It happens to the best of us. One little bite of a tasty treat turns into devouring every last morsel. Once you’ve polished off a container of [insert calorie bomb of choice here], the feelings of guilt and self-defeat set in, and you wind up convinced you’re destined for a life of drawstring pants. But one over-indulgence doesn’t mean all hope for your skinny jeans is lost. There are things you can do in the hours and days following that make a huge difference.
Keep reading to find out what to do the next time you fall off the healthy-eating wagon!
First of all, stressing isn’t going to help the situation. Try not to dwell on it or, worse yet, throw in the towel on healthy eating for the entire week. Instead, tell yourself you can start fresh tomorrow. And remember: You have to consume a lot of extra calories—we’re talking thousands—to gain a pound of fat. So even though you may feel like you’ve blown your diet, chances are one little bender won’t make a major difference to your body.
The simplest way to detox is to drink water. It flushes out the toxins and excess salt that can leave you feeling puffy. And when you’re properly hydrated, your metabolism preforms at its best. After a big meal, drink plenty of room temperature water (ice water can slow down your digestive system), and aim to drink about 100 ounces the next day too.
Getting out of your seat may sound like the last thing you’d want to do when you’re stuffed, but you will feel better if you get moving. Going for a post-meal stroll speeds up the rate at which food moves through your digestive system.
Once you realize you’ve overdone it, avoid the temptation to keep going. Brush your teeth and turn in early. There is extensive research linking inadequate sleep and weight gain, so on days when you’ve overindulged be extra careful to get at least seven hours of slumber. You’ll wake up refreshed and ready to start your day with a clean slate.
Over the coming week, incorporate foods that will banish bloat into your diet. Eating potassium-rich snacks, like bananas and citrus fruits, will prevent water retention, while papaya and pineapple contain an enzyme that helps with digestion. Yogurt is another great choice, thanks to its probiotics.
One of the main reasons people overeat is that they’re not taking time to think about and appreciate the food they’re eating. Next time you sit down for meal, take a moment to think about your food, smell it, and enjoy it. Each bite should be deliberate, not something you shove in your mouth in between emails. Keeping a food journal also increases your awareness of what and how much you’re eating. Even if you can’t keep up with these practices forever, doing so in the days after you’ve overeaten will help get you back on track.
Exercising within a day or two of overeating will also help get your healthy lifestyle back where it needs to be. You probably won’t feel up to busting out the best workout of your life the next day, but any workout counts.
Watching your portions for the next few days is pretty much a no-brainer. But don’t go crazy restricting yourself, or you’ll just end up overeating again. And definitely don’t try to make up for the excess calories by skipping meals. Instead, think small, balanced meals with plenty of protein and fiber.
What do you do once you’ve hit the point of being uncomfortably full? Share your best tricks in the comments below!