Enjoying the holidays can include giving ourselves permission to sample the many delicacies on the holiday table and party platters. When January arrives, we often have “eater’s remorse.”

Returning to the gym and healthy eating habits will shed the extra pounds. Just try to avoid falling into the following five common traps identified by Dr. Mary Ellen Moore, a family medicine physician at Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn, Illinois.


  1. Cut out entire food groups. Eliminating a category—all dairy or most carbs—deprives your body of the healthy servings it needs from every food group. In addition, it can increase cravings, Moore says, because then “when you do eat it (accidentally or not), your brain will think the food tastes better than it actually does and potentially lead to binge eating.” Moore suggests reducing your portions of some food groups or finding lower-calorie options within the food category. For example, try a low-fat cheese or whole grain bread.
  2. Go hungry. Excessive hunger can eventually lead to overeating. Instead, have a snack or small meal every two to four hours to keep you full and reduce any urge to overeat.
  3. Change everything at once. Taking small steps, one at a time, tends to create the longest-lasting habits. Gradually add exercise and nutritional changes into your life.
  4. Expect perfection. Whenever you fall off your plan, which we all do, the important thing is to not give up. Forgive yourself and just get back into your new routine.
  5. Sacrifice sleep. In your already busy week, when will you find time for meal-prepping and working out? Give up an hour of TV, social media or even work—anything but sleep. According to Moore, cutting sleep can reduce your impulse control, making it more difficult to resist temptations.

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