A healthy living blog from Marshfield Clinic

Overindulge? 5 ways to get back on track

We have all done it. You’re at a holiday party, celebration or family gathering, and a delicious carb-filled meal is there, so we overindulge, gobbling up every last bite. The next day, you wake up feeling bloated, guilty and miserable because you planned to maintain a healthy bod.

Don’t be so hard on yourself. Marshfield Clinic registered dietitian and nutritionist Ashley Short has some helpful tips for seasonal family get-togethers, events and celebrations.

1. Forgive yourself

Man eating a hot dog at a cookout with a group of friends - What to do after binge eating

Don’t feel bad about overeating. There are steps to take to get back on track.

Don’t feel guilty for binge eating. There is going to come a time when we all eat a little more than we should. Short says it is important to forgive yourself and get back on track versus developing a negative attitude and continuing to repeat these behaviors.  Repeated negative behaviors may ultimately have an impact on your weight and overall health.

2. Eat normal

When you plan to eat a big meal, don’t eat less at the beginning of the day. You may be thinking, “I will save all my calories for the cookout.” Short recommends eating your regular meals and snacks every three-to-four hours, and drink plenty of water. Staying hydrated and satisfied can reduce your cravings.

“You’ll find that you won’t overindulge like you would if you restricted yourself all day long,” she said.

3. Choose wisely

When you are at the special event instead of digging in right away, scope out the meal and decide what you really want.

Practice “give and take.” If you want some dessert, then skip the bun or pasta salad. Short says treat yourself, but don’t go overboard. Make sure your plate has one carb option and some vegetables and protein.  It’s important to find a balance.

Short also suggests exercising prior to eating a special meal.

“After exercise, your body is able to burn the calories you consume more effectively,” she said.

4. Enjoy socializing

In our culture, special events are centered on food. Try to focus on the social aspect of the event instead of all the things you can eat or drink. Be excited about the people you can talk with. Enjoy the special event or activity itself without worrying about the food.

5. Start fresh tomorrow

After binge eating one day, plan to start fresh the next day. Short recommends drinking more water the following day to decrease extra salt in the body. Excess salt intake may cause a bloated feeling due to fluid retention. You also can be more active the next day. Go for a walk. Ride your bike. Don’t fall into a guilt trip.

“Just get back on track,” Short said. “Eat healthy again that next day. Forgive yourself and move forward.”

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