Recovering From Holiday Eating

Registered Dietitial Melanie Douglass shows us how to revoer from the foods you’ve been eating the last month.


1. Don’t be an “all-or-none” thinker! The best thing to do is think “I can have a fresh start at any moment I choose” and stop overeating right now—it doesn’t matter if it’s breakfast, lunch or an evening snack. People often think, “oh, I already ate too much, so I might as well eat what I want and start again tomorrow”. This kind of thinking is very detrimental to your health! It can add thousands of calories to your day… and your waistline. Simply choosing one healthier meal or snack saves hundreds of calories… and if you can do that for 2 out of 3 meals, or even 1 out of 3 meals, then the savings really add up. Every little effort you make counts! Check this out:

Both Person A & B start their day out with a filling holiday breakfast: French toast, eggs, hash browns, a few slices of bacon, and a glass of orange juice. There goes 1100 calories. Yikes. Person A says, “okay, now I’m going to eat healthy the rest of the day to make up for it and balance that choice out”. Person B says “forget it! I just blew it, so I might as well eat what I want for the rest of the day”. That one choice just added 2725 extra calories to Person B’s day—that’s about ¾ of a pound of body weight, added over just a few meals!

Person A Calories Person B Calories
French Toast Breakfast 1100 French Toast Breakfast 1100
Apple 100 Pie
ala mode
Sandwich 300 Burger
and Fries
Carrots 25
Pomegranate 100 Peanut
Salad 50 Pizza 600
250 Breadsticks 300
90 Carrots
and Dip
Total 2015 Total 4740

2. Eat a meal or snack that is high in soluble fiber and packed with phytonutrients. A perfect example of this would be:

– ½ cup oatmeal sprinkled with 2 Tbsp. ground flaxseed

– 1 medium orange

3. Rid your environment of foods that tempt you to overeat. People have a hard time throwing away perfectly good food, but really think about the logic. If it comes down to the food being in the garbage or inside your body, isn’t it better to eliminate the burden of having to deal with insidious calories and fat?

4. Skip dinner, or at least the habitual evening snack. After overeating, it’s always good to skip a meal to get yourself back on track. Don’t skip breakfast; it’s an important meal that gets your metabolism going for the day. Skip dinner—because all you’re going to do is go to bed anyway (and barely move a muscle).

5. Think tough. When it comes down to it, controlling what goes in and out of your mouth is all about willpower. Here are a few thoughts that will help you toughen up and find that much-needed willpower to get back on track;

– Just because you are hungry does not mean you are going to starve! Feelings of hunger do not mean you need instant nourishment—in fact, after overeating, you’ve got PLENTY of energy stores sitting around waiting to be used.

– You are the boss of food! You control food and it does not control you. You don’t have to eat anything. If food is tempting you, move away from it, throw it away, give it to somebody who can afford the calories, or hide it for another day.

– Tell yourself “I’ve had my share”. Sometimes food is like a vacation—we live it up and then dread going home or back to “real life”. A splurge of overeating—like the holidays—can be like that as well. After giving yourself the freedom to overeat and eat freely, the best thing you can say “Okay, I had my fun, it’s time to get back on track” or “I can no longer use the excuse of ‘I haven’t had a treat in a long time’… I refuse to keep telling myself that lie”.

Have a health question for Melanie? Click here to submit your question and Melanie will answer your question on an upcoming Studio 5 segment!


By Melanie Douglass, R.D., NASM

Author: Tip-a-Day Guide to Healthy Living

(Deseret Book, 2007)

© 2007 Melanie Douglass, Deseret Book

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