Things were going great, you were losing weight steadily, starting to notice progress. Then, suddenly, summer holidays happened and suddenly the number on the scale started creeping upward.
Sound familiar? Here are three nutritionist approved strategies for getting back on track after a vacation:
Track what you eat.
Keeping a food log helps keep you accountable and achieve long-term weight-loss goals. It can also help you uncover ‘bad’ eating habits like a cheeky afternoon bite of chocolate or lunch time soda.
We know that tracking everything you eat can get a bit tedious, but research shows that it works and it doesn’t have to be forever, just until you’re back in the swing. Commit to at least two weeks of daily food logging and see where it goes from there.
You can go old school and use a pen and paper or you can download one of the many apps available that give you a more in depth look at what you’re eating. They can also help you meet other specific health goals, like lowering your cholesterol or blood pressure, or meeting your protein needs.
Plan your meals.
Plan a week’s worth of meals in advance to keep yourself on track. If you know what you’re eating every day, then you’re less likely to binge on unhealthy snacks or order in a takeaway. After all there’s nothing worse than trying to make a healthy choice when you’re tired and hungry after a long day. Without planning you’ll easily give in to temptation.
Don’t forget to plan in advance; if a recipe requires chopped veggies prep and store them, so they’re waiting in the fridge – easy!
Consider when you eat.
Consider when you’re eating, studies suggest that eating all your meals during the most active part of your day can help you lose body fat without changing your diet. For example, you might eat breakfast later than usual and dinner earlier than usual, then stop eating after 6 p.m.
Don’t let yourself get hungry, try to eat within an hour of waking up and then every two hours after that. Fill your meals with nutrient dense foods and include things you love.
Now that you have three tips to get back on track here are three things to avoid:
Restricting yourself too much.
One of the worst things you can do when you want to start losing weight is to eat nothing or putting a moratorium on all carbs or eliminating whole food groups. It’s unsustainable and leaves you susceptible to uncontrollable cravings. This kind of short-term thinking sets you up for failure in the long term.
Rewarding yourself with food.
Have you ever treated yourself to something decadent after a week of dieting? You tell yourself, “I’ve been good all week. I’ll just treat myself to this ice cream”…stop it.
This kind of thinking fosters an unhealthy relationship with food and can inhibit your progress toward weight loss and health goals. Rewarding yourself is okay but don’t do it with food. Treat yourself to a massage. Or to new clothes. Or to some shiny new electronics. Maybe you could take a day off work and have a “me day”.
Expecting too much.
Getting back into the swing of things isn’t easy, so don’t obsess about it. Try not to fixate on “eating right” all the time, after all, no one is perfect and it’s unrealistic to expect yourself to be. Don’t tell yourself that you’ve ‘failed’ if you have a few potato chips or a piece of candy. Just get back up and move on.
It takes time, you’ll find more success when you’re eating a balanced diet with a few fun foods in small portions than by totally restricting yourself to healthy, healthy, all the time.
Healthy eating is a skill you build over time.
If you need a little kick start to get you back on track why not choose your extra with one of our meal plans. It ticks all the boxes to get you back into the swing of things with none of the effort, stress or mess; just healthy meals delivered to your door every day.Written by Lauren Jacobsen, Nutrition Director