We’ve all had those weekends- we eat too much, feel bloated, tired, gross (for lack of a better word and yet, that word fits perfectly). I’ve heard and read a lot about detoxing- pills, juices, shakes, etc. I promise, nothing beats good old-fashioned moderate eating and exercise.
Here are some of my tips to not let the negative sway you in the direction of unhealthy choices.
- Stay positive. Always. Health is a progression. I have the body type that will always require me paying attention to what I’m eating, but I’m determined to not hate myself regardless of what shape my body is.
- Rephrase the word “diet.” Especially after heavy eating weekends or vacations, my body craves healthy foods and my mind sets itself on about eating healthier in general. Great, don’t see it as a diet, but a way of life. Mostly, I eat healthy, sometimes I indulge more days than others. Diet is not cutting food groups or counting calories, it’s the way that you eat and it’s not temporary.
- Drink water. Drink it for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Drink it before and after that third cup of coffee. I’ve challenged myself to drink a gallon of water every day for a month-I’m on my second week- and I feel great. I’m less tired, I’m never thirsty, but I always have to pee. Always. Drinking water helps flush out toxins and maintains health inside and out unlike any other exterior substance.
- Drink tea. I drink at least one cup of tea every day. Green tea in particular has huge benefits. I sip on mine, sometimes with honey, lemon, and cinnamon, sometimes plain, every morning after my standard cup of coffee. For an extra spark, add a dash of cayenne pepper as it may help rev the metabolism. To ease digestion and stomach aches, drink peppermint tea. Just trust me on this one. And it’s naturally decaffeinated, so drink it whenever!
- Exercise. Morning, afternoon, or night. Move. Lift weights too, it’s the best.
- Don’t overthink it. In many cultures, food is energy, but it’s also celebration. Indulging is a part of life, it should be a part of your diet. Follow the moderation rule as much as possible, but know that there are days when that isn’t going to happen and it isn’t going to matter. It shouldn’t the next day either.
- Meal prep. Figure out your favorite, veggie-heavy recipe, and have that be your go-to meal for post-weekend (or whenever-day) indulgences. Mornings always call for a hearty bowl of oatmeal with berries, lunches will be a salad or stir fry, and dinners a piece of fish with rice or quinoa and lots of veggies. Basically, eat a lot of veggies, but again, that should be a constant.
- Avoid sugar. I have a dangerous sweet tooth, particularly for chocolate, ice cream, and cookies. I don’t cut them out of my diet, but I try to pay attention to the quality of the treat, as well as the timing. Despite my best efforts, I’ll sometimes feel guilty about eating something, particularly if I feel like I’ve already been bad. Guilt lends to negative connotations surrounding food and eating. Also, the more sugar you eat, the more you want it. Take a break for a day or two to refresh and ensure that whatever sugary (or savory) indulgence you crave is actually enjoyed.
- Eat normally. Breakfast, lunch, dinner, snack, you need energy. Just because you ate too much one day, doesn’t mean you don’t need food the next. Pay attention to what and how much you’re eating, but eat.
- Occupy your mind. Nothing leads to negativity faster than overthinking it. Too often, I get trapped worrying about my eating habits and berating myself for not knowing or doing better. Sometimes, this could lead to “well, I’ll start over tomorrow” or a sense of hopelessness. The more you think about eating and food from that negative lens, the worse you’ll feel. Do something else you love: read, go for a walk, do a crossword, play a game, watch a movie or TV, text someone, browse the internet, write, find a new hobby.