Simple and Healthy Eating – Getting Back on Track After the Holidays

The holidays can wreak havoc with any simple and healthy eating plan. Not that they would absolutely need to, but – let’s face it – it’s hard to resist all the chocolate, rich desserts, etc., that are associated with the holidays. Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s – they all feel like times when we can just let our culinary guard down and eat what we want to – in the spirit of celebration!

However, your body and budget don’t generally suddenly become more generous and flexible just because it’s a holiday. If it were just the holiday, maybe it would be OK, but who actually eats all the holiday treats only on the holiday? There are still lots of chocolate bars, candy canes, and mixed nuts left over that somebody has to eat, right?

Plan Ahead

So the first step is to plan ahead of time and keep the holiday simple. Do you need every delectable item on the shelf in the dollar store, in the days leading up to the holiday, when you are in the buying mode? Likely not. Plan to have enough treats to satisfy the holiday spirit on the holiday, but not so many that you have a lot left over after the holidays are over. Not so easy, I know; but if you can resist the temptation to buy the holiday food, you won’t have to resist the temptation to eat it all after the holiday is over! Out of sight – or actually non-existent because you didn’t buy it – means out of mind!

How to Get Back to “Normal”

If you do end up with “tons” of food and treats left over, and it’s going to take you a month to eat your way through it all, you may need to be ruthless! The problem is, it probably won’t take a month – you’ll nibble constantly for two or three days, feel miserable, and gain 10 pounds in the process.

Whatever you can give away, that’s always a plus. If the people you are offering the food to – your children, siblings, parents, or friends – are truly wise, they probably won’t take it! It means now they are faced with your problem. But hey, you’re responsible for yourself first and foremost, and sometimes people actually can make good use of your post-holiday leftovers! So it doesn’t hurt to offer.

Another option: be very disciplined, and save your treats – if they will save – for those times when you really could use a little “something” and might otherwise buy it in the store. So let’s say you have some chocolate left over from Christmas. Then just eat a little bit, and hide it away again. Can you do that? If so, good for you! If not – this might not be a great option.

Or ration yourself – one chocolate-covered cherry per day. By the 12th day, all the chocolate all be gone, and any negative impact on your health will be spread out and hopefully thereby ameliorated. Big “if” – but if you can!

Throw It Away

NO! That can’t ever happen! Or can it?

If worst comes to worst, and you know you (and your body) will not be able to handle it while preserving your health, you can simply throw it away. I know this goes against the grain of everything many of us have been taught to think all of our lives. “Think of the poor starving children!” If you know of any poor starving children or have direct access to a charity that knows how to get your leftover chocolate TO the poor, starving children, awesome. But if not, you might have to do the unthinkable.

Does it make any sense to keep food, snacks, etc., in the name of saving money, if you know it will make you miserable or harm your health? I say no.

The best answer would have been to plan better, of course. If you find yourself in this situation, resolve to be wiser next year! Put a note in a reminder list on your cell phone for next year, say around November sometime, so you don’t buy so much next time around! Pin a note to the wall, or whatever it takes!

Discipline Is Never Easy

You can make this a “personal growth” issue. Are you able to take personal responsibility for your own health? Then do whatever is necessary to make it happen!

Like all the “self-help” books say (I assume, though I don’t spend much time reading them), you have to be the one to say “no” at the right time. If you take the path of least resistance, you will never succeed, whether it’s related to your health, your budget, your career, your relationships – or anything you do in life.

But – no preaching; we each have to find the way ourselves, according to the person we are and how important our health is to us.


The background for writing this post is, I’m faced with exactly this scenario right now. It’s the day after Christmas, and there are two containers of chocolate on my desk right beside me! I ate one piece just now at 11:02 am. But I’m determined to eat responsibly over the coming days and preserve my health!

And so can you. Let’s quickly return to “normal.” As the over-used and probably worn-out cliché states: “Your body will thank you.”

If you have any comments about how to get back to “normal” after the holidays, please feel free to share them in the space below!





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1 thought on “Simple and Healthy Eating – Getting Back on Track After the Holidays”

  1. I’ve been enjoying eating a square or 2 of 86% Dark Cocoa.
    Last week I gained 3# on probably the cookies we brought to the truckstop chapel or maybe it was the dinner we had there. 😃 So chocolate works much better.


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