Time to hit reset button on diet, exercise routines

JILL KOEGEL

It's time to start over, hit the reset button and get motivated. If December and holiday eating were a disaster, remember: That was then, and this is now. Since it doesn't always feel that simple, here are some ways to undo the damage so you can get going with your resolutions.

If you had a sugar frenzy

Take the start of this new season to cleanse yourself of added sugars. Delete all of the sugar in packaged and baked goods, but eat plenty of natural sugar from fruit and dairy products. If you start simple by avoiding the obvious sweets, you will be able to limit the side effects that go along with avoiding every last gram of sugar, such as headaches, grumpy moods and fatigue. Get rid of the leftover cookies, and trash the candy left in any of your stashes.

An overdose of cheer

Many people can avoid alcohol until they have a series of parties and family gatherings, and the alcohol habit that results can really pack on the pounds. Clearing out the fridge and putting hard alcohol away can reduce the visible temptation. Choose to drink water when out to eat and, at the very least, toss the eggnog, half empty bottles of wine and any heavy mixers you might have left over.

You stretched your stomach

Or so you think. It seems like all of the big meals have left you hungry, and in a pattern of grabbing for seconds. The good news is you can get back to your old routines. Try eating smaller meals, spaced about three or four hours apart. Eat at least 20 grams of protein per meal or snack.

Stop eating after dinner. The after-dinner cravings and bedtime hunger will last only a day or two, and your stomach will "shrink" back to its original size.

The television took over your workout priority

For the couch potatoes, this is a tough one, especially now that the weather is colder and less inviting. If you can't join a gym, try visiting a drop-in facility for a yoga or group fitness class. You may find some extra motivation in the group setting. If not, set a rule to sit less than one hour at a time, or a rule that workouts have to be done before catching up on sports or your favorite shows.

Routines are out of whack

This happens to almost everyone this time of year. Getting too much or not enough rest, not planning meals and having extra people in the house can lead to inconsistent routines, eating out and fatigue. Make the most difficult thing your first priority. If lack of planning leads to eating out, your first goal should be to make a grocery list based on what you plan to eat for the week ahead. If your habit of sleeping in has messed with your morning workouts, ease your way back by setting the alarm a few minutes earlier each day, with shorter workouts until you are back to your normal wakeup time.

Leave the guilt behind, keep the memories of all the fun and move on to a new season. Most people need a start-over button after the holidays, and the key to cleaning up the mess is determining what the greatest lifestyle "crisis" is. Prioritizing that goal and planning ahead to change unhealthy patterns will help get healthy routines back in place.

Jill Koegel is a sports-certified registered dietitian, certified personal trainer and a registered yoga instructor teaching in Omaha. Jill writes weekly for livewellnebraska.com.

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