Whether it's Black Friday or the Monday after a weekend of holiday fun, taking 24 hours to do a little postbinge damage control is essential if you want to make it to January 1 with your waistline-and sanity-intact.
This 1-day plan will help undo some of the calorie overload and give you the energy you need to power through the stress season-and the positive mantras work wonders for blew-my-diet guilt, to boot. Here's an hour-by-hour breakdown:
Do this: Give yourself a break
Like many women, you may have woken up feeling fat, bloated, and mad at yourself for overdoing it while celebrating the holidays.
"The first thing I would tell people is not to be your own worst enemy-not to be supercritical," says clinical psychologist Nancy Molitor, PhD, public education coordinator for the American Psychological Association. "When you turn on yourself, it's not the food, it's you that you're battling. Admit you overdid it and be honest, but recognize that you're human."
Positive mantra: Yesterday was a challenging day. I can make a fresh start.
Do this: Fix a healthy morning meal
Whatever you do, don't skip breakfast because that could set you up for overeating later in the day, says Andrea Spivack, RD, LDN, medical nutrition therapist at the Stunkard Weight Management Program at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine.
A filling, well-balanced breakfast like this one has only 407 calories:
1. Pour 1 c Kashi Go-Lean cereal into a bowl.
2. Top with 1 c blueberries (frozen are just as good as fresh).
3. Sprinkle with 2 Tbsp walnuts.
4. Add 1 c low-fat or fat-free milk.
Do this: Aim to lose 1 pound in the next week.
Now that your day is under way, you may be telling yourself, I need to drop a few pounds, so I'll watch what I eat this week. But a general wish isn't likely to give you the results you desire. Molitor recommends setting a reasonable, concrete goal and creating a plan that will help you reach it. To do that you'll have to reduce your daily calorie intake by 200 to 300 calories and burn off 200 to 300 calories a day, for an average weekly deficit of 3,500 calories. If you usually exercise 3 days a week, add an extra day. If you're not a regular exerciser, then try to walk for at least 5 minutes 3 times a day to start. It's okay to start small; any little movement adds up to calories burned.
Positive mantra: I'll take this one day at a time.
Do this: Eat a lunch packed with feel-full veggies and satisfying protein.
Do this: Log your calories in a journal or online diary
Starting a food diary is a research-proven weight loss technique. If you've never kept a food journal before, click on the link below to try Prevention's free My Health Tracker tool and start logging food calories and portions. If you have tracked calories before, start again to see just what you're eating and how much.
Positive mantra: I overate for a day or two and am getting back to my healthier habits.
Do this: Keep hunger under control. You might be feeling midafternoon hunger pangs and eyeing that leftover pumpkin pie in the fridge. Before you reach for a slice, take a deep breath and assess what your body needs. Drink a glass of water and wait about 10 minutes to determine if you are truly hungry. It's easy to mistake hunger for thirst, notes Dee Sandquist, RD, a spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association.
Day 1: 6:30 PM
A healthy dinner doesn't mean you have to slave in the kitchen for hours. Try a personal pizza made with a whole wheat pita, chopped tomatoes, and part-skim mozzarella-it's ready in less than 10 minutes.
Do this: Go for a postdinner walk: If you didn't get any exercise today, go for a 10-minute walk after dinner. Walking after eating can help relieve belly bloat.
Do this: Brush your teeth to avoid temptation. This can be a dangerous time for late-night snackers who reach for food out of boredom, emotion, or exhaustion. You can avoid the temptation altogether by brushing your teeth and hitting the sack! And be sure to get at least 7 hours of sleep. Getting enough shut-eye is one of the best things you can do to get back on track after overeating, says Sandquist. Research shows there are links between inadequate sleep and obesity. A study from Case Western Reserve University of about 68,000 middle-age women found that those who slept 5 or fewer hours were 32% more likely to experience major weight gain, and 15% more likely to become obese, than those who slept an average of 7 hours.
Positive mantra: I'm committing to taking care of myself and my health-I'm worth it!
More ways to stay slim from Prevention
[photo credit: Getty Images]
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