How To Get Back on Track With Your Diet
Did one night (or even a few days) of binging ruin weeks, or months, of effort? Absolutely not! Don’t let one binge get you off track. Just follow these simple tips and you’ll find yourself ready to deal with the aftermath and get back on track. Don’t let this defeat your overall goals!
You’ve been eating clean and following your workout regimen like no other, but then something called life happens and, despite your good intentions, you’ve indulged more than you should.
Although experts say that after overeating it may take up to three days to feel like your old self again, there are some exercise, diet, and motivational tips that can help you get back on track right away. The odds are in your favor that the temporary weight gain and bloat brought on by your binge will not become permanent additions to your body.
Come on, it’s not the end of the world to indulge. You’re only human, after all. So if you’re feeling fat, bloated, and mad at yourself for overdoing it, just stop. Dwelling on your binge will only make you more upset. You need to move past your guilt. It’s 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 much damage. Generally, this would only set someone back a day or two. So don’t give up! You got this!
Look, we all make mistakes and we all get off track. No one is perfect with their diets all the time. Treat yourself kindly and cut out the negative self-talk that is sabotaging your efforts to move forward. It happened and you’re moving on. No big deal!
Do Not Look at the Scale
The scale is not your friend the day following a big binge. It may display a number higher than what you’re used to as a result of the extra food sitting in your stomach and the water retention brought on by eating those salty pretzels. Many of my patients find it defeating and discouraging to step on the scale after they’ve binged because it makes them feel like they lost all their progress, which isn’t typically the case. Wait two days before weighing yourself to see what the lasting damage is.
Feeling bloated? It probably has a lot to do with the increased sodium your body took in during the binge. Upping your water intake afterwards helps your body rehydrate, as well as naturally flush that excess sodium out of your system. Proper hydration is also key to keeping your cravings under control.
Yeah, we get it. 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.
After an episode of overeating, it’s especially important to make sure you’re staying hydrated throughout the day.
Upping your water intake may also help temporarily increase metabolism to burn off extra calories.
How much water you should drink per day can depend on a number of factors. However, the easiest way to meet your hydration needs is to listen to your body and drink when you feel thirsty.
Drinking more water can help you lose weight, reduce your calorie intake and temporarily increase your resting energy expenditure.
Working out 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. Possibly try 30 minutes of light cardio, such as walking, jogging or even a low impact HIIT.
Going for a walk right after you’ve overeaten can help you clear your mind and will make your body feel better, too.
Walking has been shown to help accelerate stomach emptying, which may relieve uncomfortable feelings of fullness or bloating caused by overeating. It can also help burn some of the extra calories that you might have consumed during a binge. Walking can also improve your mood and reduce some of the negative feelings that may trigger emotional eating.
In fact, physical activity can stimulate the release of important neurotransmitters like serotonin and norepinephrine, which can help protect against conditions like depression and anxiety.
Walking is one easy way to feel better after a binge. It can help increase stomach emptying after eating, reduce body fat and improve your mood to help get you back on track.
Get Some Sleep
Getting seven to nine hours of sleep is one of the best things you can do to get back on track after a binge. Why? It may make it easier to turn down fat and carb-laden trigger foods the next day.
Getting enough sleep after an episode of overeating is a good way to fight off cravings and get the next day off on the right foot.
Studies have found that a lack of sleep may be associated with an increased appetite. In particular, sleep deprivation may affect levels of ghrelin and leptin, two important hormones involved in hunger and appetite regulation.
Ghrelin is a hormone that stimulates hunger in the brain, while leptin is a hormone released from fat cells that signals fullness and suppresses hunger.
Although sleep requirements can vary widely between individuals, health experts generally recommend getting at least seven to nine hours of sleep per night.
After an unplanned binge, try going to bed a little earlier than usual to ensure you’re able to fit in a full night of sleep and get a fresh start the next day.
Sleep deprivation has been associated with increased food intake. It may also alter levels of hormones that influence hunger. Aim to get seven to nine hours of sleep per night.
Fill Up on Fiber and Protein at Breakfast
While it may be tempting to skimp on breakfast or lunch the day after overeating, starting your day with a healthy meal can actually help you get back on track.
After eating a big dinner, insulin levels spike. This is often followed by a blood sugar drop, which increases feelings of hunger the next morning. Instead of heading to the cupboard and stuffing your face with sugar or carbs, experts suggest fixing a balanced breakfast with a mix of protein and fat. This will help tame your crazy hunger and aid in the continued digestion of last night’s heavy meal. Two whole eggs topped with a fourth of an avocado and a cup of fruit.
Not only does it allow you to start fresh after getting a good night’s sleep, but it can also help you get right back into your routine and make healthier choices throughout the day.
Ideally, try to pick a meal that’s high in both protein and fiber to get your day off to a healthy start. You can easily pair fiber-rich fruits, veggies, legumes or whole grains with a good source of protein for a well-rounded and nutritious meal.
Try to avoid foods that are hard to digest. Some examples are gluten, dairy products, coffee, refined sugar, carbonated beverages, and acidic foods like fruit juice, pasta, alcohol, fatty meats, and chocolate. On the other hand, fruits, vegetables, green teas, almonds, lentils, and avocados are all more alkaline and won’t upset those prone to acid reflux.
Eating a healthy meal can help you start your day off right, making it less likely you’ll binge later in the day. Consuming high-protein, high-fiber foods may be especially effective at keeping your appetite under control.
Eat Clean for Lunch and Dinner
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. Experts suggest whipping up meals comprised of a good balance of protein, fiber-filled carbs, and fat. Some excellent examples:
- Grilled salmon fillet with one cup quinoa and three cups leafy green salad with an olive oil and lemon dressing.
- Baked chicken breast with half a sweet potato topped with one tablespoon of butter and two cups steamed broccoli.
- A leafy greens salad with balsamic vinegar and other veggies topped with grilled steak and 1/4th of an avocado
It’s really not necessary to starve yourself or deprive yourself of healthy meals after a binge.
If you’re hungry between meals, eat something. Don’t deprive yourself of food just because you overdid it the day before. Skipping usual meals or snacks the day after a binge will only increase the desire to overeat again. Snacks rich in protein to promote satiety, like plain Greek yogurt with berries, turkey slices with avocado, or two eggs with a piece of fruit.
You need to allow some flexibility in your diet. Eliminate the urge to binge by allowing more flexibility and freedom into food choices and meal plans throughout the week. As long as portion sizes and calories are controlled, there should be no foods that are off limits.
Reframe Your Mindset
Reframing your mindset helps change your overall perspective of the entire situation. Reframing is great because it shifts the person’s mindset in such a way that it allows you to forgive yourself and makes you feel more in control of the situation. Your thoughts control your actions! If you can reframe the negative connotations that surround binge eating, then you are more likely to bounce back quickly after a binge.
When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.
Remember that every meal is a new meal. Try to avoid the ‘I’ll start tomorrow’ mentality. Start now! Have a large glass of water, go for a walk, and choose your favorite healthy breakfast, lunch, or dinner meal. Just because you’re getting back on track doesn’t mean you can’t ever have a treat again. You’re just resetting into the healthy routine you want to be your lifestyle.
Use these tips after losing your way and, as time goes on, those moments will happen less and less. Just remember that we all make mistakes but also remember that you are working hard to be the best YOU you can be. This means being healthy, happy, and learning how to treat yourself right, emotionally AND physically!