Now that Christmas and the season of excess and overindulgence is over for another year, it is back to porridge (and reality). The disruption to routine over the holiday season and all the yummy food and drink that comes with it can be the ruin of anyone’s strict health regimen. With a brand new year comes brand new goals. Here are some top tips to get you back on the straight and narrow in no time.

Set achievable short and long-term goals

Don’t overwhelm yourself with unrealistic and impossible goals. Use the SMART model when setting your goals for the new year. These goals should be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and have a Time frame attached to them. Putting yourself under pressure to look like a supermodel by February isn’t good for your health either. Exercising 3-4 times a week, cutting out refined sugar and decreasing alcohol are all small, achievable goals that will benefit you slowly, but are easier to maintain than trying to commit to exercise every morning at 6 a.m., or banning carbs or alcohol. Write your newfound goals down and stick them somewhere you can see them every day like your fridge or bedroom mirror.

Be kind to yourself

Don’t punish yourself for the treats you indulged in over Christmas. 2018 is a new year, start afresh and focus on today, not what you ate and drank two weeks ago.

Start with a healthy breakfast

A hearty breakfast is the best way to start your day and keep on track with your healthy eating throughout the rest of the day. By skipping breakfast, you will be more tempted to reach for unfavorable snacks before lunchtime hits and nothing will satisfy you.

Stay hydrated

Water is key to getting you back in tip top shape. Essential to almost every organ in the body, it flushes out toxins, carries nutrients to cells and regulates body functions and since the hunger mechanism is stronger than thirst, keeping hydrated will eliminate that false feeling of hunger that has you reaching for a mid-morning snack. Aim to drink at least 4 liters of water a day and if you are exercising, at least another liter on top of what you drank during your workout.

Clear the pantry and fridge

Clear out the pantry and fridge of anything that will tempt you back to the sweeter, saltier dark side and donate to a local food bank. Clearing space in your kitchen will also allow you to fill it back up with healthier options.

Think ahead and prepare your meals

Plan your meals for the week beforehand so you have everything you need in your kitchen and don’t need to do multiple shops throughout the week. Have healthy snacks at reach whether that is at home, in your bag or at work, this will help to sustain you between meals and prevent you from choosing to eat something unhealthy.

Balance your plate

Try and fill half of your plate with fruit and vegetables, a quarter with lean protein and quarter with unrefined carbs and healthy fats. Eating from a smaller plate will also increase your awareness of portion size. Remember to chew your food, this will aid digestion and allow your brain to signal to your stomach that you are full.

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