Let’s face it, we’ve all been there. You just downed that whole bag of cookies or in my case an entire bag of potato chips. Whether it’s a salt binge, too many sweets or a combination of the two. You’ve just blown your healthy eating plan. You may feel like spending the rest of the day in a pair of sweat pants or better yet, the easier thing to do is to complain about how terrible you feel. But, neither one of those ideas is going to do much to help you feel better.
So, what’s the best plan to bounce back after a binge?
- Forgive Yourself: It not a crime to indulge. You’re only human after all. If you are mad at yourself for overdoing it, just stop. Dwelling on your binge will only make you more upset, which could lead to emotional bouts of overeating down the road. Moving past the guilt is the first step toward getting back on track. It’s important to realize too, that if it was just one overindulgent meal, it won’t do too much damage. Generally, this would only set someone back a day or two. So keep your head up; you’ve still got this.
Just get back to the routine that works for you. It is very important not to beat yourself up and simply ask yourself how you can make a better choice today, and make it.
- Hydrate: When you’re super full the last thing you want to do is guzzle down water. But it’s for your own good. Staying hydrated can aid in binge recovery by aiding digestion and fighting gas-induced bloat. Also, staying hydrated supports a healthy metabolism and satiety, making recovery more manageable for the body. Drink a large glass before bed and a few large glasses the next morning. It’s also advisable to keep a water bottle by your side over the next two days. Doing so will help flush out any excess salt that’s making you bloated and paunchy
- Don’t Starve Yourself: The worst thing to do is to starve yourself. That will just encourage the roller coaster ride and the yo-yo mentality. If you’re hungry between meals, eat something! Don’t deprive yourself of food just because you overdid it yesterday. Skipping usual meals or snacks the day after a binge will only increases the desire to overeat again.
- Fill Up On Fiber In The Morning: One of the worst thing you can do after overindulging is skip out on breakfast the next day and mess with your metabolism. Instead, enjoy a filling breakfast. A breakfast that’s full of fiber will support healthy digestion and keep your stomach satisfied throughout the morning. Start the day by fixing a balanced breakfast with a mix of protein, carbs and fat. This will help tame your crazy hunger and aid in the continued digestion of last night’s heavy binge. Here’s a good breakfast to try: Two whole eggs (or just the whites) topped with 1/4th of an avocado and a cup of fruit.
- Keep Your Meals Clean: There is absolutely no need to put yourself through a full-blown cleanse post-binge, but eating “clean” whole foods the day after overeating will make you feel refreshed and put you back in the right frame of mind to reach your goals. Steer clear of processed foods and too much sugar or salt. Your body will thank you later. Whip up meals comprised of a good balance of protein, fiber-filled carbs and fat. Here are some examples that fit the bill:
- A grilled salmon fillet with one cup quinoa and three cups leafy greens dressed in an olive oil and lemon dressing.
- A baked chicken breast with half a sweet potato topped with one tablespoon of butter and two cups steamed broccoli.
- Four cups of leafy greens and other veggies topped with grilled steak, 1/4th of an avocado, 1/4th cup dried cranberries and balsamic vinegar.
- Get In Some Cardio: Even if you’re feeling bloated and sluggish, hitting up a quality cardio session to sweat things out is some of your best defense against the dreaded food hangover. Whether you head to your favorite cardio class or spend 30 minutes on the treadmill, you’ll feel 10 times better after a little exercise. Breaking a sweat the day after a binge can help deliver oxygen to the digestive tract which keeps food moving through smoothly and can help people feel less blah.
Remember, feeling guilty or ashamed does not burn calories nor make it all disappear and will negatively impact your relationship to food. If you find yourself lingering mentally in the drama or beating yourself up over and over again find a way to shift your attention. Put on some music, read a book, take a shower, but don’t keep the negative recording playing over and over! It is the worst thing you can do. Forgive, forget and learn.