By Caroline Mackey, CNP, PTS
Ah, the lazy, hazy days of summer. Vacations, drinks on the patio, ice cream treats… the list goes on of all the ways we let loose that can sometimes also include overindulging in decadent food and drink. Which, as the summer starts to dwindle, can lead to some feelings of regret. Luckily, there’s some easy ways to get back on track and feeling better.
Let Go of Regret
However first off let’s toss those feelings of regret to the curb. Beating yourself up over what’s already happened is never helpful. If it was some occasional extra things here and there, that’s ok that’s life and it should be enjoyed! If you reflect and find it was too much overindulging and now your health is not as great – less energy, poor sleep, weight gain and so on – then use this as a learning experience. Are there some triggers for you that came up that caused you to overeat? Does vacation = excessive eating? Does relaxing = many bottles of wine? Figure out where your habits may be sabotaging you, and work on creating new habits to replace them. Relaxing = a bath, a book; vacation = a hiking adventure, swims in the lake, exploring a new farmers market, etc. Regardless of what happened over the summer, life is too short to live with regrets. Learn from it, and move on! Here’s some easy and effective ways to get back on track:
Set Achievable Goals
Start small not big: This is the most important thing you can do. When we’re feeling off track from making healthy food decisions, the biggest impulse can be to go completely the other way. Restrict your eating, eat super clean, cut out every single food that has a hint of sugar or fat, and so on. The thing is, many studies show that doesn’t work and before long you’ll swing right back the other way. Small changes that build incrementally are best. That can be particularly hard if you are working on losing weight, as I know the focus is on that number on the scale. But again that won’t work long term. So, have patience, start slow and know that this will then stay with you for the long term.
As opposed to take away, start with adding: add more greens to your dinner; add more steps to your day; add more water; add more sleep. These are all small changes that can help you feel immensely better. Overindulging comes with late nights, not enough water, and a lack of the healthy foods and exercise. So, don’t overwhelm yourself by restricting things too much. Start by adding back in healthy habits and the unhealthy ones will start to dwindle.
Importance of Sleep
Work on getting a better night’s rest: unhealthier food choices can disrupt your sleep – blood sugar dysregulation, restless sleep, lack of REM sleep due to digestive distress and so on. Set yourself up for getting the best sleep that you can by doing a few shifts in your nighttime routine: give yourself at least 30 minutes (ideally an hour) away from ALL electronics- yes that means phones too. This will allow melatonin production to happen, giving you a deeper sleep. Do some light stretching for at least 10 minutes before bed, which will allow you to release stress and tension from the body. Once dinner is over, try your best to finish eating for the night. This allows our body time to digest food and do the functions it needs to overnight. If you’re really hungry after dinner focus on a light snack that’s protein and good fats, not carbs. A handful of nuts and seeds would be a good choice. You don’t want to spike your blood sugar right before bed with something carb heavy. (And also review your day – why are you so hungry, did you eat enough throughout the day? What can you change for the next day?).
Don’t do it alone!
Find an accountability buddy: this could be your partner, a friend, a sibling – someone who’s on the same page as you about wanting to make healthier decisions. When you have support, you’re much more likely to make healthy choices and stick with them. Go to a fitness class together, text each other when you’re tempted to get that chocolate in line at the grocery store, support each other when you’re feeling demotivated, and so on. Knowing that you are accountable to someone else helps you to stay on track, and it’s so much better to feel like you’re not doing this alone. Sometimes, the struggle is real, and having support makes a huge difference.
If you need some extra help with your nutrition, health and weight loss goals, I’m here to help! Feel free to book in a free 15 minute consult with me where we can chat and see if you’d like to work together.
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