The holidays are a wonderful time, a glorious combination of family, friends and, of course – food, but sadly, they seem to be over just as they’re getting started. In addition, after all the good times abruptly end, you may notice a slight pinch in your jeans, or a tightness to your favourite dress and you may wonder if you spent too much time with food rather than with family and friends. If this is you, fear not, you are definitely not alone, read on to learn 6 ways to bounce back after the holidays and get yourself back on track for the new year.
1. Get back to a normal routine
Once you walk out of work on that glorious last day before the holidays, it’s almost inevitable that from that point, your day-to-day routine will become increasingly warped and erratic. The sweet absence of having to go to work will cause you to stay up later, sleep in so late it’s almost impressive and of course, eat more. Now there’s nothing wrong with relaxing but if you’ve become glued to the couch, accompanied by an endless supply of cheese, crackers and wine, eventually you’ll may notice you’re leaving a larger dint in the cushion. If this is happening, try to a pattern of breakfast, lunch and dinner with some treats in-between.
2. Boost your nutrient intake
If the extent of your fruit intake over the holidays was a few slices of kiwi fruit served as a pavlova topping, it’s time for action. Fruits and vegetables are very important as they provide our bodies with so many valuable nutrients such as fibre, vitamins, folate and calcium, which if we miss out on for too long, can lead to deficiencies with nasty side-effects. Substitute any processed, or fatty snacks with a piece of fresh fruit, or try some fruit with your favourite yogurt or cereal – berries work well here. Incorporate salads as part of your lunch and dinner, whether it’s just on the side or a meal itself.
3. Get some sun
If the heat has gotten to you and you’ve spent your holidays cooped up in your room with Netflix playing and the aircon blaring (lucky you), then some sunlight might give you a well-needed boost. This is because the sun actually plays a role in our sleep cycles, exposure to the sun reminds our body of the rhythms of day and night, sunlight and darkness. In addition to getting our body clocks back on track, sunlight also boosts serotonin – a natural hormone that makes us feel happy, which in turn will make you feel more productive. The sun also provides us with a dose of vitamin D which is important for strong bones as well as general health, just a 30-minute dose of sunlight in the morning is enough to yield the above benefits, bonus points if you exercise at the same time.
4. Swap your fluids
Chances are that over the holidays you’ve consumed more alcohol than usual due to family gatherings and the like, this means you likely have quite a few toxins that need to be flushed out. This where good-old H2O can lend some support, water is essential for cleaning out our digestive system and has a hand in maintaining healthy skin. If you’re not big fan of water, there’s plenty you can do to jazz it up, from a simple slice of lemon to infusing berries in ice-cubes (adding in flavour without the added sugars found in traditional fruit juices), the possibilities are endless.
5. Reset your portions
Let’s face it, portion control around the holidays can be thrown out the window very easily, especially around Christmas Day, by the time you’ve seen all your relatives you may have eaten lunch about 3 times! Don’t feel bad though, it’s easy to get into the swing of things, you could start by: storing leftovers in small, single-serve containers rather than squeezing it all into one, big container – this will help you divide out your meals evenly. In addition, you can try eating from smaller plates so you’re not compelled to fill them up quite as much, also try to avoid adding too many tempting extras to the table such as: bread, salt and gravy. Lastly, try to avoid going back for seconds, especially if you’re going to be having dessert later anyway.
6. Set realistic and achievable goals that will have a long-term, positive affect
With a new year comes a fresh batch of new year’s resolutions, people ride the wave of new year hope and stock up on ludicrously expensive protein powder and clog up the gyms for a couple of weeks, before losing interest. Yes, gyms are a very effective way of losing weight and increasing fitness but they also cost money so be sure they are right for you before you commit your money to any long-term contracts. You could try taking a long, honest look at your diet instead and identify any areas that could improve. For instance, you may realise that you snack too much, you might grab a bag of Maltesers straight after dinner and put a movie on, and by the time the credits roll, it’s all gone! If this is you, try emptying a portion of the bag to eat, rather than the whole thing, chewing on gum to keep yourself busy or you could even trick yourself into not snacking mindlessly by brushing and flossing your teeth right after dinner! Identifying bad, but easily-fixed, dietary habits such as this is the first step to improving your diet ten-fold in the long run.
The holidays are over and you’ve had your fun but if you follow the tips I’ve just mentioned, you can easily bounce back into your routine as well as picking up some new, positive habits and most importantly, you’ll be able to enjoy yourself without guilt, next time the holidays roll around.