1. Treat yourself, but have a plan
From going on a trip to getting ice cream with friends, it’s OK to treat yourself. But before you do, it’s always good to have a plan to help you resume healthy eating afterward.
“Decide on at least one nonnegotiable behavior related to your eating habits and stick with it,” says Peisach. “That way, even if you go off track in some ways, you’ll still feel your head is in the game.”
Examples of nonnegotiable behaviors could be eating at least three cups of vegetables each day, avoiding fried foods and setting boundaries around alcohol intake.
2. Stock up on healthy snacks
When trying to return to a healthy routine, it helps to have foods on hand that you won’t feel guilty about eating.
“Go to the grocery store and overload your fridge and cupboards with all the foods you will feel good about indulging in,” says Peisach. “Take it one step further and even start prepping these foods for the week — cut up your fruits and vegetables, make a big pot of bean and vegetable chili, or bake a tray of chicken breasts.”
3. Have an accountability partner
“Telling a loved one about your eating goals helps for those times when you just don’t feel like eating healthfully. You will know that they may be checking up on you, which can help motivate you to stay on track,” says Peisach.
4. Attitude is everything
Sometimes it’s easy to say, “Well, I already ate unhealthy food this week, why stop now?” According to Peisach, that feeling is called “failure syndrome” and it is extremely common. The good news is there is a simple way to prevent yourself from going down that rabbit hole.
“Instead of coming up with excuses, rationalizations or empty promises, just catch yourself and your self-talk. Remember why you want to eat healthfully in the first place. For example, if you eat a croissant for breakfast instead of a bowl of oatmeal, don’t worry; the whole day isn’t ruined. Instead, have a bowl of fruit with the croissant. Prove to yourself that you can still be healthy even when you make less-healthy choices.
Also, instead of focusing on the foods you have to avoid, think instead about all the delicious foods you can eat. Make it fun by challenging yourself to eat five cups of fruits and vegetables every day no matter what. And if you are looking for some healthy ideas, here are some between meal snacks that Peisach recommends:
- Apple slices and 2 tablespoons peanut butter
- Baby carrots and 1/4 cup hummus
- 2 hardboiled eggs and 1/2 cup grapes
- 6 ounces low-fat Greek yogurt and 2 tablespoons slivered almonds