Last month I wrote about how to take a vacation without leaving your health behind. I talked all about indulging within measure and staying active without running to a gym because for most people, going on vacation means eating more and exercising less. And that is totally okay.

However, once you get home, getting back into your health groove can seem overwhelming. You may get on the scale and see a number you don’t like. You may put on a pair of jeans that are a little tighter than they were two weeks ago. You may feel a sense of panic and despair.

If you can relate to this, you are not alone.

That is why I have put together my list of dos and don’ts for getting back into your health groove.

1. Don’t dwell in the guilt.

So you had one too many ice creams. No big deal. Feeling guilty about it won’t burn those calories. If anything, it will keep you from moving on. The key is to change your perspective. Yes, overeating and overindulging may have caused the scale to go up. But that also means that eating the right amounts of the right foods will cause the scale to go back down. (I find that this is a big theme that I talk about a lot with clients.)

2. Don’t start a fad diet.

Wanting to shed weight quickly often causes people to turn to fad diets. But the problem is that most of them are not sustainable. Initially you may lose a lot of weight, but then once you stop the diet, you will likely gain it all back, and then some. This often leads to the undesirable cycle of yo-yo dieting and the perpetual fluctuation of weight.

3. Don’t skip meals.

If you think that skipping breakfast on your first morning back will help jumpstart your post-vacation weight loss, you are going about it all wrong. I am a firm believer that eating breakfast is crucial for a multitude of reasons. But in a nutshell, skipping breakfast will throw off your metabolism and lead to poor food choices and undesirable eating habits. Instead of trying to skip meals, focus on choosing the right things to eat at your meals. I promise, it will be a lot more effective.

4. Do eat a lot of fiber.

So what should you be eating at these meals that you’re not skipping? The trifecta of lean protein, healthy fat, and fiber is always the way to go. But making a concerted effort to pack in the fiber is especially important. For a lot of people, going on vacation often means being less “regular” in the bathroom department. Fiber will help to get you back on your bathroom schedule. It will also help to get rid of that post-vacation bloat that has you feeling weighed down.

5. Do drink a lot of water.

You know that puffy feeling you may have from eating too much salt and drinking too much alcohol? Water is your best friend. It will help flush out and rehydrate your system.

6. Do schedule in some exercise.

The first week back at work is often hectic, and it may seem impossible to get to the gym. But scheduling time to exercise in your calendar will help to keep you from getting into a workout rut. The longer you go without working out, the harder it is to get back into it. So making it a priority when you get back will help prevent that vicious cycle. Even twenty minutes of fitness will suffice.

7. Don’t overthink it.

The biggest piece of advice I can give is to not overthink it. If being healthy is going to be a lifestyle, it can’t be an exhausting endeavor. Yes you may slip up, but how you rebound from that is what is most important. The cycle of feeling guilty for what you ate and then spending days contemplating how you are going to get back on track is no way to live. Having a plan in place, the right mindset, and maybe even a dietitian to help, can help make living a healthy life a no-brainer, as it should be.

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