Fell Off the Wagon Over the Holidays? 10 Tips for Getting Your Food and Fitness Back on Track
All right now, it’s time to admit the holidays are officially over. No more eating chocolate-covered almonds for breakfast as you mutter “I’ll get back on track in the new year” under your breath. The new year is well underway.
So if you, like the other seven billion of us, overdid it with Hanukkah latkes, Christmas cookies, office party buffets and New Year’s Eve open bars, you’re probably about ready to get back on track with your eating and exercise habits.
Here are ten first steps to get you started.
1. Call in the bomb disposal team.
You’re the disposal team, and the bombs are all the holiday junk food still lying around your house. In that little glass dish on your coffee table, at the bottom of the cute snowman tin your bestie gave you, squeezed into the top shelf of the fridge, over there on the counter, atop your desk at work. Get rid of it all.
2. Do some healthy detoxing.
We’re not talking anything extreme, but take some simple quick steps to clean up your insides. Swap out your waffle breakfast for a healthy smoothie. Increase your raw vegetable intake. Shelve the alcohol for a while. Trade your normal soda and juice for filtered water. Need the warm comfort of coffee and tea? Serve your water hot with lemon slices.
3. Plan everything you’re going to eat for the next week.
You’ve been winging your eating for weeks now, drifting in and out of hors d'oeuvres platters and gifted loaves of cranberry bread. Getting back on track calls for a more deliberate approach. Think through your next seven days of consumption. The trick here is simplicity. Keep your breakfast and lunch the same all week (I personally feel two boiled eggs and some fresh fruit for breakfast never gets old, and I can certainly manage some tuna on a bed of greens every day for a week). Brainstorm a few easy, healthy snacks, and think of five nutritious dinners you know by heart. Now write it all down.
4. Go shopping with a grocery list.
Your fabulously simple eating plan only works if you have all the relevant ingredients available, so take your meal plan to the grocery store with you and choose thoughtfully. You’re setting yourself up for success here. If that means buying the pre-washed veg or the pre-cooked chicken, just do it. Today’s you should shop in a way that helps tomorrow’s you stick with the plan.
5. Find a workout plan to follow.
Choose one that appeals to your personal fitness goals and interests. Plans abound, whether you’re aiming to build muscle, become a couch-to-5K runner, get faster at anything or prep for a mud-run obstacle course. A schedule will give you that external push when your own willpower and motivation are lagging.
6. Sign up for an event that tests your workout plan.
Choose a race or competition that allows time to adequately train, but soon enough that you must start training today. Once you’ve chosen that date — and paid for it — your focus and commitment will follow.
7. Choose your workout time and stick with it.
If we wait and see when we’ll have time to exercise each day, we’re making our fitness a “maybe.” Prioritize exercise by picking a time that works — first thing in the morning? on your lunch break? just before dinner? — and then commit to using that time for exercise every day.
8. Shake up your exercise.
Exercising at the same time every day doesn’t mean doing the same exercises every day. Your options are boundless: running, walking, surfing, swimming, hiking, skating, biking, yoga, rock climbing, playing football with your friends, playing freeze tag with your kids, anything involving prolonged movement. Variety is what keeps exercise interesting and keeps you coming back.
9. Have an accountability partner.
Whether you’re trying to choose the grilled chicken over the fried or you’re struggling to get out of bed for a 5AM jog, having a supportive somebody who shares your goals can nudge you through those weaker moments. Accountability partners keep us honest when we slip, celebrate our successes when we conquer, and usually make the journey a lot more fun.
10. Don’t overdo it.
Diets, exercise regimens and new year’s resolutions so often fail because they’re unsustainable. We set extreme goals we can’t stick to and become demoralized. This is why Step 3 calls for meals you already know rather than five new recipes; it’s why Step 8 says childhood games can count as exercise. Choose simplicity. We’re not looking for miracles in 2018. We’re looking for success.
If you enjoyed this article, sign up to our weekly newsletter! It’s full of health and wellness tips, happiness hacks and plenty of inspiration to live the best life possible.