Thanksgiving has come and gone. You danced and belly-laughed. You ate…and belly-flopped. You and a million other weight-watchers probably feel guilty that you couldn’t resist a fifteenth cookie (and who could blame you?).
However, playing the “shame-on-me” game could cause you to continue down a gluttonous path. Besides, you’ve got a month’s worth of holiday parties to attend and slinky dresses to slide into. Apply these five sensible rules to get back on a healthy eating track today.
Rule 1: Leave the past behind. Okay, you overindulged – don’t harp on it! You’ll just torture yourself. Think: That was then. Focus on what you’ll do next, instead. Even the “tight body elite” fall off the wagon. The difference is that they make better choices immediately. Don’t wait until Monday or the New Year to start eating right. Begin at your very next meal.
Rule 2: Eat normally. Starving yourself is not a smart way to compensate for a chocolate bender. You’ll end up nursing a very unhealthy cycle of binging and restricting, which may lead to more weight problems. Add that to physical and emotional exhaustion, and it’s just not worth it. Eat three balanced meals and up to three snacks daily that include lean protein, fruits, veggies, low-fat dairy and whole grains.
Rule 3: Keep your diet simple. Going gluten-free (unless you’re sensitive or allergic to gluten) will not buy you a ticket to “slenderland.” Stick with a wholesome diet that consists of whole grains, lean protein, fruits, veggies, low-fat or nonfat dairy, and healthy fat. Yes, it’s that straight-forward.
Rule 4: Be prepared. Smart eating takes planning. Take a trip to the market and stock your pantry, refrigerator and freezer with healthy options. Store on-the-go snacks in your purse, desk and car, so that you’re ready to respond to cravings and munchies.
Rule 5: Learn from the past. While you shouldn’t beat yourself up for overeating, you should take stock of why you slipped. Keep these tips in mind for your next holiday soiree:
- Eat beforehand. When you’re famished, everything looks good. If you’re only slightly hungry, you are more likely to make conscious decisions.
- Make liquid calories count. If you know you want a special cocktail or champagne, skip higher-calorie regular soda or juice. Stay hydrated by sipping on water or seltzer.
- Go two-for-two. Rather than forgo high-fat goodies, savor two tablespoons of two treats you really want. Be sure to scan all the offerings first, so you won’t regret your choices.
- Find a friend. People often eat mindlessly at parties because they’re nervous or anxious. Make a beeline toward familiar faces as soon as you walk in to put yourself at ease.
Toby Amidor is a registered dietician and the owner of Toby Amidor Nutrition. She holds a master’s degree in clinical nutrition and dietetics from New York University. You can follow her on Twitter at @tobyamidor.