vacation
After the holiday season or after a vacation, you might be feeling bloated, sluggish, and weighed down by all the indulgences of the past few weeks.
There’s no single way to get back into better, healthier habits, but these tricks are ways that can absolutely (if done right) help you get back on track. Even if you have a problem with will-power, these 20 things can boost your success and your self-esteem when it comes to being healthy, eating clean, and treating your body right!
You can not only help your body heal, but also help you tackle your health goals mentally, so let’s dive in!
10 Mental Ways to Get Your Diet Back on Track
1. Quit the Negativity
Beating yourself up for indulging over the holidays or vacation is counter-productive. Nit picking every part of your body that you don’t like is another thing that many people do. Instead of telling yourself that you’re not worth getting healthy, or that “what does it matter”, try to stay positive!
Being positive actually has a lot of health benefits, including better cardiovascular health and better stress coping skills.
Read some more about the benefits of being positive. Get out of that negative mindset and into a more growth-mindset, ready for change!
2. Get motivated
Staying motivated isn’t always easy, especially when there’s temptations all over the place. Your coworker is retiring and there’s cake, or there’s a family birthday coming up.
Determining why you want to get healthy is a great step toward intrinsic motivation and staying on track with your diet. Do you want to get healthy so you can not feel fatigued when you chase your kids around? Are you trying to fit into that amazing dress for your birthday in a few months?
Another motivation tactic is remembering to celebrate hitting milestones. If you can make it 7 days without sugar, you will go buy yourself that new decor at Home Goods you saw the other day. Just make sure you aren’t celebrating a healthy diet with bad food!
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3. Find a buddy
Finding someone to help hold you accountable is a great way to stay in the right frame of mind when trying to get back on track with your nutrition.
They can remind you of your “why”.
They can stick with you in solidarity (especially if they have the same goal as you) when you choose not to have a slice of cake at your coworker’s retirement! They can help provide you with positive, healthy choices for food and activities. (Maybe you can even meal plan and go grocery shopping together!)
Having a support system in place will help you relieve stress and have more success!
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4. Don’t deprive yourself
All this talk of staying motivated and avoiding eating cake, and you’d think I’m advocating you punish yourself. That’s not it at all.
When you are trying to get healthy, being 100% strict can actually do more harm than good, and you might end up losing motivation entirely and giving in to unhealthy eating.
Make conscious choices about your favorite “unhealthy” foods and plan them out (see more in #5 below). For me, I love chocolate, which is, of course, very sugary and sweet. You might love potato chips or ice cream.
Don’t give them up entirely. Just be mindful. Choose a special day of the week that you can sit down and actually enjoy what you’re eating. You’re not emotionally eating or trying to quell your stress and anxiety from a bad day. You’re eating them out of love.
5. Plan your meals and snacks
As mentioned briefly above, meal and snack planning can be one way to remove temptation. Every week, sit down and make a plan for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, some snacks, and corresponding grocery list for the week.
Plan on making only ONE trip to the store that week. The more you go, the more tempted you’ll be to get extra stuff you don’t need.
6. Start TODAY! (Not tomorrow)
Don’t set a special time to begin this “new diet”. All you’re doing is making healthier choices. And that can start at ANY TIME. Even if you had ice cream for breakfast and you think your whole day is derailed, don’t go down that rabbit-hole.
You have 24 hours in a day. If you had ice cream at 8am, that gives you 16 hours of your day left to make healthier choices.
Don’t start tomorrow–start today.
7. Be prepared to stick to it long-term
Results take time.
That’s just a fact of nutrition and science. If you’re looking to lose 5 or 10 pounds you’re going to have to be committed to healthier eating for a while. Notice I didn’t say “diet”. The term “diet” implies a short term change of eating habits in which you deprive yourself.
Making a real, lasting change only comes from a lifestyle change that you’re prepared to do long-term (which is also why it’s important to not deprive yourself, #4 above).
Here are some more tips to make healthy eating stick long-term!
8. Eat Mindfully
When you eat, sit down.
Don’t have your phone out.
Don’t have work out.
Don’t be in front of the TV.
Put all your attention on your food. Eating mindfully helps us eat slower, digest our food more easily, and actually eat less, because it takes 20 minutes for the “full” notification to get from our stomachs to our brains.
I understand there may be times when you can’t eat slow, like if you’re a teacher and you get 15 minutes to eat while you grade some papers. I get it, believe me. But every chance you get, make sure you’re giving proper attention to the food you’re consuming.
9. Little Changes Add Up to Big Results
We live in the world of instant gratification and sometimes, we expect the big results to happen right away. But honestly, it’s the little things in life that make the biggest difference. The same applies to staying on track with your diet or nutrition lifestyle.
Going in full force will wear you out and you’ll end up exhausted and giving up.
Staying on track with your healthy eating habits requires little things, like eating carrots and hummus instead of those potato chips.
10. Move Your Body
Exercise is absolutely imperative when getting your diet back on track after the holiday season or a vacation.
After a few days of exercise, your body will start to adjust. You’ll have more energy and won’t need as much sugar to keep you from crashing through the day.
The benefits of exercise, as you probably know, are numerous. Exercise controls weight, helps to boost our energy, promotes restful sleep, and can be great fun!
Need something to keep track of your weight loss? Make sure you check out this weight loss chart!
10 Ways to Get Your Diet Back on Track with Healthy Eating
1. Drink more water than you think you need
The holidays are often filled with wine and beer, cocktails, coffee, and soda. All of these drinks can cause dehydration.
If you live in a particularly dry area like me or plan on working out a lot in the coming weeks, I would aim for 120 oz of water per day. (That’s about a gallon.) If you’re in a more humid climate or won’t be sweating profusely during the day 80-100 ounces is probably a good starting place.
The main goal is just to rehydrate your cells, lubricate your joints, help boost your immune system, and all the other amazing things that water does for you.
I am talking about water—not gatorade, not tea, not flavored drinks… WATER! Plain old, lovely, fresh water from whatever source you want.
2. Take a probiotic
Our gut flora is something that assists with digestion and immune function. Gut flora is even linked with our mental health. This is another easy answer for how to get your diet back on track after vacation or the holidays.
If you’re not already focusing on probiotics, consider adding them to your regular routine. Find some foods that have naturally occurring probiotics, like sauerkraut, kombucha, or pickles, or you can select a quality probiotic.
Sugar and poor eating can allow bad bacteria and other organisms in your gut like yeast to overgrow. When you add probiotics to your diet, they are going to be working hard to colonize in your intestines. That means that they will be interacting with your food and all that bad bacteria and yeast to stop the overgrowth of the bad stuff and help to find a better balance.
Arbonne Digestion Plus for A Healthy Gut
3. Substitute Protein Foods for Carb Foods
Protein helps to keep you fuller longer and will stabilize your blood sugar with fewer spikes and dips during the day.
This means preparing for meals and snacks that are packed with protein. I’m partial to eggs in the morning, and salads with plenty of meat during the day.
If you don’t like eggs, another option would be eating your cereal or granola with greek yogurt or having a breakfast sandwich. Just watch the amount of bread/carbs you’re consuming!
If you aren’t a fan of salads for lunch, make sure your lunch contains meat (or tofu, beans, etc. if you’re a vegetarian).
Consider packing protein-filled snacks like almonds or peanut-butter, greek yogurt, jerky, boiled eggs, or rolling lunchmeat and cheese together without bread. Especially if you’ve been regularly eating carbs, your body is probably going through those awful blood sugar spikes and dips, and will continue to do this at first once you switch to more protein-packed foods. This is why it’s important to eat smaller meals, or more frequent snacks.
Keep your blood sugar stable. After a few days of your body adjusting to your new eating patterns, your blood sugar should naturally start to stabilize on its own and you’ll feel fewer of those shifts and “hangry” moods.
4. Ditch the alcohol
Alcohol is one of the worst things that can derail your plans for a healthy diet or lifestyle. And we all know how much we like to celebrate with a beer or cocktail around the holidays.
Quitting drinking can help you get your diet back on track in no time.
Regular alcohol consumption is connected with many health ailments, including hypertension, cirrhosis of the liver, and many cancers. The doctors in the article even go on to say that there is no safe level of alcohol consumption.
5. Don’t drink your calories
Aside from alcohol, there are plenty of poor choices when it comes to unhealthy drinks. That Starbucks latte you had this morning on your way to work? It could have more than your daily recommended amount of added sugar. Gross.
So don’t just make sure you’re drinking plenty of water and ditching the alcohol. Make sure you watch out for other sources of sugar in your drinks too.
Here are some drinks you want to watch out for:
- fruity drinks
- sports drinks
- vitamin-enhanced water
- energy drinks
- prepared coffees or coffee drinks
- sweetened teas
Basically anything that comes in a bottle is probably loaded with sugar. Even 100% juice is loaded with sugar.
6. Eat fruit instead of cookies
Need something to satisfy a sweet tooth? Opt for your favorite fruit.
Bananas are super-sweet, but they are also high in potassium. Apples, pears, peaches, and others are easy to eat as they are (after washing them, of course).
But even though most fruits are high in naturally occuring sugars, they’re also caulk full of fiber, vitamins, minerals, and other compounds that our bodies need to function at our best. They’re also low in calories, and the fiber will help you feel fuller quicker.
7. Eat in the right proportions
Focus on veggies.
Most people aren’t getting enough vegetables… in fact, as many as 9 in 10 people in the US don’t get enough vegetables throughout the day.
Let’s say that again:
90% of people aren’t getting enough vegetables and fruits.
Unless you’re actively trying to eat enough veggie and fruits through the day, you’re probably not getting enough.
Vegetables are essential in our diets. They are high in all the vitamins and minerals that our bodies need to build new cells, balance hormones, and fuel our brains. They are low in sugar and low in fat. They’re also high in fiber, full of water, and are associated with lower risk for diseases like heart disease.
So finding delicious, healthy ways of consuming your vegetables will help you stay on track with your diet. (Check our #10 below for some ideas!)
8. Pack your lunch
Just like the meal planning above, packing your lunch is a great way to make sure you’re getting healthy choices. Use the ideas in #3, #6 and #7 above to pack the perfect, balanced lunch for yourself.
Make sure you opt for foods with protein, fiber, and lots of veggies! Pack snacks like fruit, nuts, or maybe carrots and hummus.
Here’s a great article that will help you follow those lunch guidelines above in more depth. Packing you lunch is a great way to get your diet back on track after the holidays.
9. Don’t go low-fat
That’s right. Fat and even cholesterol isn’t as bad for us as we previously thought. Fat has gotten a bad reputation since the 1950s and 60s, but the sugar industry quietly paid researchers to point the finger at fat instead. Here’s another scientific article that links Big Sugar’s role in blaming coronary heart disease on fat and cholesterol.
Fats in foods like dairy, eggs, and meat are naturally occuring, and they (just like protein) help keep you fuller longer. Foods like eggs are high in cholesterol, but they’re nutrient-dense and supply us with a great number of vitamins and minerals. Sure, fatty foods have more calories, but they also make sure that you’re not getting sugar in sneaky sources in your food.
Also, you may be more likely to watch your portion control if you know you’re eating full-fat foods.
Look for full-fat dairy, eggs, avocado, and foods like almonds, walnuts, or other nuts and seeds.
10. Realize that Healthy Food is really flavorful and fantastic!
Healthy foods don’t have to be bland and boring! Making sure you’re getting enough protein, healthy fats, vegetables, and herbs and spices.
If you’ve had a hard time with “healthy” food in the past, it may take some stellar recipes and a little experimentation with spices and herbs to find what kinds of things you like, but healthy foods can be absolutely delicious.
Learn more about making your healthy food tasty!
Are you ready to tackle your goal to get healthy and get your diet back on track? It’s worth it to eat healthy and exercise, have tons of energy, and feel great about yourself. Just do it mindfully, don’t deprive yourself, and focus on flavorful foods full of protein!
And remember: small changes over time yield big results.
You’re well on your way to staying on track with your diet and nutrition goals. Good luck, and stay healthy!!
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