If so, here are some Tips for getting back on track. Many people think of their diet in terms of black or white. They eliminate all the “junk” food and follow a very rigid diet, or they completely go off the wagon and eat everything and anything they want. When you think about a healthy eating plan don’t think of it as black or white, but recognize that there are shades of gray. Allowing for flexibility and getting rid of the “all-or-nothing diet mentality” is very important for staying on track with your meal plan (especially around the holiday season). The following are some things to remember when your eating hasn’t gone as planned:
- One day doesn’t make or break a healthy eating plan. It is the choices that are made day after day that really make a difference. Remember, there are 3,500 calories in a pound of fat, so it is unlikely that a bad meal choice or a bad day would contribute to any significant weight gain.
- You can’t do anything to change the past; you can only control the choices you make in the future. Don’t beat yourself up over poor food choices you may have made…it won’t do any good and it can only sabotage your weight loss efforts. When you get down on yourself, you are more likely to give up all together and that’s what really causes weight gain. So instead, examine the situation that caused you to overeat, and put a plan in place for the next time you are faced with the situation to prevent it from happening again. The following is an example:
- You had leftover pie in the house from Thanksgiving dinner and ended up eating quite a bit more than you had planned. Instead of getting upset with yourself, think about what you can do to correct the situation. Get the pie out of the house to minimize temptation (give it to a friend, take it to work or throw it out). Plan for the future. Next time plan to send the pie home with a family member or friend so that it is not in your house. Another option would be to freeze the leftovers so you have it for company in the future but it is not so tempting to eat.
- Do the next best thing! If you overate, you can often compensate for the extra calories by asking yourself the following question: “What is the next best thing I can do to get back on track?” Go for a walk, plan the next meal carefully, clean up your environment, or go grocery shopping for healthy foods. Often the extra calories from one meal can be counterbalanced by having the next meal be lighter and lower in calories or adding in a little extra activity.
The sooner you get back on track the better! It is easier to lose 1-2 pounds of weight gained over Thanksgiving week than to throw in the towel and say that you’ll worry about it in the New Year when that weight gain has been multiplied.