May 25, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

Dear Coach Gila,

Ok, so I gained four pounds between Rosh Hashanah and the first days of Sukkot. It is now Chol Hamoed and I refuse to get back on the scale. It was a combination of the challah and honey, late-night meals, a “taste” of dessert at every meal and just wanting to enjoy the yummy holiday food. But now I hate the feeling of having to start over. I really do. Every time I am in a good place there is a vacation or a holiday that throws me off. I slip back into my bad habits and it takes me weeks to get back on track. It is really depressing to have to start over every single time. Help me!

Over and Over Again

 

Dear Over and Over Again,

The holidays are a great time for us to connect with family and friends, and enjoy good food, rest and relaxation. Although they bring great joy and excitement, with the lack of our usual routine it can be easy to fall back into our old habits.

You may be tempted to go to extreme measures to undo the damage. Don’t give in to the temptation. A super restrictive diet, for most, will ultimately lead to bingeing. Starving yourself will completely backfire.

Eating too little forces your body to switch into conservation mode and burn fewer calories, which means you’re more likely to hang onto body fat. And under eating can cause your body to break down muscle mass for fuel, which also causes a metabolic slowdown. Eating real food in the right quantities and at regular intervals is key.

Get back on track as quickly as possible. Ditch the guilt. So, despite your best intentions, you went a bit overboard. You need to ditch any guilt you feel and stop beating yourself up about it. Feeling guilty about overindulging is wasted energy—spend that energy doing something productive instead.

A new day means a new beginning. Start your post-holiday day off right by eating a balanced breakfast, for example, a vegetable omelet with a side of avocado. Continue your day with healthy snacks and meals; most people need three meals and two snacks.

Pack Snacks. Instead of 100-calorie snack packs, focus on nutrient-dense snacks that contain protein, fiber and fat. For example, an apple with almond butter or a hard-boiled eggs and cut-up vegetables.

Use your crock pot. It is easier to get back on track and stay on track when it is effortless to prep your meals. Make a healthy chili, soup, stew, chicken or other delicious dish in a flash by adding the recipe ingredients to the slow cooker and setting it to “low.” At the end of your long day, you’ll have a mouthwatering meal waiting for you. Yes, it’s that easy.

Build a healthy salad. In an effort to shed pounds quickly, too many people put together a salad that contains very little protein and little to no fat. They end up ravenous and looking for a snack a short time after lunch.

Instead, create a delicious salad filled with fiber, protein and healthful fat to help keep you satiated. To build your salad, start with a leafy green like lettuce or spinach. Top it with lots of vegetables; cucumbers, radishes, bell peppers, mushrooms and tomatoes are all good choices.

Add a protein: tuna salad, hard-boiled eggs, leftover salmon or chicken, and then choose a healthy fat: chopped nuts, seeds, avocado, olives or a serving of salad dressing made with a healthful oil. The fat will help your body absorb nutrients from your salad, so please don’t skip the fat in a misguided effort to get back on track.

Set yourself up for success. Prepare everything the night before. Lay out your workout gear and pack your gym bag. Plan your meals and if possible, have them prepped and waiting for you.

Remember to be kind to yourself as you continue on your journey. Weight loss is seldom a straight line. Focusing on a consistent lifestyle that centers around regular physical activity with the proper mindset and nutrition will ultimately move your body towards its ideal weight. You can do this!

Coach Gila

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