Now that Easter has come and gone, most of us (myself included) are waking up today a bit further off track from our fitness and diet goals than we were a few short days before.
While holidays make for some of the best times of the year, they also can be quite destructive for those of us trying to stay fit.
Even when I go into holidays with the best intentions, I usually venture far away from my diet. It’s next to impossible to avoid all the great food you rarely get to eat.
You shouldn’t have to miss out every holiday on all the food you want to eat because you are worried about blowing your diet.
These are occasions to celebrate and life should not be so restrictive. Is there anything sadder than watching someone try to diet through the holidays?
One day of enjoying yourself should not be something that you fear or feel guilty about. It should be something that you look forward to!
That being said, it’s a slippery slope and the problem is that people let one day turn into weeks and months of enjoying themselves.
The problem with holidays is that they tend to throw us off track so easily and quickly that we don’t even notice it until weeks and pounds later.
The secret is to figure out how to get back on track immediately after the holiday celebration is over. Once you can learn to do this, holidays will not be something you fear when it comes to your diet.
After going so far off track many times after holiday celebrations over the years, I’ve narrowed down 6 tips to get back on track that help me minimize the damage and get back to my normal routine.
# 1-Hydrate the next day
The funny thing I’ve found is that getting back on track the day after a holiday binge fest is kind of like getting rid of a hangover.
If you have eaten like a champion during your holiday meal, you likely will wake up the next day feeling hungover. If you eat healthy most of the year, you will notice that your body does not like to go back to eating junk.
When you eat foods and desserts that your body is not used to, it starts to rebel against you. Headache, stomachache, dry mouth, nausea. These are all things I’ve felt the day after a holiday when I went to town eating.
The type of food you eat during the holidays is likely to include a ton of salt and sodium. That’s one of the biggest things I notice. I will wake up in the middle of the night with a dry mouth feeling hungover.
By the time I get up the next day, I feel completely dehydrated. All the salt from the rich holiday food has taken its toll. If you did actually drink alcohol, then you will be even more dehydrated.
Just like you would after a night of drinking, you should immediately wake up the day after a holiday and begin to hydrate yourself.
I found that I need a minimum of a liter of water before some of the symptoms begin to improve. If I can stomach more than I will drink more. An electrolyte supplement is also something I will take.
I make sure to keep drinking water consistently, at least throughout the morning of the next day. It makes a huge difference and goes to work flushing the junk of your system.
# 2- Workout
This can be a hard one to put into practice, but it probably makes more of a difference in helping you feel better immediately than anything else on this list.
When you wake up the day after a holiday feeling completely stuffed and sluggish, the last thing you want to do is workout. It can be hard to get up and moving.
Getting your body moving any time you are feeling off will cause a big difference in how you feel physically and mentally.
The last thing you want to do is sit around and feel sorry for yourself. You don’t have to go to the gym and hammer your legs for two hours, but you should get moving.
One of the best things to do is go for a walk. It’s something easy that won’t require a ton of effort however, it will get your body and mind moving.
Some other good options would be stretching, yoga or some light calisthenics. I am not a huge fan of hammering it the day after a holiday, but I know that works for some.
Realize that your workout probably won’t be life changing the day after a holiday, but the goal is just to start feeling better so you can get back on track as fast as possible.
# 3- Fast
This is something that I have been doing after the last few major holidays and I have found it to be extremely helpful.
The next day after a holiday, your stomach is still full of all the junk you ate the day before. Your body is doing its best to digest it, but it’s probably struggling.
The last thing you want to do is stuff more food down your throat. Your body is already having a hard time with the food it’s not used to digesting.
The day after a holiday, I will typically fast for as long as possible. Even though I usually get cravings for all the food I ate the day before, I know that my body doesn’t really want it. It’s a trick. Don’t let it get you.
I typically fast late into the afternoon or early evening the day after a holiday. This gives my body and metabolism a break while also getting my body used to the immediate reduction in calories.
The cravings that come within the first and second day after the holidays are the hardest to beat, which is why I beat them as fast as possible.
Fasting will help you get over the cravings quickly so that you can return to your normal diet with the least amount of effort possible.
# 4- Get back on your diet
The longer you stay off of your diet after a holiday, the more at risk you are putting yourself at for staying off track for an extended period.
The day after a holiday is the hardest and easiest time to get back to your diet. I know that sounds a little odd so allow me to explain.
It’s the most difficult because your body is craving the high calorie and fat-laden food your stuffed into your pie hole the day before. It wants to keep eating it. It’s scary how fast your body begins to crave unhealthy food.
It’s easy because you are only a few days at most removed from following your usual diet. Perhaps you went off of it for a day or two however, it’s fresh in your mind and body.
The longer you put off getting back on your normal diet the harder it’s going to be, which is why the best thing you can do is to get back on your diet the next day.
It will suck for the first day or two, but it will be nothing compared to trying to get back onto the diet weeks after your binge.
It’s important both physically and mentally to get back onto it. You have to build the discipline to be able to go right back on the diet after every holiday.
Once you develop that discipline, holidays will no longer be a big problem for you. They will be something that you can enjoy knowing you have the strength to go back to your diet once it’s over.
# 5- Get rid of the food
One of the most destructive things you can do if you want to get back to your diet immediately is have a house full of holiday food.
Even someone with strong discipline will have a hard time staying away from it. A bite here and bite there begins to add up. It will make it so much more difficult to get back on track.
After holidays, I do whatever I can to get rid of all the bad food. We try to give as much of it away to our guests when they leave. I beg them to take as much as possible.
If we can’t give it all away, then my wife or I will bring the rest of it to work the next day. If your place of work is anything like ours, people will eat anything you leave out on the break room table.
If we can’t get rid of it all through the first two methods, the last thing we will do is just throw it away. It sucks to see all the delicious food thrown away and wasted, but it’s what has to be done.
Do whatever you can to get the food and desserts of your house at all costs. Hopefully there were a few healthy options that you can hold on to and mix into your normal diet so that it’s not all waste.
# 6- Don’t feel guilty
Once you have done everything else that you can on this list to get back on the track, the last thing is to avoid feeling guilty. It’s something that I still struggle with.
When you are into fitness and eating healthy, it can be really difficult to get away from that. It’s probably not the healthiest thing mentally, but either is eating garbage.
Once you have done everything else to get back on track and minimize the damage you have done, eliminate the guilt.
Just accept that you cannot always be perfect in life. You only pass this way once (maybe) so you might as well enjoy it as much as you physically can.
Trying to diet while everything else is stuffing their face during a holiday celebration is not fun. It’s depressing and makes you look like a screwball.
I’m not saying that you have to go crazy but let your hair down a bit. Just tell yourself that you will go right back to your usual lifestyle as soon as the holiday is over, and you’ll be fine.
Enjoy your life
Don’t become one of these people that become so restrictive with their diet and lifestyle that you get zero enjoyment or pleasure out of life.
That being said, don’t let a day of fun and eating turn into weeks of it. I see so many people do this, and they are constantly going in circles working against themselves.
Here in America, we are always celebrating something. It’s rare that a holiday hasn’t just passed or isn’t quickly approaching. The trick is to find the balance with being able to enjoy them while being able to stay on track with your healthy lifestyle.
One day of eating here and there will not derail you as long as you stick to these tips to get back on track as fast as possible.
With some practice, it will get easier. I promise!
Thanks for reading,
P.S. How do you get back on track with your health and fitness goals after a holiday? I’d love to hear below!