The holidays are filled with many things. Cheer, laughter, gifts, and indulgence. It’s easy to throw healthy out the window and say things like ‘holiday calories don’t count’ during December when you’re being offered sweets left, right, and centre, and you’re getting invitations to massive dinners. Besides, it’s the end of the year. Why not treat yourself? But come January and you might find yourself regretting all those chocolates and gingerbread cookies. But don’t worry, with the right attitude and determination you can get right back on track in the new year.
It’s not about finding the strictest diet you can stick to, but finding what works for you and creating healthy habits to maintain for the rest of the year. Starving yourself is unhealthy and will probably just lead to a weekend binge that negates everything. Start by taking small, simple steps.
You might have gotten used to sweets being handed out at work or family gatherings during the month of December. In January this is no longer the norm, so if you’re going to snack make sure you’re bringing your own healthy options. A fruit such as an apple or orange is the perfect replacement to satisfy your sweet tooth. A handful of nuts will help to keep you full between meals while providing your body with protein, fiber, and minerals.
WATCH YOUR PORTIONS
Group meals are undoubtedly lovely, but it’s so easy to go back for seconds and thirds and try a little (or a lot) of everything. When you’re on your own it’s so much easier to control your portion size. Try setting aside one day a week for meal prepping. No, it’s not as fun as going for brunch but you won’t have to worry about your meals at all during the week and you’ll know exactly what and how much is inside.
GO EASY ON YOUR SIDES/DRESSINGS
Do you really want to know how much butter grandma used in her Christmas cookies? Me neither. Now that you’re back to cooking for yourself, you can take it easy on the extras and choose healthier options. Swap out heavy cream-based items (like mayonnaise, butter, etc) for lightweight heart-healthy oils (olive oil, coconut oil).
EAT YOUR VEGETABLES
Make sure you’re eating plenty of vegetables! They are filled with vitamins, minerals, and fibers, and are the staple of healthy eating. The perfect diet is a very debatable topic but there is one food group that everyone can agree upon, and that is vegetables.
EAT THE RIGHT KINDS OF FAT
Not all fat is made equal. It may seem extremely counterproductive to eat fatty foods when you’re trying to lose weight, but there’s a huge difference between eating chips and a chocolate bar and an avocado toast. Unsaturated fats actually lower bad cholesterol and since the foods that contain them tend to be rich, they are very filling so you don’t need to eat a lot of them and you will still be satisfied. Foods that contain healthy fats include nuts, avocado, olive oil, whole eggs, and chia seeds.
Remember - the key is healthy eating, not self-deprivation. When you find a method that works for you and incorporates whole, healthy foods the pounds will start coming off.