The holiday season is behind us and the new year is here. For most of us 2020 was challenging and we may have made some questionable food choices. There are many of us who have gained the Covid-19 weight and are now looking for a way to make healthier choices heading into 2021 and beyond. Here are some tips to get started out right and make health and healthy eating a part of your lifestyle.
Tip #1: Mistakes and slipping up or overeating are a part of life; don’t let feelings of guilt or regret dominate your mindset.
Let’s face it, there are so many great foods to enjoy over the holiday season! Turkey, Grandma’s special stuffing, pies, cookies, ham, and let’s not forget Reeses® Peanut Butter Christmas Trees! It’s okay to enjoy those foods, and let the memories that they bring back wash over you. The holidays are a time to be with family, celebrate all the good things we have in our lives and enjoy! So you had a cookie or 10, that is in the past and it is time to start looking forward. Be glad that you were able to eat those foods you love, many people don’t have that ability. Guilt, regret and shame will not help you move forward. Gratitude for what you had will. So don’t let past choices dictate how you move forward and seriously how great are those peanut butter trees?!
Tip #2: Look back at where you overate and try to remember what was going on at that time. Use that information to learn more about you and your relationship to food.
Food is more than fuel. For centuries meals have been a way to come together, whether it be to celebrate, mourn or just enjoy each other’s company food and eating have strong emotional components to them. By looking back at those times when you maybe had too much was it because you were sad about not getting to see family? Or were you stressed about the holiday spending? Identifying the emotional triggers that cause overeating and addressing them can help prevent future episodes of overeating. If you see that you eat comfort foods when you’re stressed maybe you can plan ahead and mediate or find another, healthier way to de-stress. And if you still end up eating to help calm down that’s okay, just get back on track tomorrow. One day of bad eating won’t derail your progress, doing it again and again over many weeks will.
Tip #3: Take some time to develop a plan.
There are many ways to go about getting healthier. That could mean losing some weight, eating more fruits and vegetables or starting an exercise program. The key is to start to develop behaviors that will set you up for success and that takes some planning. You can start simple, such as making a weekly shopping list of healthy foods, like fruits and vegetables, lean meats, and healthy carbs. Once you have your key foods then you can build meals and other foods around that list as needed. If you want to start exercising more set aside some time during the week to do that. Put those times into your weekly schedule so now it is something you have to plan around. Having a plan helps to eliminate the guess work and makes it easier to stick with it when things get busy or stressful.
Tip #4: Start out slowly & don’t bite off more than you can chew.
Taking on too much at once can set you up for failure. Focus on being consistent with making small changes; long term consistency will beat short bursts of perfection. Think back to that children’s tale of the tortoise and the hare, the tortoise made steady but gradual process and ended up being the winner. Those small changes will add up and small changes will not over stress you. Those small changes over the course of a few months and before you know it you’ll be feeling better and your clothes will fit differently.
If you want more help or have questions about how to get started on your goal to becoming a healthier you, give us a call at 822-BACK, or visit our website www.drzwny.com.
Written by: Dr. Marshall Dornink