After a holiday full of ice cream, pizza and fries, it is often difficult to switch back to a healthy (er) eating rhythm. How do you ensure that you do not gain pounds on holiday and in the period thereafter? Especially when the summer weather, with all the associated barbecues and drinks, is still in full swing?

Dietary psychologist Heleen Ligtelijn recommends taking a first step before the holiday. If you don't release all the brakes on vacation, you will also find it much easier to get into a healthy diet after returning home. "Remember: what do you actually want to do with that food on holiday? Continuing your eating habits from home is of course not realistic, so allow yourself some extras on a regular basis. But don't think: I'm on vacation, so everything is allowed."

"Don't think I'm on vacation, so everything is allowed" Heleen Ligtelijn, diet psychologist

Keep it special

Choose the tasty things that really add to the holiday joy, advises Ligtelijn, author of the book Op diet? Do it normally . "So don't just open the first Fruitella rolls as soon as you get in the car to France. And don't go eat cake at 11 am 'because it is vacation'. Then you are going to associate food with non-special situations."

Keeping good food and snacking 'special' is the trick for a normal eating pattern, according to Ligtelijn, and with it the trick to eat healthy again after the holidays. "If you maintain that as a rule you only eat something extra at special times, you may do it a little more often on holiday, but you can easily pick up the normal rhythm again at home."

Determine in advance when you will snack

Special moments, for example, drinks, birthdays and treating colleagues. But in the tail end of the summer there are often a lot of barbecues, spontaneous meals on the beach or office managers who come with ice cream. What if you have unhealthy many such 'special situations'?

"There is no golden rule for how much you can or cannot eat, but try to make clear choices for yourself. You cannot say yes to everything. What are really reasons to color outside the lines? Maybe that ice cream is yours colleague not as important as the high tea with your best friend. Determine that in advance and look in your diary what a yes or a no is, so that you do not always have to compete with yourself when the time comes. "

Do's and don'ts

  • Make sure you keep good food and snacks 'special', also on vacation.
  • Determine in the morning in which situations you will or will not snack.
  • Have you decided not to cut at a certain moment? As far as possible, keep the snack offer out of sight. Sit on a terrace with your back to the ice cream parlor, or stay away from the cake buffet at a party.
  • Put healthy products in the freezer for the first day after the holiday.

Think about the day (s) after returning home

That preparation, so the literal planning of (un) healthy moments, can also help to make a flying start immediately after returning home. "Don't get stuck in that Spain setting, but plan a sports lesson for the day after your return, and make sure there are groceries at home that you can use to prepare your standard breakfast. Then you make use of the healthy associations that your brain still has instead of creating confusion by making an unhealthy choice at an ordinary moment. "

Incidentally, Ligtelijn advises not to go on a crash diet just before a vacation to appear extra tight in the swimsuit. "If you do that, you risk the ' what the hell effect' once on holiday: then you let yourself go completely, those lost kilos arrive again and you make it even more difficult for yourself after returning home." In short: does it underline the credo of summer bodies being made in the winter ? "Well, that's a bit too rosy", says Ligtelijn, who is a fierce opponent of the (crash) diet.

In her practice she notices that the 'snack only at special moments' rule can also help to lose weight (slowly). "If you start with that now, you will start growing your summer body for next year."