While I LOVE the holidays, I also love when they're over. The schedule changes, the travel, the food can all wear you down after a few weeks. Of course, looking back at the last several weeks, I wouldn't trade an ounce of it, but I am very happy that I'm home, that my kids are able to nap in their own cribs at the right time and that the holiday food is quickly disappearing from my kitchen.
This week has been great for "down time" before we really get back into our routines. Of course, I was ill on Monday, but God's grace was sufficient to get me through the day and He blessed me with quick healing! In spite of Monday's sickness, the kids were able to have a pretty normal (short of watching far too much Veggie Tales!) day of being home. Tuesday and Wednesday were normal, non ill days in which we pretty much stayed home. I love days at home because it gives the kids time to enjoy their environments without having to run somewhere.
Of course, the Christmas tree and decorations are still up, but those will most likely come down this weekend. The taking down of holiday decorations is a great time to clean well - especially if you put up a real tree. Ours seems to have left pollen and needles all over the general vicinity. Vacuum, dust, clean windows, etc. in the rooms where your tree (and possibly real greenery) was. It probably left more behind than you think.
Now, on to the topic of food... Most of us probably put on at least a few pounds over the holidays. (I know I did.) It's one of the perils of Thanksgiving and Christmas, not to mention New Year's falling so close together. No one ever complains of gaining weight over the 4th of July or St. Paddy's Day, right? ;) From experience, I've learned that probably 85-90% of the "weight loss battle" is food. Exercise helps, but food is key. It's not so much what you eat as it is how much you eat. Losing weight really isn't that difficult as long as you can identify weaknesses. Here are some tips I've found to be extremely helpful.
*Before you start trying to lose weight, take two or three days and write down everything you eat. I mean everything. This includes that single goldfish you ate while giving your child a snack, that sip of regular soda, that chocolate chip you ate while making cookies...
*Once you've attained a few days documentation, look at your menus. Where are you eating and snacking that you probably don't need to be? You might find that you eat "just one" chocolate about 10 times throughout your day. Or, maybe you're getting most of your unnecessary calories through beverages - how much sugar do you put in your tea or coffee? What about milk - do you drink whole, 1%, skim? Soda, Starbucks, juice... you can probably alter the things you drink to minimize your calorie intake without changing your habits too drastically.
*Next, by looking at your food journal, determine if there are any regular times during the day when you tend to eat without even realizing it. For me, I've gotten into the habit of unnecessary snacking during the kids' nap time. I love my herbal tea w/ a cookie (or two...) or maybe chocolate while I'm working on CBS homework.
*Start measuring out your portions. I know this has been a big issue for me in the past, and when I'm not careful, I lose all sense of what a portion size looks like. Eventually, you'll learn how to naturally serve a true portion, but this can take some work as portions are generally smaller than most people think.
*Eat until satisfied, not until you're full. This is a big one.
*If you feel hungry, drink a glass of water first. You might find that you were really only thirsty. If you were truly hungry, the glass of water certainly won't hurt anything.
*Hunger is not always a bad thing. Usually it takes a few days for your body to realize that you don't need all the holiday junk-food. During those few days you might struggle with feeling hungry a lot. Your body has accustomed itself to eating more than necessary, so it needs time to re-adjust. Drink water. Drink water. Drink water. And, remember that a little hunger is good. It means you will probably see some weight loss at the end of a week. Sure, you don't want to starve yourself, and if you're consistently hungry after a glass or two or three of water, then go ahead and eat something - how about a carefully measured out bowl of cheerios w/ skim milk, or an apple?
Also remember, you don't put on weight over night, so you can't lose it over night. A good rule of thumb is 1-2lbs a week tops.