Recovering from Christmas

Here are some handy tips to help you get back on track with your healthy eating plans after Christmas. Some of it is already covered in the introduction to the 'Eat to Live' section, but I thought a refresher would come in handy and it could also help people who are new to the site.

I'm sure you're all wondering why I'm writing about getting over Christmas at the end of January and the answer is simple. If you try to do it at the beginning of the month, you're likely to fail.

Lets go back to December first though. Unless you were extremely disciplined, it's a safe a bet that you overindulged over Christmas, as there are just so many temptations and distractions. If I'm honest, I messed up too so I'm really keen to turn things around as well.

I think the biggest problem at Christmas is that it's so easy to take the 'what the hell' approach. 

You've got lots of dinners organised, there are tasty treats everywhere and you've probably been overeating for several days. This is where the damage is done, as you'll probably think 'what the hell' one more isn't going to make a difference.

You've probably found that it did though, so now it's time to be disciplined. Going forwards, you've got to really be on top of things and not let anything slip. I say now because we've got through the hardest part of the year.

It's no coincidence that there have always been festivals at this time of year in Northern Europe and for me, it makes a lot of sense to lighten up the darkest time of the year. The darkest day and 'Blue Monday' have passed though, and we'll soon be seeing signs of spring.

Getting straight on it during the first few weeks of January isn't a great idea, as so many people head out with a bag full of resolutions and it can be quite a shock to the system at such a bleak time of year.

Gyms naturally thin out and diets get abandoned, but we're going to do things differently.

The first thing you need to do is grab a calendar and count out the next 21 days. This will be your focus and you need to make sure you make it happen so it becomes a habit.

The next thing to do is to get a notepad or app and create a food diary. You need to then write down EVERYTHING you eat for the next 21 days.

You should then take some time to remove as many temptations as you can from your home. If there's anything like chocolates or sweets that you just can't throw away, make sure they're well out of sight and out of reach.

Now it's time to think about how you eat, rather than what you eat. Firstly, try to eat at mealtimes only and your food diary should help you do this. 

It also helps if you take a good look at yourself in a mirror before you sit down to eat, or during your meal if you can, and really focus on the things you want to change.

One of the most effective things for me is doing the right things while you eat. If you can, try to eat alone and remove as many distractions as you can. This means no TV, no devices and no reading, as you want to slow down your eating and savour your food.

One of the best techniques I can share with you is mindful eating.

This isn't some weird ritual, it's basically just doing your best to focus on the present moment while you eat and more importantly, the taste and textures of what you're eating. This should naturally help you eat more efficiently and be less hungry afterwards.

It's also essential to weigh yourself every day while you're doing this.

Forget what people tell you about the best times to do this, just make sure you stand on the scales first thing in the morning. In addition to showing you where you are, it will reinforce what you're trying to do and give you critical focus first thing.

That's it for now as I don't want to overload you, but please take a look the through the whole 'Eat to Live' section of the site for plenty more ideas.

This is all fairly easy to put into practice and all you have to to is start. To sum it up simply, you just need to:

  • Count out the next 21 days
  • Create a food diary
  • Remove as many temptations as you can
  • Try to eat at mealtimes only
  • Take a good look at yourself in a mirror
  • Remove as many distractions as you can
  • Focus on the present moment while you eat
  • Weigh yourself every day

It's just 8 simple things, but it should really help you. I hope this works for you and that you soon start to see results.

Good luck and thanks for taking the time to go through this.