3 Simple Tips to Start Eating Healthy Again

It can be hard transitioning from holiday eating back into eating healthy again in January. That’s because after the holidays you may not have a lot of things going on to look forward to besides eating. You may not have as many parties in January. You may have just gone on vacation in December, so you don’t have any vacations to look forward to. And it’s cold outside (at least it’s cold here in NYC!) so you may not want to go out as much, and then you end up hibernating and eating.

You have time to get bored and eat a lot of junk food or order delivery comfort food like pizza or macaroni & cheese. All of this makes it harder to get back into the habit of eating healthy, so here are 3 tips to help you get back into the habit.

Tip #1  Stop Eating When You Stop Feeling Hungry

Stop eating when you stop feeling hungry, which is not the same thing as when you feel full. If you’re eating until you feel full, you’re probably overeating.

You may have gotten out of the habit of doing this during the holidays or on vacation because there were a lot of new foods or lot of treats to try. And you probably wanted to try everything, and then you ended up overeating, and then you got used to overeating. To get back into the habit of eating healthy remember to stop eating when you stop feeling hungry.

Tip #2 Plan Things to Look Forward to Besides Eating

In January it’s cold outside, so you may not go out as much because you don’t want to be in the cold weather and snow. I know I don’t! So plan other things to do inside, so that in the moment you don’t get bored and end up eating instead. Some ideas for what you could plan instead – find a new board game to get into (this one is fun), binge-watch a show on Netflix, or Marie Kondo organize your house.

Try to plan even the food that you’re going to order for delivery because you may think you’re going to go grocery shopping and get something healthy, but then you end up ordering delivery because it’s too cold outside or snowing. If you plan it in advance, then you can plan to make healthier food delivery choices.

Tip #3 The 7-Day Transition

It’s easy to think that you’re going to go from eating unhealthy the whole month of December and suddenly January 1st you’re going to start eating healthy again. But in reality, it’s hard to make that change dramatically from December 31st to January 1st.

Instead, try a 7-day transition. That can make it easier to start eating healthy again. For example:

  1. Day 1 & 2- Monday & Tuesday: You eat a healthy breakfast and an unhealthy lunch, dinner, and snacks.

  2. Day 3 & 4 – Wednesday & Thursday: You eat a healthy breakfast and lunch and an unhealthy dinner and snacks.

  3. Days 5 & 6 – Friday & Saturday: You eat a healthy breakfast, lunch and dinner and unhealthy snacks.

  4. Day 7 – Sunday: You transition to a healthy breakfast, lunch, dinner and healthy snacks.

The Ideal Healthy Meal

A healthy meal is ideally a meal that is 50% fruits and/or vegetables, 25% healthy proteins, and 25% healthy whole grain carbs. I usually recommend 1 cheat day or 3 cheat meals a week as well, but you can skip it the week you’re trying to get back into the habit of eating healthy.

Transitioning back to eating healthy over a week makes it easier (and less depressing). This also means you have to plan when you’re going out to eat. Try to go to places that actually have fruit & vegetables sides and appetizers, so that you could realistically eat 50% of your meal in fruits & vegetables.

Also, try to avoid your friends who guilt trip or peer pressure you into eating unhealthy in January and February. It’s essential that you get back into the habit of eating healthy as soon as possible at the beginning of the year. Then once you get back into the habit of eating healthy, you can hang out with them for the rest of the year.

P.S. Here’s my previous post on 8 Simple Steps to Make You a Priority This Year.

The Best Way To Lose Holiday Weight

The best option, obviously, is if you don’t put on any holiday weight, but that can be hard if you have a lot of holiday parties or events to go to. The other thing that can be frustrating is that I used to find that if I put on five pounds from Christmas to New Year’s Eve, then sometimes it would take three months or more to lose the weight I put on in just seven days. If that happens to you too, it can be frustrating.

Why Is It So Hard to Lose Holiday Weight?

The reason that happens is that the longer you’re at that new weight after the holidays the more likely it is that your body will reset its baseline to that new weight. For example, if you were 130 pounds before the holidays and 135 pounds after the holidays, the longer you’re at 135 pounds, the more likely it is that your body will make that it’s new baseline weight. It’s person to person dependent how long that takes.

Once your body does that, then your body will want to keep you at that new baseline weight and then the holiday weight will become much harder to lose. So ideally you should lose the holiday weight you put on from Christmas to New Year’s Eve in January, that’s the easiest time to lose it because your body hasn’t reset its baseline weight to be that new weight yet.

What Can You Do?

The two ways I recommend that you lose holiday weight is calorie restriction or intermittent fasting, although I don’t usually recommend these options long term. They can both be good options for short-term weight loss for the weight you’ve just put on during the holidays or a vacation. If fasting or calorie restriction makes you feel dizzy or weak, or if you have other medical problems, then you shouldn’t try it, it’s not for everyone.

The reason I don’t recommend these options long term is that once your body gets used to the lesser calories or fasting usually your weight loss will plateau. You can only calorie restrict or fast to a certain point before you’re basically starving yourself and that’s not healthy for you. The other problem is that when you’re not eating enough food, you may not get enough nutrients, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that will help prevent other long-term diseases like cancer.

How to Try Post-Holiday Intermittent Fasting

The first option is post-holiday intermittent fasting. I recommend you do it from January 1st to January 14th, fast for one meal a day, so you eat two meals a day. Personally, I don’t like fasting, I always look forward to eating all day. But if you’re able to fast, a lot of people find it easiest to fast for breakfast because they’re busy at work or running late in the morning. Fast for whichever meal you think you will miss the least during the day.

Fast for one meal a day, and don’t have any cheat meals for the two weeks you’re fasting. Normally I recommend three cheat meals per week, but you probably had a lot of extra cheat meals during the holidays, so no cheat meals from January 1st to 14th to offset the extra food you ate during the holidays.

How To Try Post-Holiday Calorie Restriction

The second option is post-holiday calorie restriction. You don’t need a calorie counter, you can guesstimate it, it doesn’t have to be exact. This is what I’ve done in the past when I put on holiday weight. You should do it from January 1st to 14th, no cheat meals during those two weeks. You may have to start planning now, so you don’t have a lot of brunches, dinners, etc. to go to from January 1st to 14th to make it easier to not have cheat meals.

You should have 25% less food per meal than you normally would. These are the usual healthy meals that you’re eating. For example, if you normally eat two eggs for breakfast, then you’d have one and a half eggs. If you normally have a salad for lunch then you’d have 75% of the salad. You may end up throwing away some food, but you’re not doing this long term. You’re just doing it for two weeks, and if you’re able to get back to your pre-holiday weight, then it’s going to be worth it.

Short-Term Weight Loss

Assuming you did your extra holiday eating from Christmas to New Year’s Eve, then this two-week plan should work to help you lose the weight you put on during that one week. Even if it works, I don’t recommend you continue to this long term. Again, it’s not the healthiest option long term because you may not be eating enough food to get all the benefits of a well-balanced diet, and also your weight loss will eventually plateau. It’s a good option for short-term weight loss to lose weight you’ve recently put on.

If you do try it, let me know how it works out, I’d love to hear about it!

P.S. Here’s my recent review of the Apple Watch ECG.

Does Cryotherapy Work for Weight Loss?

Recently I heard about cryotherapy for weight loss and I wanted to find out more about it. Basically, it involves submerging your body in subzero degree temperatures for up to a few minutes. It’s similar to a sauna type situation but instead of hot air, it’s cold air. It’s kind of like being in the movie Frozen. This doesn’t sound like fun to me. I don’t like being cold.

Does Cryotherapy Work for Weight Loss?

On researching it I couldn’t find any medical research that doing this could actually help you lose weight. It could help you with other things like recovering from sports injuries. I wondered where the idea even came from, that it would help you lose weight.

There is some medical data that shows colder temperatures, not subzero temperatures, more like 60 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit for an extended period of time, at least a couple of hours, can help you burn more energy. This is because your body will recruit and activate something called brown and beige (adipose) fat cells that burn more energy and that could potentially help you lose weight.

What Should You Do?

I think changing the way you eat is the best way to try to lose weight. However, if you want to try it, you can try changing the temperature in your apartment or house to 60 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit while you sleep at night or for at least 2 hours during the day. Try it for a few months and see if it helps you lose weight. You shouldn’t then put on extra layers, blankets, or a puffer coat, you actually have to feel cold to get the potential benefits.

 

What You Shouldn’t Do

This also doesn’t mean you should go outside in the middle of winter without a jacket on to try to lose weight. Because if you get too cold you’re at risk for hypothermia and frostbite and it can also negatively affect your blood pressure and heart rate. Being at very cold temperatures can be dangerous for you, these studies were done at mildly cold temperatures, 60-70 degrees Fahrenheit. So you could try setting your thermostat to 60-70 degrees Fahrenheit for a couple of hours every day to try to help you lose weight.

P.S. Are you traveling with someone who has high blood pressure for the holidays? Check out my travel tips here.

Peanut Butter Alternatives For Weight Loss

It’s easy to go to the grocery store and get overwhelmed by all the options, and then end up picking what you always do. One thing to consider next time you’re at the grocery store is changing from peanut butter to almond butter or cashew butter. This could help you lose weight.

Almond Butter and Cashew Butter

Peanut butter has both healthy and unhealthy fats in it. If you’re eating peanut butter every day, almond butter could be a better option to help you lose weight. Of the three, almond butter has the highest amount of healthy fats and the lowest amount of unhealthy fats. Lowering your unhealthy fat intake can help you lose weight. Cashew butter falls in the middle of the two for weight loss.

Should You Switch from Peanut Butter?

Peanut butter does have the highest amount of unhealthy fats of the three. However, peanut butter also usually has more protein than the other two. If you need more protein in your diet than peanut butter is your best option. For everyone else, almond butter is usually the best option.

Peanut Butter versus Regular Butter

All three nut butters are relatively healthy versus regular butter. So if you eat a lot of toast and butter, then it’s healthier to switch to toast with any of the three nut butters. The other thing to watch out for is added sugar. You don’t really need sugar in your peanut butter or any type of butter, so that’s something to check the label for.

Should You Eat Any Type of Butter?

You might wonder if you should just take peanut butter out of your diet altogether instead of switching to almond butter. You shouldn’t because studies have shown that people who don’t get at least a minimal amount of unhealthy fat in their diet could be at an increased risk of stroke. The reason for this is not completely clear yet. Like many things in life, the best option here is moderation as science shows there is such a thing as too much unhealthy fat as well as too little unhealthy fat in your diet.

P.S. Wondering if you should eat before your morning workout? Check out my review here.

Is Cheese Good For You? Dairy Cheese Alternatives

A few months ago I tried cashew cheese for the first time, and it’s definitely an acquired taste. That brings up the question is it even worth acquiring the taste? How healthy is dairy cheese for you? Will switching to a nondairy cheese help you lose weight?


Will Switching Cheeses Help You Lose Weight?

That depends on how much dairy cheese you’re eating per day. If you’re eating one serving or less switching is probably not going to make that much of a difference.  If you’re eating more than one serving of dairy cheese a day, then that’s a reason to consider switching to nondairy alternatives.

Dairy cheese is a good source of calcium and protein, but it also has unhealthy fat in it. Too much unhealthy fat can cause you to gain weight, make it harder for you to lose weight, and can lead you to develop cardiovascular disease long term. So those are the reasons to consider switching.

Nut Milk Cheeses

The most common alternatives I usually see are nut milk cheeses, for example, almond cheese or cashew cheese. It’s definitely an acquired taste, but it does have less unhealthy fat than dairy cheese. Usually, nut milk cheeses have an equal amount of protein as dairy cheeses. The amount of protein in one slice or one ounce of nut milk cheese should be about 5-10 grams, that would make it roughly equal to the amount in dairy cheese.

Nut milk cheeses do have less calcium than dairy milk cheeses, so you would need to find alternate sources of calcium in your diet. The easiest option for calcium is green leafy vegetables like kale or spinach. If you’re eating a lot of salads, then you’re probably getting enough calcium in your diet.

Oat Milk and Coconut Milk Cheeses

Other common options I see are oat milk cheeses and coconut milk cheeses. Of the ones I’ve seen so far, they don’t have as good of a nutritional profile as nut milk cheeses. From what I’ve seen they have less protein and less calcium than dairy milk cheese, although they also have less unhealthy fat.

What Should You Do?

So if you’re switching to a nondairy cheese, I recommend nut milk cheeses over oat milk cheeses and coconut milk cheeses because they do have less unhealthy fat and an equal amount of protein when compared to dairy milk cheeses.

Foods with healthy protein can help you feel fuller when you eat, and will also help you maintain muscle when you’re losing weight. Again eating less unhealthy fat has many benefits including helping you lose weight.

P.S.  Here’s the YouTube version of this post.

 

Halloween Healthy Eating Tips

It’s that time of year again. I always find it the hardest to eat healthy around this time of year because from Halloween to New Year’s Eve it’s a lot of parties and get togethers and a lot of yummy unhealthy food.

It’s easy to say “Don’t eat that Halloween candy, eat fruits and vegetables instead”, but it’s harder actually to do it. My Halloween favorite is candy corn, so I know how hard it is to resist. Here are some Halloween tips for eating healthier.

Photo by Element5 Digital on Unsplash

How to Eat at Halloween Get Togethers

Usually at Halloween get togethers there are a lot of baked goods like pumpkin pie that you only eat at this time of the year or candies like candy corn that you really only eat at Halloween that you may really enjoy eating. I recommend you count this as a cheat meal, I usually recommend three cheat meals a week.

Again, a cheat meal means a meal with a higher amount of sugar, unhealthy carbs, and/or unhealthy fats. That doesn’t mean you should go crazy and eat everything. If you get one plate of food including cookies, cupcakes, etc. that counts as one cheat meal. So if you eat two to three plates of cupcakes, pie, candy, etc. at one Halloween get together you may end up eating all three cheat meals for the week at one event.

Photo by sumaia alzadjali on Unsplash

What To Do If Your Coworkers Keep Offering You Halloween Treats

If you have coworkers who are bringing in sweet treats or their kids’ leftover Halloween candy every day around Halloween you may have to tell people you’re trying to eat healthySometimes it’s not comfortable to tell people you’re trying to lose weight, so try telling people you’re trying to eat healthier for another reason.

Some other reasons people say no to candy or extra sugar include that some people find that eating extra sugar gives them digestive issues, some people feel like it makes their skin break out, and other people feel like it makes them feel more tired or like they have less energy. You could even say you’re doing a 30 day Halloween challenge that involves you not eating any Halloween candy.

There are a lot of health benefits to eating less candy besides losing weight. Hopefully, your coworkers will then stop offering you candy, so you won’t have to keep utilizing your willpower to say no.

Photo by Damien Creatz on Unsplash

Halloween Candy at Your House

You may have leftover candy from what you were giving out to trick or treaters, or your kids may have brought home a lot of candy when they went trick or treating. A good option is to donate the extra candy at your house. If there isn’t very much candy at your house you won’t have to worry about you eating all the extra candy.

There are a number of organizations that will take leftover candy donations at this time of the year. Also, your dentist’s office may take leftover candy because they want you to have healthy teeth. Your pediatrician’s office may be collecting leftover candy donations because they want your kids to eat healthy.

Also, it’s something to consider because it can help your kids form healthy eating habits too. Not that they shouldn’t eat any candy, but usually the amount of candy most kids get at Halloween is extra, so they could keep a small amount of the candy they get and donate the rest. This will help them start making healthy eating habits as a child, so it will be easier for them to eat healthy as an adult.

Photo by Dane Deaner on Unsplash

P.S. Here’s the YouTube version of this post. Also, if you’ve ever thought about trying collagen supplements, here’s my review of the current data.

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