The Christmas holiday season has come and gone for another year, and if you’re like most of us, you got caught up in the reveling and feasting and ate and drank just a bit more than you planned.
No matter how disciplined you may be about your diet and health, it’s hard to avoid over-indulging on egg nog, chocolate, turkey, chicken, and other Christmas menu fixtures.
It should not be surprising that the Christmas season is the time of the year for the highest incidence of heart attacks. The largest spike occurs on Christmas Day, with Boxing Day not far behind (both chronologically and in terms of episodes).
The overload of food combined with the stress leading up to and during holiday events are largely blamed for the increase in coronary incidents.
Yet whether you experience an actual heart attack or not, holiday season indulgence takes its toll on many of us, and leads to weight gain and a general feeling of bloating and tiredness in the days and weeks that follow. Many of us are inspired to take immediate action in the aftermath of the indulgence to recover from the painful effects of gas and bloating, for us and our children, as well as a longer term plan to recover from the overall effects on our bodies.
Repairing the damage, one meal at a time
It can be easy to get caught up in the cycle and continue to eat poorly during the days that follow Christmas, particularly as we often feel exhausted mentally and physically. As such, returning to our old routines, including eating well, can be a challenge.
Exercise during this time also tends to fall by the wayside and take up residence on the list of things we simply don’t have enough time to squeeze in, partly because the weather can be an extra discouragement.
The first necessary step is to break free of that cycle of holiday eating and scheduling as quickly as possible. There’s nothing wrong with indulging for a few days, and you shouldn’t feel bad or guilty about that.
But when the indulgence stretches to a week or beyond, you’re looking at many more weeks to correct it, and that can lead to resignation and less motivation to shift back to a healthy lifestyle.
If you’re still strapped for time, focus on making the easiest, healthiest meals you can for the next week to compensate. They might include oatmeal, salads, and fish. Also concentrate on integrating exercise time in with other activities you may need to do in the days ahead.
Taking those first, difficult steps back from the precipice of indulgence are challenging, but the sooner you take them, the easier they will be.