Once the holidays are over, sometimes the food lingers for weeks…extra candy, cookies, leftover rich Christmas dinners. It’s one thing to indulge for a day or two on Christmas, but it can be hard to get back on track with all that good stuff laying around and tempting you. In fact, before you know it, you’ve been eating not so great for weeks and it’s now a bad habit you have to break.

So, here are a few tips to keep you from overdoing it after the holidays.

1) The Freezer is your Friend. Those cookies and candies? If you can’t bare to throw them away, nearly every one can probably be frozen. Wrap individually and freeze for small, personal “treats” for months, allowing you to have periodic indulgences without binging for days. Most leftover entrees can be frozen too. For example, we have lamb for Christmas dinner; we use the rest of the lamb for lamb stew which can be frozen for easy dinners in the weeks and even months to come.

2) The Trash is your Friend, too. Don’t feel like you “have” to keep all those treats. I know, it can feel wasteful to throw out food, but if that food is basically sugar and crappy fat, then you’re not really “wasting” anything. Think of all the healthy food that junk is displacing. So, instead of worrying about “wasting” food, think about the consequences of “wasting” your health.

3) Get Moving. It’s great to take occasional breaks from exercise. Rest days are a great and essential part of a healthy exercise routine. So, take your rest, enjoy your family and friends, and just let your body take a breather. BUT! Don’t take too long to “get back on the horse”. If you wait too long to get back into your routine, it’s easy for a whole new “routine” to get ingrained. If necessary, ease back into it, but start moving again. Go for a walk with family. Make a post-Christmas date at a yoga class with a friend you weren’t able to see before. Just get your body moving again!

4) Sleep. Although we talk about the holidays being a time for rest and recovery, for most, it’s anything but. We’re often working hard make sure the holidays go off “perfectly”, that our families and friends have a good time, that our kids wake up happy and excited Christmas morning. It can easily become more work than it typically is! Find a way to make sure you give yourself the gift of rest and self-care.

5) Schedule stuff. Scheduling dates with friends, workouts with a girlfriend, a check-in with CoreLife, your regular physical, a coffee-date with someone you haven’t seen in months…any and all of it is a way to slow down, support self-care, and “schedule” things that support your health. It’s easy to say that you’ll do it “someday”…instead, get it on the calendar and make someday today.

Enjoy the holidays. Embrace your family. And remember, taking care of yourself and your health is the best form of self-love.

Aubrey Phelps, MS RDN LDN