After enjoying a Thanksgiving feast, or in some cases, feasts, it’s time to get back to clean and healthy eating. If you are like me and many of my friends, the past week may have gone like this:

Saturday & Sunday: Cleaning my house manically so it will pass the white glove test. We all have that aunt, mom or mother-in-law that just seems to be walking around your house looking for a speck of dirt while you’re busy, elbow deep in a turkey. So, the weekend before is dedicated to basically rebuilding my house. Windows are washed, floors & woodwork is scrubbed, closets & cupboards are cleaned out. (You never know when a niece or nephew is going to play hide and seek in the very space that you throw everything to hide your mess and get buried under an avalanche.) As you can imagine, by Sunday, even the family dog is hiding from me. That being said, by Sunday evening, I’m in no mood to cook and make more of a mess, so we order out.

Monday through Wednesday: These were normal work days, filled with me running errands in spare moments and buying an insane amount of groceries, fighting crowds, and standing in really long lines. Evenings were spent preparing my menu and doing some prep work like making my cranberries, drying my bread for the dressing, etc. This all translated into more exhaustion and more take-out dinners.

Thursday, the Big Day: I started at 6 a.m., making pies, candy cornucopias, and other side dishes and doing some last minute prepping of the house for an onslaught of family and making the turkey. Well, I got so sidetracked making everything look perfect, I was late putting my turkey in, forgot to put my dressing and other side dishes that I’d prepared at 6 a.m. into the oven until 10 minutes after my first guest appeared, and had to crank the oven up to get everything done a mere hour behind schedule. Depending on how you look at it, it was fortunate that I was too tired to even really enjoy my meal so at least I didn’t over indulge too much.

Friday: It’s Black Friday! Up early, or still up in some cases, to get those deals. No time to plan my meals, and too tired to care by the time I got home. On the plus side, I got a lot of walking in at the store and made myself hit the gym before heading home. My reward: 15 minutes in the hot tub to soothe my aching muscles. Too tired to cook though, so if it hadn’t been for all of those leftovers, it would’ve been another night of eating out. Instead, it was Hungry Girl’s Gobble Gobble Cranberry Grilled Cheese sandwiches.

Saturday & Sunday: I enjoyed time spent catching up with friends and family from out of town. Much opportunity to eat, drink and be merry! It was fun but can be hazardous to your waistline if you don’t plan ahead.

What have I learned from all of this? Next holiday, I will delegate more, stress less about the state of my house, and have healthy meals like chili, soup and vegetarian lasagna already prepped in the freezer so all I have to do is defrost and pop it in the oven or microwave. I will have meal plans stored with my holiday decorations so I don’t have to think about what we’ll have for dinner. I’ll use the time waiting in line to plan my menu and gift lists. As a matter of fact, I’m putting it on my calendar now for this Christmas and next Thanksgiving! Now it’s time to hit the grocery store and stock up on healthy staples, get back to the gym, live and learn, and use these lessons learned to help Christmas through New Years be less stressful and more successful.