Overeating happens. Even if you’ve been working very hard to stick to a healthy lifestyle, there are times – such as holiday celebrations, birthdays, weddings, or a night out with your friends – when you might overdo it. Even if it wasn’t your intention to overeat, it can happen. Does that mean you’re doomed to suffer from lost progress in your diet? Are you doomed to return to those sugar cravings you finally managed to beat? Not if you take the right action the next day.
You can recover from the damage you’ve done after one night of overeating. It’s not, after all, as though you have returned to a lifestyle of binge eating every day. When you’ve been sticking to a healthy lifestyle overall but overate on one day, then you can use the next day to put yourself back where you should be.
Use the following strategy to recover the next day after having overeating:
• Start drinking water right away
Hydration is going to be central to your body’s ability to recover from the sugary, salty, fatty, and simply way-too much food you’ve eaten. After you’ve overindulged, water is your best friend. First thing the next morning, drink a glass of warm water with a bit of fresh lemon in it. This will hydrate you, it will stimulate bowel function to speed the process of clearing yesterday’s waste from your body, it will reduce the risk of bloating and it will give you more energy so you don’t end up with an overindulgence hangover.
• Eat a good breakfast
You may feel that you should go light on your meals the day after overeating, but it’s better to focus on getting a well balanced, nutritious amount of food than to try to skimp on what your body needs in order to be healthy. Today, your breakfast is actually your most important meal. It will help to put both your body and mind on the right track. Consider a smoothie made from a banana, peanut butter and berries as well as a hard-boiled or poached egg on some whole grain toast. Go ahead and have your coffee or tea if you usually do, but try to skip the cream and sugar as much as you can. If you must indulge in cream and sugar, use the tiniest amount possible.
• Eat a nourishing lunch
Focus on keeping your blood sugar levels where they should be so you won’t crash and end up craving sugar during the afternoon. Today’s lunch should be a nice big salad with leafy greens – preferably some of which are dark like spinach and kale – topped off with a protein such as grilled chicken, turkey or salmon. Add all the veggies to it that you want, but try to skip out on creamy dressings, croutons and cheeses.
• Have a fruit snack in the afternoon
Instead of getting hungry well before dinner, have some fruit to get some more fiber and to add a bit of a sugar boost before you can start craving something bad for you.
• Work out
Get a good exercise in. Preferably a cardio workout such as a brisk walk for at least a half hour, a run, jog, swim or cycle. Keep going until you break a sweat and your respiration picks up enough that you can’t breathe at a normal rate.
• Have a hydrating dinner
Be gentle on your stomach to make it easier to sleep that night. Look for food containing water and fiber like a chunky vegetable soup. Have some chicken along with it to keep your protein levels where it should be and satisfy your hunger.