Living a Healthy Lifestyle

Overindulged for the Holidays? How to Reset

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By Henry Ford Health System Staff

If holiday potlucks and parties and the seemingly endless tables of appetizers, buffets and desserts gave you the gifts of stomach distress, weight gain and a general feeling of, “Why did I do that? Again?” don’t let it ruin your New Year.

Maria Conley, a registered dietitian nutritionist with the functional medicine team at Henry Ford, says there’s no reason to despair if you partied and ate like it’s 1999.

“Don’t beat yourself up, give up or feel like a failure. Even if you put on some pounds or feel like you abused your body for a month straight, it’s never too late to reset and start again,” she says.

Instead, let go of the guilt and try these steps to get you on track again:

  • Exhale, reset, remember you have control. Rather than being hard on yourself or continuing on the path of overindulgence, make a plan to eat – and drink – differently. Make it a realistic plan that can be revisited for adjustments as you make progress.
  • Get back to the basics. Is the kitchen stocked with foods that will keep you on track? The key, Conley says, is having healthy foods, including plenty of plant-based options like apples, almonds and pre-cut vegetables, easily accessible to build meals with or to use as grab-and-go snacks. That will help deter you from eating food that will sabotage your goals. Fast food, as well as highly processed and packaged food, increases inflammation, digestive issues, blood sugar spikes, weight gain and more.
  • Choose the right drinks. Eat your calories, don’t drink them. Juice, pop, wine, beer and other spirits (not to mention seasonal favorites like eggnog and hot cocoa) add up to extra empty calories and sugar that don’t provide your body with the fuel or nutrients you need. Water or tea is ideal.
  • Be active throughout the day. Park the car farther away and walk. Always take the stairs. Stand at your desk. Take a walk away from the desk or computer throughout the day. Activity is good for keeping things moving through the GI tract. It’s also a stress reliever and a proven way to stoke creativity.

“Everyone’s goal is different. For many people, it’s about weight. For others, it’s about a healthy heart,” Conley says. “Whatever your goal is, success is attainable if you don’t let the times you slip be a reason to stop trying. Once you find healthier foods that you enjoy and that satisfy you—once you’re willing to break the habit of eating foods you know just aren’t good for you—you will feel better and you will see your health improve.  It’s a process with setbacks and progress. You have to take it one day at a time.”

To make an appointment with a Henry Ford provider to talk about your healthy goals for 2018, visit henryford.com or call 1-800-436-7936.

For recipe videos and more healthy eating ideas and tips, visit our EatWell section and subscribe to receive a weekly email of our latest posts.

Maria Conley, RDN, works with functional medicine patients as part of the Center for Integrative Medicine at Henry Ford Medical Center – Novi.

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