It’s the weekend and your social schedule is packed. You’ve got a night out with friends on Friday, followed by a wedding Saturday afternoon, and then a birthday party to cap it all off on Sunday.
Eating healthy? Not so much.
Whether it’s an entire weekend of not-so-healthy eating choices, just one day, or even one really big meal (hello all-you-can-eat sushi!), there’s a good chance you’ll be looking to rebound afterwards.
Here are 4 steps to get back on track after over-indulgent eating so that you can help your body and mind recover. You'll be able to get back to eating and feeling the way you’d like.
1. Top Up With More Water
The thought of adding anything to your stomach might not be very appealing after a junk food binge, but drinking some water is the first step towards recovery.
Drinking water is crucial after over-eating for two reasons: First, it helps break down solid food. This enables your body to absorb more nutrients as food passes through your digestive tract.
Second, water helps prevent stomach bloating and constipation, which are likely the last things you want to experience after eating a big meal! Drinking even a little extra water will soften the solid food in your stomach and help speed up the digestive process.
2. Get Up, Get Moving
Although you might feel like parking yourself on the couch and binge-watching Netflix, one of the best things you can do after indulgent eating is to get up and get moving.
A little exercise will prevent a lethargic food hangover from setting in, plus it will give your metabolism a much-needed boost. Physical activity will help move excess blood sugar to your muscles where it will be used as energy instead of storing it as fat.
You don’t have to go out and run a marathon either. Try a simple workout routine in your living room, follow along with a workout video, or just go for a walk.
3. Prepare Your Next Healthy Meal
Who wants to look at food after an eating frenzy?
You don’t have to actually eat a healthy meal when you’re already feeling stuffed, but planning and even preparing something that’s light and healthy is very important.
Some people will skip a meal or two in an attempt to fast away their food remorse, but going without food for too long can set you up for more bad food choices.
Instead, chopping up some veggies, making a salad, or even just picking out a healthy recipe that you’ll prepare for your next meal is a good way to avoid hunger and food cravings in the near future.
While you might feel stuffed right now, that feeling won’t last too long. Have a healthy meal option ready to go.
4. Ask Yourself, “Why?”
There are lots of reasons why people overeat. What was your reason?
Was it social pressure? Were you using food to deal with stress? Or maybe you were out of groceries and settled for a tub of ice cream!
It’s important to understand why your eating fell off track so that you can avoid doing it in the future.
Falling for food temptations can easily be avoided by setting up an accountability system with a friend, cleaning out all junk food from your kitchen, or batch-preparing healthy foods so that you always have something good on hand.
Keep in mind that an occasional indulgence is no big deal – It’s not worth dwelling on it or beating yourself up. Just be proactive in getting your body back on track so that you can feel well as quickly as possible.
Dave Smith is a professional fitness and weight-loss coach who was chosen as “Canada’s Top Fitness Professional” in 2013. You can find free workouts and more of his weight-loss resources at makeyourbodywork.com.