So you've stepped out on your normal, everyday diet for the holidays. That's OK. It's Christmas, give yourself the gift of giving yourself a break. But when you do overdo it, here's how to bring yourself back on track quickly.
1. Don't Knock Yourself
The holidays are for indulging. So don't think of it as blowing your diet. You and your diet are just taking a break. You'll get back together after the festivities. So don't knock yourself for partaking in some holiday excess.
2. Be a Little Mindful
If you blew it out in epic style at a holiday dinner party, you might be content to eat less for breakfast the next morning. But don't skip breakfast; eat when you're actually hungry, and then eat slowly and mindfully to satisfy the hunger. Skipping meals can backfire when the hunger returns with a vengeance.
3. Plan Some Healthy Meals
Yes, you've given yourself license to indulge during the holidays. But it's also helpful to plan healthy, sensible dinners for the off days. Don't leave it to chance; plan for these healthy dinners, so they're ready and waiting for you. When you open the fridge, let it reveal lean proteins, like chicken breast and fish, and lots of clean, healthy veggies. This is your chance to counterbalance all the indulgence with the healthy foods your body is craving.
4. Go Nuts at Snack Time
When afternoon hunger growls at you, bite back with a handful of mixed nuts. Nuts are loaded up with good stuff, including healthy fats and protein that will keep you feeling full longer. You might find that a strategic serving of nuts during the day makes you less likely to go all-out at dinner.
5. Sneak in Some Extra Exercise
Get a little extra movement whenever you can. When you're grocery or holiday shopping, park the car at the far end of the parking lot. When you can, take the stairs instead of the escalator or elevator. If you take the bus or train into work, stroll right past the closest stop and hop on board a few stops down the line. Also, think about talking a short walk after a big meal. Research shows that a short walk after dinner can aid digestion and help lower blood-sugar levels. Walking seems to speed food on its course through the digestive system and helps draw glucose out of the bloodsteam and pack it into working muscles. Research also shows that a short, 10-minute walk after dinner may be more effective at lowering blood sugar than longer walks at other times.
6. But Don't Overdo the Exercise
Exercise within your limits. You can't balance out a binge with one super-intense workout. Naturally, if you're a seasoned runner, then by all means, lace 'em up and run your way back to feeling fine. But if exercise is a foreign concept, like the metric system or bullet trains, then sudden, hardcore exercise might do little more than leave you with shin splints, aching muscles, sore joints...and a curiously robust post-workout hunger. Not helpful.
7. Drink Plenty of Water
In these days of holiday excess, there will be booze and salty snacks. Stay hydrated. Drink extra water during the day...and before you go to bed and right when you wake up. Keep a water bottle with you as you go about your day -- anything for a few extra swigs. Your body and brain are always thirsty for water to help with metabolism and basic bodily functions; but they'll need it now more than ever. Drink plain ol' water -- and save the calories for piling on more holiday cheer.