How to Get Your Diet Back on Track After the Holidays

BY SANDRA GUY

If you’ve fallen off the self-discipline wagon and you can’t stand the thought of stepping on a scale, stop beating yourself up.

First, rethink your obsession with weight. Muscle weighs more than fat. And a one-pound bag of popcorn weighs the same as a one-pound gold ingot. Your goal is to stay in shape, just like the solid ingot. It still weighs one pound — it’s just tighter and more compact than the popcorn. Weight is defined as the force of gravity on an object, and may be calculated as the mass times the acceleration of gravity.

Try to maintain that level of objectivity as you must, at some point, step on the scale. Think seriously about fasting, or waiting 15 hours after an early, light dinner before weighing yourself.

Then get busy with a positive outlook.

A key aspect of health — including your mood, your temper and your weight — is getting proper sleep. Any exercise teacher or personal trainer will tell you that it’s a top priority if you’re committed to staying healthy.

Another huge aspect of maintaining — or acquiring — a good habit is to stay positive. Reward yourself mentally for doing 15 minutes of a challenging exercise routine. Set goals. Can you edge up your activity to 20 minutes later in the week? How many days can you go without eating candy? Reward yourself with a long, hot bath or shower — or a soothing session with a facial mask.

If you can’t stand the thought of eating a salad, choose healthy proteins that you can stomach — in moderate portions. Carve out a Sunday afternoon to make a week’s worth of healthy meals, and stick to your schedule. Think creatively about bite-sized versions of meals and snacks comprising Greek yogurt, peanut butter, hard-boiled eggs and fruits and vegetables such as berries, fish, tofu, apples, asparagus, green beans and other healthy options that you can mix and match. See how creative you can be.

While you’re at it, you can start another good habit: De-cluttering your kitchen countertops and getting rid of junk food. Studies have shown that keeping cookies, chips and other artery-clogging foods on your countertops makes those no-no foods more tempting to eat on-the-go. Best bet: Just get rid of them.

This one may seem odd, but turn off outside stimulants such as music and noise from your laptop, computer and TV. Focus on and listen to yourself chewing and enjoying the food. Practice staying aware of enjoying all aspects of food: The smell, the texture, the color, the sheer enjoyment of not wolfing down a meal.

Use smaller plates so that, even if you pile on a few more spoonfuls, it feels sustainable.

Finally, take your journey one day at a time without developing an unhealthy obsession. Make your healthy habits part of activities that you enjoy — dancing, hiking, biking (indoors or out) and creating new recipes.

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