10 tips to get back on track after overeating
Went overboard with the chocolate last night? All is not lost on the diet front – really! Maybe you looked up and realised you’d eaten all of the chicken wings instead of saving half like you meant to. Or maybe, despite your best intentions, you overdid it with the Christmas leftovers or the Boxing Day buffet spread.
Don’t panic. Overeating days happen to the best of us. And the thing is, the ‘damage’ you do in one day is not going to turn you suddenly obese overnight. “Overeating for one day may affect your ability to lose weight, but it shouldn’t make you gain weight,” says Keri Gans, R.D., author of The Small Change Diet. So really, the most important thing is to get yourself back on track – which means not skipping meals or falling victim to the “well, I already blew my diet, so I may as well continue to blow it” mentality.
These top diet tips should help you resume your healthy habits ASAP – because weight maintenance (and loss!) is way more about the decisions you make over time than it is about one random binge-fest.
Don’t give up
Too many dieters throw in the towel after a splurge, says Professor Kathleen Laquale, a nutritionist and athletic trainer. “You may feel defeated and say, ‘Oh I blew my diet’, and decide to continue overeating for the whole Christmas season. “When you do overindulge, don’t be self-deprecating,” recommends Laquale. If you overeat for one day, get back on track again. Be more conscious of your portion sizes the next day.
Even if you wake up feeling full and sluggish from all that junk food you ate the night before, force yourself to start the day with breakfast. Not only does it reset your body by getting your metabolism going, but it also helps you set the tone mentally for a regular eating day.
Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate
Water is so important on the day after you overeat. Why? It helps you feel full, so you won’t be as tempted to carry your overeating day into the next day too.
Fill up on fruit and veggies for lunch
Fruits and vegetables are great to eat post-binge because they are healthy yet lightweight. Plus, the water in the veggies will help you hydrate and take away that groggy food-hangover feeling. They will fill you up, but help get rid of that bloated feeling. Foods like quinoa, papaya, and yogurt will de-bloat you. Bonus points if your fruits and veggies are high in fiber.
Don’t skip meals
Skipping meals after a binge will just lead to more binging and unhealthy habits. Skipping meals leads to cutting out calories and eventually a messed up metabolism. It’s better to put your energy towards creating a normal healthy routine rather than fighting off starvation after you skip a meal.
Eat an afternoon snack
It’s important to keep your metabolism going so you don’t suddenly crash and begin another overeating session. A handful of almonds and a piece of fruit should do the trick.
Cook dinner at home
If you had plans to go out with the girls, invite them to your place instead for some healthy reboot-your-body home cooking. Go for clean foods, like a piece of broiled fish with roasted veggies and a whole grain like quinoa or barley. They’ll give you the nutrients you need without all the processed junk, which would only continue your bloat.
Try to squeeze in a workout
When you feel like you’re carrying a small child, building up the mental energy to hit the gym can seem majorly daunting. But really try to do it because you’ll feel so much better. Even a light yoga class or lifting some easy weights will do.
Skip the scales
After a feast, your weight is bound to be inflated. That’s not because of an increase in body fat, but because of water retention brought on by the excess salt you likely ate. Weighing yourself will only make you feel defeated. Wait until you’re back to healthy eating before you think about weighing yourself.
Most people overeat at Christmas. If you were on a diet that you just went off, forgiving yourself will actually help you avoid turning a bad day into a bad week. If you beat yourself up, you may end up starting a downward spiral of punishment and overcompensating for feeling bad about beating yourself up. It’s not a sin to overindulge once in a while. Just turn on the dance music and return to healthier habits as soon as you can. Forgiveness helps you to get back on track, at least until the next big celebration meal.