The holidays are fun, festive and notoriously known for not-so-healthy indulgences. Despite our best intentions to eat right and stay on track nutritionally, the plentiful array of sweet and savory temptations sometimes get the best of us. Even though we do our best to practice portion control, inevitably we end up stuffed to the gills and miserable. Here are some practical tips that may help with that occasional holiday bout of overindulgence:
• Don’t starve yourself after your excessive holiday meal. Many people rationalize overeating by telling themselves that they will not eat for the next day or two. Even though it may seem like a great idea to starve yourself, health professionals say that doing without may not be the best strategy. Instead of skipping meals, eat smaller, more frequent meals that are mostly fiber and protein.
• Increase your water intake. More water helps to flush your system and remove excess toxins. Water will also help your digestive tract eliminate wastes more efficiently.
• Get some exercise. Walking or other light exercise after a big meal will help kick start the digestive process as well as aiding in food absorption. Light exercise will also help you deal with any guilt you may carry for having overindulged.
• Don’t punish yourself. Chastising yourself for overeating will only lead to depression which will further interfere with your recovery efforts. Tell yourself that you cannot do anything about the meal you just ate, but you now have the opportunity to make better decisions at your next meal.
• Plan for the next holiday meal. Since you know that overeating is a temptation, take some steps that will help you prepare for and, at least, limit your next episode of potential overindulgence. For example, you can plan to take a ten minute walk before the meal; drink herbal tea prior to eating; or allow ten to twenty minutes before going back for seconds or dessert. Taking some of these measures will allow you time to think before you eat and may curb the tendency to gorge.
• Keep your goals in front of you. Reminding yourself of your goals will help change your thought patterns and get your brain back into health mode. One meal will not make you gain weight any more than one workout will make you lose weight. The important thing is to resume your health regimen and not dwell one indiscretion.
Even though the food filled holiday festivities can potentially sabotage your diet plan, dealing with the damage of excessive holiday feasting is not impossible. By following a few sensible guidelines, you can feel much better about your ability to recover from holiday overeating. Additionally, you will gain self confidence by knowing that even when you are faced with an occasionally stumbling block, you can successfully get back on track.